Is there any better feeling than setting that out of office message and jetting off for a girls’ trip? Nothing comes to mind. Whether you’re ready to hit the open road or catch a red eye that will land you in an exotic locale, traveling with a friend can make the experience so special.
The stress of travel can put any relationship to the test, not just romantic ones. You don’t want to risk damaging a friendship because of a vacation squabble.
My best friend and I travel well together. We’ve never experienced any hiccups while traveling and I’d plan another trip with her tomorrow if we could. (If any brands want to sponsor our next trip, hit me up.) As far as I know, she feels the same way I do! On our last trip, we reflected on some of the reasons we travel well together. I thought I would share our best traveling tips so you too can travel successfully with a friend.
1. Get Your Priorities Straight
Before we head off on a trip together, my best friend and I do a little planning. Usually we already know of a few things we want to prioritize, but we also do a lot of research to discover new things. We’ll map out a list of activities by neighborhood and note which ones are must-dos, then we note which activities would be great to do if we have extra time. We’ll even pick out restaurants in those neighborhoods to make sure we have good food options. Travel hanger is way worse than everyday hanger. Pre-planning meals limits the chance of having to skip an activity because we spent too long looking for food.
2. Be Flexible
Even though we have a list of things we’d like to do while traveling together, we try to be flexible. Sometimes your flight gets delayed or the weather sucks. We make the best of those situations. During a recent trip to Seattle, it snowed unexpectedly and we weren’t able to do some of the sightseeing we wanted to. Instead of moping, we made the best of the situation. We hopped from restaurant to restaurant, taking our time to enjoy our meals — something we hadn’t done earlier during the hustle and bustle of the trip. We checked out a wine bar that served flights of local wine (and we may have indulged in cinnamon buns in our hotel beds while watching movies.) We always try to check off the top items on our list so if we do get derailed, we can pivot our plans without feeling like we missed out.
3. Consider Your Compatibility
Of course my best friend and I connect on many levels, but one area in particular is our dietary needs. She’s a longtime vegetarian and I follow a vegan diet. It’s surprising how much it helps to travel with someone who has similar food restrictions as you. (Not to mention with someone who understands when you need to be particular about your restaurant choices.) There have been times when we’ve walked into a restaurant, looked at the menu, and then walked straight out. If we were with other people, we would have made do with whatever limited choices were on the menu. Together we can prioritize our needs, which feels right while on vacation.
Through many conversations, we also learned we have similar travel philosophies and habits. We both like to get to the airport super early. At home we love going to museums together, but while traveling, we prefer to spend more time outside. We both prefer to pick one activity to splurge on. We keep most of our sightseeing affordable so we can indulge in nice meals. Have a realistic conversation about what it is going to be like to travel together before your book a trip.
4. Give Each Other Space
It’s fun spending days on end with a friend while exploring a new location, but it can also be a shock to the system. At the beginning of your trip, map out what it would look like to have “alone time.” For us, that means that whenever we’re in the hotel taking breaks, we give each other space. Oftentimes, I’ll need to get a little work done at the airport or answer emails before bed, and she’s always given me plenty of space to do that. We’ve never felt the need to split up during the day for alone time, but we would understand if one of us needed some space. Wanting time to be alone is not offensive, it’s a very reasonable human need.
5. Relax and Have Fun
You’re traveling with a friend, that’s so cool! Enjoy it while you have the chance. There are always going to be bumpy moments while traveling, but don’t let those moments stress you out too much or get you down. Try to shake off tough moments and don’t hold any grudges over misunderstandings. Everything works out in the end, so lean on each other when you need to and focus on having the best trip possible!