Why You Should NOT Travel With Your Friends

Why You Should NOT Travel With Your Friends

Travelling with friends can ruin your good mood, your long-awaited holiday and even your #BFF friendships.

It is that time of the year where everyone starts planning for their end-of-year vacation. Found your travel buddies and all pumped up to go? But wait, are you sure you want to travel with your friends? If you haven’t given this a good thought, we are here to break the party – it isn’t as lofty and perfect as you imagine it to be! Here’s why:

1. Their living habits can be your pet peeves.

Imagine incessant snoring that keeps you up all night. Or entering the bathroom to find the entire bathtub drizzled with hair. Travelling with your friends may reveal some of their most awful personal living habits that you’ve never have imagined!

I once shared a room with a close friend who had a SERIOUS snoring issue that kept the rest of us up the entire night. We all know how bad sleep deprivation is during travelling, and at some point in the night, the rest of us had even formed murderous intents. 🔪

travel with friends

Even a sleepy dog is a grumpy dog | Image credit: Andrew Roberts

Don’t even get me started on different hygiene standards. On one occasion, I was so horrified to find the entire toilet completely wet (even with a shower curtain separating the showers from the rest of the toilet). Worst of all, there was hair everywhere. On top of that, no one wanted to admit liability and I had to do the cleaning myself before finally bathing.

So, if you think that getting along is an indication of being able to tolerate each other’s living habits, wrong! The difference in living habits can really trigger a mad rush of fury that ruin the rest of your holiday, and worse, your impression of the person.

2. Difference in travelling styles can make you pull your hair out.

Ideally, you should travel with friends with common interests, budget and expectations. Yet, as with all ideals, this is hardly the case in reality. Someone in the group is definitely going to be a little more of a finicky eater, a little more concerned about where to stay, a little more uptight about money.

On one of my trips, I travelled with both a thrifty friend who was perfectly fine with squeezing in a shed-turned-Airbnb and surviving on sandwiches, and another who has a bigger budget for proper beds and restaurants. Imagine the tension each time a question related to expenditure popped up?

Even the best of friendships can get torn apart | Image credit: BagoGames

Differences in interests can also turn your holiday into a civil war. Some may prefer to wander the streets aimlessly while others just want to hop onto the nature trails. If you have travelled all the way to another country just to give up your own interests for another, there will be plenty of unhappiness and grumbling for sure.  

Of course, during the itinerary planning, everyone would have said “I don’t mind shopping”, or “sure I could do with some outdoor activities” but if A is thinking 10% shopping and 90% outdoor activities while B is thinking the opposite, that’s when trouble brews.

3. Your patience will be tested with these road-trip burdens.

One of the things I’ve learnt on my road-trip is that it takes certain kinds of personalities to build the right dynamic in the car. Get the permutation wrong, and you can expect hell.

There are also two kinds of road-trippers that hit our raw nerves most. There’s the one that constantly goes “are we there yet?” while not doing anything helpful, and without sparing a thought for the driver who is deprived of rest and the lovely scenery around him.

Image credit: Cat Planet

The last type falls right asleep a few minutes into the drive. Oh, they have no ill intentions really, they’re just simply entrusting their lives to the sleepless, cranky driver who will be grudgingly driving through the night for the next eight hours straight.

If you are an impatient driver and you are stuck in the vehicle with these two types of road-trippers, good luck to you.

4. Calculative friends that make every cent count will drive you nuts.

“You owe me $0.10 from breakfast” – say what?! 

Trust me, they weren’t kidding when they say money is the root of all evil. If your travel buddy is someone fixated on a few dollars, or cents, this is going to be a recurring problem throughout the entire holiday.

On one (horribly) memorable holiday, I travelled with some family friends who insisted on their change, a mere five-cent, from our group purchase for train tickets. Can you believe it?! I was completely baffled.

To spend the rest of your trip handling insanely calculative friends and practising your mental sums, it’s a complete bummer, really.

5. You become the personal photographer of the Instagram addicts instead of a travel buddy.

Image credit: Funny Tweets Facebook

We all have that friend who’s hopelessly obsessed with Instagram and have a compulsive need to take the perfect photo to upload for likes. That’s nothing wrong with that, except when that friend is also your travel buddy and you are forced to partake in his or her obsession as… the photographer.

Since when was it your business to take the Instagram shot? All you ever wanted to do was to enjoy that awe-inspiring view before you or immerse in that once-in-a-lifetime moment in the picturesque landscape. *cries in a corner*

Free yourself from all that “bad lighting, take again!” or “my face is too fat in this one, take again!” and just go solo!

6. You become too comfortable within your own zones.

travel with friends

You struggle to move out of your comfort zone | Image credit: Tammy Lo

Jokes aside, there are some serious considerations to ponder over before you decide whether or not to travel with your friends. While company is good, it may actually prevent you from exploring beyond your comfort zone.

Every country and culture have its own hidden gems, and precisely because they are hidden, it takes some degree of wandering into the unknown and straying away from the familiar to find them. When we are too comfortable with our BFFs, we may choose to stick to that sense of familiarity and be reluctant to try new things and make new friends.

Scrap that safety net and open up to the unknown forces! For all you know, you might even experience wonders on your solo journeys which you might otherwise never!

7. It leads to compromise.

Don’t get me wrong me, I’m not suggesting that compromise is a bad thing! In fact, it may very well be the only method of ensuring harmony when you travel with friends.

Yet, picture this: imagine having the Japan Rail Pass in your hand, and with it a myriad of possibilities – the magnificent historical architectures in Nagoya, the succulent beef in Kobe, the collection of old geisha streets in Kyoto, and so many more! In the same vein, however, your friend has his or her own dream destinations. What now?

travel with friends

Travel to your dream destinations alone | Image credit: Giuseppe Milo

Having to give up your own dreams to accommodate others may sound noble and an easy way out, but in doing so it can seriously dampen both the holiday and your friendship. Being too accommodating can also tire you out easily and destroy your entire vacation.


It’s ironic that I’m writing this, since all of my best holidays have been with the same group of friends. That is not to say that the concerns I’ve mentioned above are not genuine. In fact, I’ve questioned myself over and over again over my travel decisions because of these very reasons above.

What I can say is that a group dynamic is a capricious and delicate thing. As with all relationships, there are ups and downs – travelling the world is part of that relationship-building experience, be it good or bad.

If you can see your friendships as something larger and more significant than your vacations, then compromise and tolerance becomes completely negligible terms. You will grow so accustomed to each other on the road that you can anticipate and adjust your travel expectations to the same frequency. In fact, you can even willingly tune in to your friend’s travel style. When that happens, perhaps then, travelling with friends is the way to go.

About Author

Sim Yi Zhen
Sim Yi Zhen

Adventurer and athlete, Yi Zhen has a penchant for planning travel itineraries that are off the beaten path. She also daydreams about travelling to Liverpool for the 2019 Netball World Cup.


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