I love the freedom solo traveling offers me. Yet, once in a blue moon, a friend works up the courage to travel with me. 🙃
Without a doubt, traveling with friends can get complicated, problematic and, at times, downright frustrating.
Think about it. 🤔
No matter how long you’ve been friends with someone, you’re unique individuals with different interests trying to stick to a single itinerary. Too much togetherness can cause a lot of trouble, ruin the trip and possibly the friendship.
I admit – being a solo traveler, I tend to get annoyed very quickly when traveling with friends, particularly friends who aren’t seasoned travelers. 😤
To be honest, I get annoyed with people very quickly whether I’m traveling, sitting in my office at work or just chilling on my patio. I’m not very keen on socializing either, so I’m not a nightclubber, party animal or serial dater. 🚫
Because of my uniqueness, I feel it’s always worth it to put in the time, thought and effort to ensure my travel buddy and I enjoy not only each other’s company but the vacation as well.
Here are a few tips that help this solo traveler enjoy vacationing with my travel buddy 🤗
#1 – Talk to your travel buddy before the trip
Everyone has a unique style and different comfort levels. It is best to find out what your buddy’s comfort levels are before the trip.
For instance, is your buddy a night owl or pub crawler? Is he/she more comfortable with museums and shopping antique stores? Is he/she a late sleeper or up as soon as the rooster crows?
Knowing the answers to questions like these can help determine how to handle issues before the trip begins.
For instance, I can’t sleep if it’s too quiet; thus I sleep with the television on. If my travel buddy can’t sleep with the TV on, then separate hotel rooms instead of a large deluxe room are needed, which affects the budget.
If my buddy can handle having the TV on when sleeping, then we can save a few dollars by getting a simple room with two beds.
Discussing each other’s quirks and eccentricities before the trip will only aid in ensuring everyone has an enjoyable vacation.
#2 – Know your buddy’s routine
As a solo traveler, I have certain routines, and I know my travel buddy has routines as well.
How to deal with routines? Easy – communicate and compromise.
For instance, if you travel buddy needs forty-five minutes to get ready for the day, factor that into the daily schedule, but also let your buddy know he/she will have to adjust accordingly to ensure other activities aren’t heavily impacted. For example, if the group tour begins at 10 a.m. and meet-up time is 9:30 a.m., your buddy may have to adjust his/her schedule to accommodate.
Another example – if you have a daily fitness regime, again you and your travel buddy need to factor that into the schedule. You may have to do an early morning session or wait until later in the evening, whichever works best for the overall schedule.
Never let daily routines upset your vacation, no matter how trivial they may seem.
One of my routines is walking around the area just to get a feel of where I am. This could be just walking around the hotel/resort, or the surrounding community like a local.
For instance – when staying in an AirBnB in Edinburgh, part of my routine was getting up early simply to enjoy the quietness of the city before the hustle and bustle began.
My travel buddy didn’t know about this routine and believed I was visiting places and simply not inviting her to join. She felt left out, and that affected the rest of the vacation.
From then on, I always ensure my travel buddy understands I don’t waste the day – meaning I get going as early as possible. Whether it’s a flight, visiting an attraction or grabbing a meal, I don’t like to waste the day because I don’t have unlimited vacation days.
Now what if my travel buddies don’t not want to get up as early as I do. What to do?
Compromising is an option. You can both decide to get a later start that day and get an early start on a later day. The big thing is not to force the issue.
If your buddies don’t want to get up when you do, don’t force them too, but don’t give in either.
If your buddies are tired and don’t want to go early – either go later or go by yourself.
This leads me to my next tip.
#3 – Don’t be afraid to do things by yourself
Yes, it feels strange to do things by yourself while on vacation, but it never hurts to do your own thing.
Taking a break from each other and doing your own thing offers the benefit of having great stories to swap over a nice meal. It also gives you time to get out frustrations and get some much-needed space.
Too much togetherness puts a strain on the trip, believe me.
