Tips For Surviving Travel With Friends

Traveling can sometimes bring out the worst in people. After long nights in the airport or a couple of wrong turns in an unfamiliar city, tensions can run high. So, how can you make sure that your adventures (with new friends or old BFFs) doesn’t end in flames? From my experience, all it takes is a lot of planning, some patience and a bit of alone time (even if you’re sitting right next to each other).

This is me and my best friend, Alissa, at Disneyworld in Paris.

travel with friends Rakbo Disneyland

It was literally the best day of my life, and I wouldn’t have wanted to experience it with anyone else. Alissa and I have lived together for the past three years in tiny dorm rooms and are used to spending a LOT of time together. While we may be all smiles in this pic, there were times throughout this trip, and our other big adventure to Italy, where the smiles weren’t quite so big. So how did we survive not just the trip, but all the planning and prepping as well? Here’s how:

Communication! While we were both studying abroad in different cities (Edinburgh and London) and planning our trips, we would FaceTime reguarly to make sure we were booking the same flights and planning the same itinerary. Since we are pretty much the same person at this point, it wasn’t hard for us to agree on what we wanted to see and do on our trips.

However, there were several other people who traveled with us to Paris, which made it harder for us to all get on the same page on some aspects. Smaller groups are better for big trips. Especially when your trip is to a big city that no one has ever been to before, as each person might want to see different things. As a result, you might have to stand in line for three hours in the cold for something you aren’t that interested in.

Flexibility is also important. You may have a very detailed itinerary all set up at the beginning of the day, but things can change very quickly in an instant. Everyone in your group should be willing to go with the flow. When you’re traveling, things don’t always go perfectly and it’s much easier for everyone if you can roll with the punches rather than get angry, since that anger will probably end up being taken out on each other.

One of the most important things I’ve found about traveling in close quarters with one person or several people is that personal space is a necessity. Most of the time, whether you like it or not, you’re going to be in close quarters (think airplanes, buses, trains, cramped walkways, tiny hostel rooms, etc.).

Take time to be apart from the people you are traveling with. Talk a walk through the airport by yourself, or put in a pair of headphones and have some time apart. Even if you’re still sitting next to each other, doing your own thing and not worrying about anyone else for a few minutes will help you to recharge and maybe prevent some needless arguments in the future.

So, should you travel with friends? Absolutely. Traveling opens your eyes to new experiences and amazing moments that you’ll want to share with your besties. But remember that traveling can sometimes bring out the worst most stressed versions of people, and that anything said in the heat of a flight delay announcement doesn’t really mean anything.

So, pack your bags, grab your pals and hit the road. There’s a whole lot of world to be discovered!

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Hannah is a senior at Wheaton college in Massachusetts. She just returned from spending a semester studying abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland (which she loved every minute of!). At school she is studying biology and is also a member of the field hockey team. Out side of school Hannah loves photography, baking, telling horrible jokes, and petting other people's dogs.

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