Best friends? Should you travel together? Not without reading this first and taking action!
Yes she’s your best friend or he’s your best mate but it doesn’t mean you are going to be great travel buddies. The daily rhythm of life at home is not the same as on the road, and you might find that friendship doesn’t last for long once you get going. Having a few ‘agreements’ before will take the pressure off for both of you. Use these 10 tips to keep it together!
1. Agree your budget
How much money do you each have? Are you roughly on the same budget? If not, it can quickly lead to clashes in what you want to do and how you want to do it - if a quick flight to avoid a few days in a bus is ok for one but not the other, well its not always easy to deal with this. And don’t forget, if one of you is going to just call home for more money and the other isn’t – then you are not on the same budget even if you start out with the same cash.
2. Agree on your comfort levels
What are your comfort level expectations? Do you want to stay in midrange comfort or a backpackers? Do you want to camp half the time or must you have a bed? Do you agree?
3. Check your daily rhythms!
Do you follow the same patterns – are you both early birds or night owls. If one of you is an early bird and the other a night owl, how will that work on the road? It might not, but if discussed and agreed beforehand it can still work well, especially combined with the rest of the checks below. Are you going to agree to take turns to work in with the others pattern, or agree when you arrive a new place how it will work. Is the early bird able to entertain themselves in the mornings without getting annoyed, or, not get pissed when the night owl isn’t up ready to catch the 6am cheap train to the next stop? Is the night owl able to do their thing later in the day alone and not expect the early bird to be out all night? Work it out.
4. Agree basic goals and plans
Sounds obvious but no its not. What do you want to do and like doing? What goals do you have for the trip? If one of you is only really interested in the freedom to party lots and the other is into hiking big time – is it going to work? If you were too alike you probably wouldn’t be friends – its those differences that make the friendship good, but will they work when travelling together?
5. Life-saver - Agree on enforced breaks
Agree to regularly take time out and go and do your own thing for a day or two, or a week or two. This is likely to keep the friendship whole – and do it even if you think you don’t need to – just trust me on this one! I have heard it too too many times.
6. To work or not to work?
Are you planning to work as you go? If you plan to stick it out together then agree this in advance. Even if one of you doesn’t work - agree that the other will and this will be the time at which you split up for a while.
7. Compare your pace
Do you like to go slow or trailblaze at a run? You might not know but think it through and consider this as a potential reason for parting the ways if you find you dont want to go at the same pace.
8. Agree how long
If you are planning a year chances are that even with enforced breaks you will change plans (decide to work, decide to travel longer, find new interests, meet others you want to spend time with etc.). Don’t lock yourselves into a year-long pact – agree on an initial goal like travel the East Coast of Australia, or the west coast of USA, or from Mexico to Panama. Agree to decide after that if you want to stick together or do your own thing.
9. Call a spade a spade
Agree to disagree before you leave - and to openly and honestly tell each other if you think its not working. This can also save the friendship – and your sanity! Make sure you are both happy to travel alone as well as with someone before you leave. You don’t want to be stuck on a guilt trip because your friend doesn’t want to travel alone and you have realized its not working.
10. Can you talk through these things openly and honestly?
Did you do it without compromising your wants and without feeling worried or upset or even insulted by each others responses? If you can both say yes at the end of the process, then it looks like a good match – go for it!!