If you’re the type of travel buddy who is afraid to do things by yourself, don’t be surprised or shocked at your travel buddy’s annoyance.
Your buddy wants to enjoy his/her vacation, not babysit you or have you act as his/her shadow.
If your travel buddy just can’t do anything by themselves, he/she has options. They can relax in the hotel room, take a guided tour or enjoy some people-watching while savoring a cool beverage at a nearby café.
And, if your buddy doesn’t want to go to a museum or hang out at the pool with you, don’t let that stop you. Offer the invitation, and if he/she declines, don’t sweat it. Let your buddy know where you’re heading and JUST GO!
#4 – Compromise to your comfort level
One thing I always hate when traveling with buddies is doing things and visiting places I have no interest in visiting. One person’s dream day is the other buddy’s nightmare.
This is why not being afraid to do things by yourself is very important.
If your buddy wants to visit someplace that doesn’t wow you or pique your interests, you shouldn’t feel pressured to go just to keep your buddy happy. Don’t be afraid to say “no I don’t want to go, but you go ahead and enjoy yourself.”
Don’t feel bad if your buddy decides not to go because he/she doesn’t want to go by themselves. That’s his/her decision – and don’t let their moping or dirty looks change your mind.
If you feel not accompany your buddy will lead to him/her not inviting you to join in other activities, or gives your buddy the feeling you aren’t enjoying his/her company – communicate with your buddy.
Let them know some things don’t quite interest you, but it’s no reason for him/her not to head out and enjoy.
It’s their vacation too. Their enjoyment shouldn’t be dependent on you and/ you doing everything with them; and let them know your enjoyment isn’t dependent solely on them. This is yet another reason to iron things out with your buddy before the trip begins.
At the same time, don’t shoot down all suggestions, learn to compromise.
For instance, say you’re visiting the Louvre. Your buddy wants to visit one part of the museum, but you wish to visit a separate part. There isn’t time to do both, so what to do?
Split up. Decide on a time and location to meet up after your visit. This way, you both get to see what each of you want to see and enjoy your visit – no fuss! Dilemma solved.
#5 – Communicate, but don’t badger
If you’re going to travel with friends, be adult enough to open your mouth and communicate. It may be uncomfortable bringing up certain issues, but better to sort it out before it becomes a vacation-ruiner.
However, don’t constantly badge your travel buddy by asking inane questions or bringing up past issues that were considered solved. 😡
This will lead to more issues and ruin the vacation, and your friendship.
#6 – Money is the root of all evil
Money and budget should be discussed before the trip. 💵 💶 💷
How much, and on what, are you willing and/or able to spend?
Establishing and agreeing to monetary guidelines and restrictions before any money is spent can be a trip saver, especially if finances can’t support “5-Star” luxury. Agree on who pays what expenses, and discuss reimbursements.
And be careful traveling with a buddy who will “pay you back later.” Chances are payment will never come, either during the vacation or afterward. 😡
If your buddy continues to want to “pay you back later,” he/she isn’t a good travel buddy and you may want to find another buddy or become a solo traveler.
#7 – Be mindful of the “jackass-ery” tolerance level
Everyone has a different “jackass-ery” tolerance level.
You or your buddy will inevitably do something that pushes the other’s buttons. Most likely, you or your buddy has been doing it throughout the vacation and it’s been working that last nerve.
For instance — at some time during the vacation, you may begin asking yourself, “How much more am I going to take of my buddy getting drunk every night and acting an ass?” Treat this as a test question and answer it honestly – then deal with it with your buddy.
You know when your “jackass-ery” threshold has been reached and the vacation is on the verge of being ruined. Trust me – your travel buddy has a threshold as well.
This is why it pays to know each other’s “jackass-ery” threshold. Let your travel buddy know it’s okay for him/her to politely let you know you’re approaching the threshold. And don’t hesitate to do the same.
Remember, this is a vacation you and your buddy have earned, and it deserves to be enjoyed to the fullest.
Don’t let individual personalities ruin the vacation. Do your best to ensure personalities enhance the overall experience.