Travelling With Friends: A Survival Guide

Travelling With Friends: A Survival Guide

Friendships can fall apart during a vacation. Don't let that happen to you!

Going on a holiday with friends is such an exciting prospect! Adventure in a foreign country almost always equates to fun times and bonding with friends… right?

Well, not always. There are well-documented stories about friendships bursting into flames and breaking into smithereens during a holiday! It can be quite a pain when a conflict of interest breaks out over the nitty-gritty – especially when you’re the trip leader.

Beginning to feel a little dread for these “fun-filled” trips? Don’t worry; we’ve compiled a list of tips for you to make your next trip with your friends a smooth one!

1. Sit down and discuss the travel plans

Before starting your bookings, you’ll need to sit everyone down and have a nice, long discussion on what everyone aims to do. A trip to Seoul doesn’t automatically mean shopping in Myeongdong and exploring Bukchon Hanok village to some of your friends. Instead, they might expect the whole group to be partying in nightclubs in Hongdae, sleeping till the next afternoon, and repeat!

It’s best to figure out everyone’s expectations ahead of time to save you the hassle of last-minute changes and overhauls to your trip itinerary. Try to draw up a general idea on what the trip will be about, instead of beating around the bush. The last thing you need on your well-deserved break is a messy conflict between your friends!

Of course, it doesn’t mean that you should trash the idea of a group trip if everyone wants to do something different! Find the middle ground and take it from there.

Also Read: Why It Is Important to Have a Circle of (Travel) Friends

2. Get a feel of everyone’s budget

This is important: decide whether it will be a budget trip, a luxurious one or somewhere in between. Money can be a sensitive issue, and it’s important to settle this BEFORE the trip! Some travel costs will be borne equally among your friends – such as accommodation and flights. You need to agree whether you want to fly on Jetstar or Singapore Airlines. You need to agree whether you will be staying in a hostel or a 5* hotel.

Nobody likes to be that guy or girl who spoils the fun in the group due to their lack of funds. Therefore, if everyone agrees on a set budget for the trip, nobody will feel worried about unexpected costs incurred at a fancy restaurant or tackling all the expensive tourist attractions in one day. You also can create a shared group travel fund for shared expenses like taxi rides and tickets to attractions, provided that the rest are agreeable.

Just remember: the experience of travelling and having a blast with your friends is something money can’t buy!

3. Make sure everyone agrees to compromise

Make sure that everyone agrees to compromise during the trip! For example, your rich friend who loves luxury travel will have to ditch those ideas about eating at expensive Michelin-starred restaurants together, while your broke friend might have to save up more to have a comfortable sum for the trip.

Agree to compromise on all aspects – accommodation, food, transport, attractions and daily activities. Don’t forget the small details; little things like what time to wake up and leave the hotel could cause mayhem if unsettled. Be prepared to do a lot of convincing and negotiating to settle on a proposal that would best satisfy everyone. However, be sure to recognise when a gentle push becomes a shove! You don’t want to strain your friendships over petty issues.

4. Don’t be too zealous about sticking together as a group

This is a common mistake that many people make. Travelling with friends does not necessarily mean that you need to do everything together every second of the day. It’s perfectly fine to split up into smaller groups or to venture off alone. Don’t make it an obligation to stick together all the time!

In fact, travelling together all the time might just increase the resentment within the group, especially for those who are more irritable. If there is a dominant decision-maker in the group, there could be some quiet ones who are secretly dissatisfied. Time off each other is good. Think of it as breathing space to reduce potential frustrations. Think of it as your own personal time, a few hours to cater to your own needs and wants before regrouping up. If anything, it makes a good conversation topic at the end of the day!

Just remember to stay in touch while you’re out exploring. Don’t leave your friends worried sick about your whereabouts while you’re having a good time!

5. Add a little organisation in your group

Consider nominating a trip leader to make key decisions, such as handling important documents or deciding on meeting times. Not only will this reduce stressful situations, but it gives a form of structure for the group to rely upon. Of course, try to avoid selecting power-hungry people with these roles. The last thing you need on your well-deserved holiday is someone bossing you around. Nominate someone who will listen to suggestions and have the group’s interest at heart. They’re the ones you want calling the shots and making decisions.

Also, if one of your friends has a good eye for photography, consider selecting them as the group photographer for the trip.

6. Step up and contribute when the situation calls for it

As much as it’s fine for either you or your friends to be content with any idea or proposal, know when to step up. Saying “I’m okay with anything” can be frustrating, especially to the group leader who might be feeling stressed because they’re responsible for every single thing. Take charge sometimes and throw in your suggestions. You’re not being selfish by suggesting something that suits your fancy – the rest might just enjoy it too.

Also Read: Why People Who Travel Make the Best Friends

7. Communication is key

While you’re having the time of your life, remember to constantly check on your friends. Talk frequently with them and make sure that they’re on the same line as you. Especially in a group setting, where interests and ideals are prone to clash, there will be some form of uneasiness lingering in paradise!

Don’t let issues fester in the background, no matter how minor. Whether it was a dispute over a missed attraction, an unintended slight, or discontent over travel expenses, it’s best to tackle it as early as possible. You don’t want all that unhappiness to burst out on the last day of your trip, ruining all your happy memories!

If there’s been an altercation, make sure to sit down and talk it out. It may be awkward and uncomfortable, but it definitely beats the alternative!

With these few basic tips, you’re all set on planning a group trip that’ll be remembered for years! A holiday with friends can be one of the best experiences when well-planned out and executed correctly. What’s better than enjoying new experiences than with the people you enjoy hanging out with?

Do you know of any other additional tips that would be helpful while travelling with your friends? Do let us know!

About Author

Youliang Teo
Youliang Teo

When he’s not caught up with the real world, Teo Youliang dreams of simply grabbing a rucksack and setting off on an adventure of a lifetime. Whether it means venturing through unknown places, meeting new faces, or frustratingly figuring out a travel map for hours, you can be sure that there isn’t any other place he’d rather be. He’s also content with a hot cup of tea, and writing stories at the comfort of his home.


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