If you are a seasoned solo traveler or you have spent every vacation as part of a couple or organized group tour, the thought of traveling with a group of friends can be daunting.
These are people who you have chosen to get to know, forge close relationships with and enjoy experiences with. However, as yet, you have never lived in one another’s pockets. Traveling allows you to get to know an individual on a whole new level.
You’ll see what your pals are like first thing in the morning, you’ll find out if they snore, what their eating habits are, if they are whiny or if they become bossy or stressed.
Sometimes you may take a foray abroad with a group of friends only to return more distant than when you went away. And this is the sheer fear that you have.
You want your trip to be the making of you, strengthen your bond, and give you many happy memories to share for years to come. Take a look at how you can ensure that your jaunt overseas traveling with friends is a success.
If you are heading away this winter to luxury Méribel and the Three Valleys, glorious Val d’Isere or budget Bulgaria to get your skiing kicks, the chances are you will be staying in some sort of chalet.
These cozy abodes can house up to a dozen people and are ideal for groups of friends wanting to catch some powder in the winter months. However, just because you are living in such close proximity to one another doesn’t mean you can’t spend some time apart.
If you are up early one morning and fancy catching the sunrise over the Alps, don’t wake up all of your pals knowing that they had a late night and wouldn’t appreciate your cheery demeanor at the crack of dawn.
Feel free to take some time out for yourself and enjoy aspects of your trip that you know your friends may not appreciate in the same way. At the same time, it’s ok to pair up, head off in groups and not stay intertwined for the two weeks you are away.
The risk of cliques is always present. However, maintain a dialogue and always come together for a meal every day and discuss what you’ve been up to. Don’t put pressure on your trip and don’t over-analyze every situation. This is pointless and can actually be the cause of stress on a holiday abroad.
Choose Your Travel Companions Wisely
While it might be a cool idea to head to Iceland with your best buddies to try and see the Northern Lights, make sure you choose your travel companions wisely.
Don’t head to Iceland with a couple of pals who are sun worshippers, hate the cold and have no patience. These are three of the qualities you need for Aurora Borealis hunting. A bad mix of personality and travel itinerary and everyone on the trip can suffer. You are better off going it alone or heading off on a group tour if this is the case.
Alternatively, you could compromise. If you are keen to see the Northern Lights and take a jaunt with pals who like relaxation rather than adventure, split the trip into two segments.
Go Northern Lights hunting for a few days and then spend the rest of the time at the Blue Lagoon natural hot water springs, combining your need for awe and wonder, and their craving for ultimate pampering. This could be the ideal win-win situation.
If you are a super planner of itineraries, you may need to relax your thirst for organizing things for a bit.
If you can be a fussy eater, you may need to readjust or realize that you might not find the cuisine you are after. If you cannot bear tardiness, you will need to learn some deep breathing exercises to cope with those pals who couldn’t care less about timekeeping.
Being overseas on a trip with friends means that you will inevitably need to surrender doing things your way all of the time. This can be tough especially if you are used to your own routines, schedules, and way of planning activities.
It can be tough when you are amongst friends with differing budgets.
Some of you might be keen to partake in a luxurious five-star helicopter ride over a live volcano, whereas some of you couldn’t dream of affording such an excursion. Don’t feel guilty for going, but at the same time don’t gloat and rub it in your pals faces.
Money can cause a whole host of arguments so don’t allow your budgets to come between you. At the same time, be fair with your budgeting.
If you have had a slap-up three-course meal with wine and coffee and all sorts of extras and your friends have only had a main course with a soft drink, don’t suggest splitting the bill equally. You must pay for your own swanky meal.
By all means, offer to pay for pals who have tighter purse strings but don’t be offended if they politely decline. Everyone has their pride so allow them to pay their way and don’t make a big deal of it.
Before you even set foot on the plane, it might be a sound idea to share excursion and activity plans with friends, so they can be certain that this is a trip that they can afford to take.
If you think that you will have a really hard time doing this, then traveling with pals may not be for you. And that’s ok. Cherish your friendships at home and don’t put them at risk because of a perfect friends’ holiday fantasy.
If you can compromise, give traveling with friends a go. You never know, it may help you become more tolerant, patient and less stressed. Traveling with friends can work.
However, it takes effort, a recognition of a need to readjust and the confidence to take time out for yourself as and when you need to.