Travelling With Friends
Travelling with friends may well bring you to a new level of intimacy - with their strange senses of humour, quirky traits, and disgusting habits. Ask anyone who has ever travelled with a friend and they will tell you that it is literally the best of times and worst of times, all at the same time. To make the most of your gap year, and to keep your friendships firmly intact, set some ground rules before you go and remain flexible. A great trip won't be far behind.
Choose Travelling Companions CarefullyTravel can be a frustrating endeavour. Long flights, delays, unfamiliar foods and a lack of creature comforts can all add up to a tiring time. With this in mind, choose carefully which of your friends might make good travelling companions, and which may be better off staying home. Remember, your best friends may not always be the best travelling companions, and the best travelling companions may not always be your best friends. When you are thinking of a companion for your travels, evaluate:
- Friends who live similar lifestyles.
- Friends who hold similar values and opinions.
- Friends who you know are patient and flexible.
- Friends who can manage money and be serious when required.
- Friends who are mature and responsible, and deal well with sticky situations.
- Friends who appreciate and wish to explore foreign cultures and environments.
- Friends who you have travelled well with in the past.
Set Some Ground Rules EarlyWhen you decide to travel with friends, setting ground rules before you leave home can help head off squabbles as you go. Certain issues should be discussed before you leave and the daily budgets is one of them - what do you each expect to spend on food, activities, mementos, etc. Responsibilities such as; how will you divide the cooking, hostel reservations, phoning home, etc, all need to be discussed before hand. "Must sees" is another thing to plan first, plan out the regions and sites you each "must see", and create an itinerary that values everyone's requests.
When planning and booking your trip you both need to decide if you are open to all types of travel, and how you feel about being "bumped" from flights, travelling overnight, taking domestic flights and ferries, etc.
To avoid falling out, you have to respect each others alone time - during any trip a traveller may feel the need to be alone, if this happens with you or your friends, respect everyone's wishes. Decide between you if you are open to the idea of travelling together with others you meet on the road, if you do decide to travel with others be sure to stay safe while doing so.Consider dividing the possessions - decide if it is important for you each to bring your own iPod, mobile phone and sunscreen, or if you can share items to lighten your load. If you decide to share, remember that you will need to be patient and won't be able to use every item at all times.
Travellers must expect the unexpected. No matter how well you prepare, or how finely you plan, life may have other ideas for your gap year. If you are travelling with a friend who can go with the flow, life will be that much easier, but if you are travelling with a high maintenance person, even more of the responsibility will be on your shoulders. Keep this in mind when you select your travelling companions, and remember that above all, you want to have fun and make memories. A friend who feels the same way will likely be an asset!