By Louise Slyth
They say that travel is good for the soul, so traveling with a friend should make the experience even better! However, the key to a successful trip is more than just friendship – you need to deal with different budgets, habits, travel objectives, and even what to do if one of you meets a romantic interest… here are the seven questions to ask before you even think of booking your trip together.
What is your main objective for the trip?
Relationships are all about compromise, so share your “must-dos” and agree on a system where you both get what you want. If one of you loves museums and the other loves shopping, you can agree to devote an equal time to each pursuit. Alternatively, divide and conquer for an afternoon and meet for a coffee afterwards to share your highlights. You don’t have to spend every minute together, and a little time apart each day can actually be really beneficial for your relationship.
How will we manage money?
Firstly, do you have the same expectations about how much you’re going to spend? If one of you favors the Four Seasons and the other the YMCA, you are unlikely to be financially compatible. Once you’ve established that, you need to work out a system to pay for your daily incidentals like meals and transport. You might consider creating a shared fund, taking turns to pay, or splitting all bills as they come in. Decide this before you book anything – resentments about money can build up and end up ruining your trip.
Are you a night owl or a lark?
You and your friend might both want to visit Paris, but if she wants to go clubbing till 4 AM every night and you want to be waiting outside the Louvre at 9 AM, you’re going to come unstuck pretty quickly!
What are your dietary requirements?
Can you stomach (excuse the pun) each other’s preferences? Does one of you have special dietary requirements? You might love spending time with a friend socially, but over the course of a trip you’re going to be sharing a lot of meals, so make sure you’ve considered this.
What do we do about romance?
Two single friends traveling together… what could go wrong? Actually, a lot! Discuss in advance what the ground rules are if you meet a romantic interest while traveling. Whatever you decide, have a system to let each other know you are safe. People sometimes take risks on holiday that they wouldn’t at home.
Should we share a room?
If you are considering sharing a room, how well do you really know each other? There’s a lot to consider… Do either of you smoke? Does one of you snore? Are you a neat freak who breaks into a sweat at the thought of tiptoeing through a trail of abandoned clothes on the floor? You might not have spent time in such daily close contact before, so consider whether having your own space might be money well spent.
How do we raise grievances?
This is probably the question that will save your friendship in the event you encounter any friction while away. If you establish a framework on how to navigate issues or frustrations, it will avoid a huge blow-up.
While it might seem a little awkward, having a frank conversation in advance of your trip should lead to a more harmonious experience where everyone gets the holiday they hoped for. And it might just save your friendship!