Fact: traveling together can build or destroy friendships. For the sake of your trip and friendships, I urge you to become wise about choosing the right travel partners.
Acknowledge that you need to see if you’re a good fit.
I get it, it can be awkward having to admit that you have doubts about your potential travel partner(s) being decent and logical enough not to drive you up the wall. But you know what? You’re all having to take days off and put money into this trip for each of your happiness, so make this investment worth it. Just by acknowledging that there’s a chance effort is needed to ensure a good time, you’re being mature and honestly, just addressing the elephant in the room.
If you’re not able to bring this up directly, asking what they want to do or want out of this trip is always a good way to start. This is a good chance for you to chime in and add that you may or may not want to plan things down to the minute, and discuss your expectations. From this point on, if the stars line up right, you’ll be more or less be talking about your compatibility as travel partners.
Be honest about the other person (with yourself).
When it comes to questions about feelings and preferences, I’m a big believer of “deep down we know”. Be honest with yourself: from what you already know about this person, do you like them enough to be around them 24/7? Depending on the size of your travel group, this matters more in a smaller group (especially if it’s just the two of you), and vice versa.
If you’re not sure, pay attention when you’re hanging out. Does this person do anything that’s going to annoy you enough to ruin a trip? If on multiple occasion you find them too princessy or passive aggressive, they might not be an ideal travel partner for you. Remember, no one’s perfect, but be honest with yourself if you don’t think you’ll enjoy a trip with this person.
Discuss your expectations.
Do you need to plan down to the minute? Do you have to make it to every site on the list? Do you expect everyone to do everything together? (It can be nice for a group to split up for a bit during a trip.) Do you want to everyone to be out partying? Do you want to be able to sleep in? Do you care at all? Do the others care?
These are all super important expectations to get on the same page on because it’s the small things like this that can ruin the good vibes of the group. There’s no right or wrong to most of these questions, but say, if someone misunderstands your wanting to split up to do something else as you being unhappy (or passive aggressive), this can stir up drama among a group who’s not used to being around each other 24/7. So be clear and communicate. It might sound like a lot of childish effort, but it’s worth doing that than to deal with someone’s unhappy attitude while on vacation.
Pick your battle and be ready to compromise.
As much as I’m a believer of “deep down you know”, I’m an even bigger believer of the necessity to know our needs vs wants.
Ideally, all of your travel buddies have figured this out for themselves: what they “have” to do or see on the trip and what’s preferred but they can live without. With this clear, the chances of keeping everyone happy are much higher since as a group you’re able to prioritize.
Don’t project your preferences onto others.
Similar to the point above, remember, just because something is or isn’t attractive to you doesn’t mean other people feel the same. You may genuinely just want to make sure someone isn’t missing out, but if they want to sit an activity out, just let them.
Sort out your couple quarrels.
If you’re traveling as a couple within a larger group, be mature enough to know that you’ll have to sort your own shit out without ruining it for everyone else. It’s always awkward when a couple is unhappy or annoyed with each other when other people are around. Before the trip, talk about how you want to handle conflicts if they do arise. Also, don’t be too gross in front of your friends, no one loves your PDA. A group trip is not a honeymoon.
What’s your experience been like when traveling with friends? Any painful experiences you’ve learned from? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!