Traveling is one of the single most important things that you can do in your life. It makes you realize that you occupy such a small part of this world. It’s enriching to put yourself out there and experience firsthand how someone else lives or what they believe in. Most importantly, you learn a lot about yourself in the process.
Solo travel does take a lot of confidence and intuition. It can be liberating to go to a foreign place and have the ability to get around by yourself. And when you’re alone, you feel more present with your thoughts and surroundings. If solo travel isn’t your thing, then grab and friend and come along on an exciting journey.
It is not solely about our surroundings or the location, it is about who we share those experiences with. Having a good group of people to experience the wonders of the world with is something you will take with you for the rest of your life.
So, you might’ve just booked a trip with a group of friends. There’s always that rush of excitement to go on a vacation together. Nothing but laughs and good times, right? Well, let’s face it, sometimes the people we love the most can drive us crazy and also you won’t agree on everything. Those are the inevitable factors. Here are some tips to make your next friendcation as smooth as possible.
Advice for Traveling With Friends
Choosing a Travel Buddy
Before you even start planning your trip, think carefully about who you want to invite. Keep in mind how other people’s attitudes and emotions can affect you. Your travel group can make or break your vacation unless you can escape the group for hours at a time. If you have never traveled with a particular friend, then this could be a new learning experience. There are also some important things to consider when choosing a travel buddy.
You might have a friend that is an extravagant traveler. That friend is willing to pay for the finer things in life like a luxury hotel or a Michelin star meal. On the flip side, some of your friends might be a budget traveler who likes to fly with 3+ layovers and hostels to get the most bang for their buck. In the middle of all that, you have the Switzerland travelers who go with the flow. Some people like to have a jam-packed itinerary. Others prefer to take it slow, wake up late, and move at their own pace. Remember these things when planning a trip. If you are traveling with other friends, you can always split into groups with similar travel styles.
Budgeting The Trip
Money tends to be a sensitive topic, and many people don’t like to talk about it. Everyone’s financial situation is different, and that is a fact of life. Money is a huge factor in a trip and can determine what kind of experience you will have. Agreeing on budgeting is the first thing that you should be doing to narrow down the destination options. The best thing to do is sit down together and be 100% transparent about trip expectations and what everyone can afford.
This section will take you back to days in school where the teacher assigned you to a group project and you were left to do all of the work. When it comes to traveling, there is nothing worse than playing the travel agent. All of that responsibility shouldn’t be left up to you, which is why choosing your travel buddies needs to be done carefully. The tasks should be delegated like this:
- Destination research–> Looking for vegan-friendly restaurants
- Making an itinerary –> Includes planning ethical activities that align with core values of people in the group
- Getting around (Have someone who can speak the language and a good sense of direction)
Relationships require some sort of compromise. One thing to seriously keep in mind when traveling with friends is non-negotiables. Of course, everyone has differing travel styles, but these are ones that you shouldn’t compromise:
- Food (especially if you are traveling with non-vegans)
- Planning vs. being spontaneous
Finding a place to rest your head at night is probably the second priciest part of traveling aside from the plane ticket. The first step is to decide if you want to share a room or have separate rooms which also depends on your budget. Sharing a room is cheaper with an Airbnb or hostel. But some friends might need some quiet time or space of their own at the end of an adventure-filled day. My advice:
- A hostel is great if you don’t mind sharing a space for the duration of the trip
- Opt for a hotel room or Airbnb to have the option of separate sleeping areas.
The Emotional and Mental Side of Traveling
Constant travel can take a toll on your body and mind. Doing 14 hour days with crappy weather and things going wrong left and right might stir the pot a bit. Here are things that the group can do to alleviate that stress.
Scheduling Personal Time
Recharging the social battery is healthy and necessary even if you are traveling with your friends. There are only so many hours of the day that you can talk to a person without feeling exhausted. The best advice, in this case, is to schedule personal time at the end of the day when everyone is tired. Agree on a time to turn off the lights and sit in silence to calm the mind and be ready for the next day.
Talk It Out
There will always be different opinions and viewpoints, whether you agree with it or not. Having honest and transparent conversations is crucial to keeping a friendship solid and strong. If a problem arises during the trip, don’t just sit there and marinate in your own anger. Talk about it or your vacation is going to suck.
Traveling with Non-Vegan Friends
Food is a huge part of traveling because you want to sample what other parts of the world have to offer taste-wise. While a lot of people are hip to veganism and have an understanding of the ethical restrictions behind it, some people don’t.
It might be harder to travel with non-vegan friends because of the dietary restrictions. Ideally, you want to travel with someone who is a vegan but it is not necessary. What is more important is to travel with friends who respect your choices and boundaries. Not people who will get annoyed because you can’t eat at a restaurant that they really want to go to. Communicate your needs beforehand such as not splitting the bill and paying for your own meal. Or explain that you will plan ahead of time to make sure that your food needs are taken care of before the trip. This could include researching vegan-friendly places or packing snacks if there aren’t vegan options around.