Avoid potential conflict by talking about expectations before you leave. Agree on the type of holiday you want: is it off the beaten path or seeing all the sights. What’s your style: hostels or hotels, budget or premium? Are you a planner or more spontaneous? Do you like to rise with the sun or party until it rises? Even the closest friends may not be compatible travel buddies.
Money is a big source of conflict. Talk to your buddy early on about how to handle money. Some people prefer cash and some like credit or travel cards; most use a combination. Ensure you each have funds to pay your way without burdening the other. Keep your expenses separate and where they overlap keep receipts or note the amount owed.
Travelling is stressful, from navigating new cities to figuring out transport, muddling through languages and even deciding where to eat. Be sure to share the responsibility. Your buddy may be a better map reader but it doesn’t mean they always want that job.
If you have a problem, talk about it. If your buddy is doing something that bothers you, tell them. Keep communication frequent, polite and respectful. The stressful nature of travel can mean situations escalate quickly, so keep a cool head. If one of you snaps, it shouldn’t be taken personally. Talk it through and/or take a little alone time.
If you want everything your own way, you should travel solo, because travelling with another person means considering their needs when making decisions. If a particular attraction, event or restaurant is really important to you, tell your travel buddy; don’t assume they will know. Also, if something is important to your friend, be prepared to go along with their wishes.
Travelling together doesn’t mean living in each other’s pockets. If there’s something you really want to do and your friend doesn’t, do it alone rather than miss out. The reverse also holds true, though keeping an open mind can mean discovering something new.
If you’re travelling for, say, more than a few weeks and share rooms, consider a few days in separate accommodation. This is important for people who are not used to sharing their living space. We all need privacy and your buddy should appreciate that too. This way, you should return home even better friends.
Visit smartraveller.gov.au for the latest travel warnings.
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