Travel Troubles Unraveled: How to Deal With A Tricky Travel Buddy

Traveling with your BFF can be reminiscent of your fave Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen abroad flick (Passport to Paris, anyone?) or it can be a scene from The Hills Have Eyes. The way it turns out depends on how well you and your travel partner’s personalities mesh and, more importantly, how you handle it when they don’t. 

Here are nine tips to prevent problems and how to deal if problems do arise:

Set Expectations Early 

The easiest way to get off on the wrong foot is to start off with different expectations. Avoid this by figuring out what both you and your travel partner want from the trip: talk budget, privacy, responsiblities, what’s on your bucket list, your travel style, and how to keep each other in good spirits when an inevitable travel hiccup occurs. 

Structure Your Trip Wisely

Consider the type of trip you’re going on and plan accordingly. Are you going on a road trip? Traveling overseas? Or crossing the country? Think through how you and your travel partner can organize your itinerary and pace each day to make it as low stress as possible. 

Be Upfront 

Heed Homeland Security’s advice and when you see something — as in your travel partner turns crazy backseat driver or they unpack a mess of clothes all over the hotel room  — say something. By ignoring the problem, you’re not doing you or your travel partner any favors. 

Practice Self Awareness

Make sure to also look inward and reflect on how you might be causing conflict. Even if it’s smooth sailing with your travel partner you could be doing something that’s offensive or rubbing locals the wrong way — especially if you’re in a foreign country for the first time. A little self awareness can go a long way to alleviate any potential issues. 

Learn the Art of Compromise

You can bring up a conflict in the nicest way possible but your travel partner might still not agree with you. This, friends, is where to master the art of compromise — take the time to really hear your travel partner’s perspective and do your best to find a middle ground. 

Get In Some Alone Time

Know, however, that sometimes a compromise means going your separate ways and clocking in some alone time, if only for a little bit. And that’s okay — there’s no rule that you and your travel partner have to spend every second of your trip together!

But Also Some Bonding Time

Friends that explore together, stay together. Find an activity you and your travel partner both enjoy — be it a museum visit, a nice dinner, or just taking in the scenery — and the very act of doing something new can help make you closer and just all around better friends. 

Blow Off Some Steam

If things do get stressful, acknowledge it and get rid of those pent-up feelings. Go for a run, a bike tour, or even enjoy an outdoor yoga class. Chances are you’ll feel better afterwards, and your travel partner will appreciate that you took your frustration out in a constructive way rather than them.

Make New Friends

Being one-on-one with someone for a long period of time can get grating, even for the best of friends. Sometimes, you just need to mix it up a bit. Luckily, there are often plenty of other travellers that you can make nice with; there are even apps that help connect you with other travellers to make it that much easier.

Remember What Brings You Together 

You are friends, after all, and that's why you and your travel partner decided to travel together, so try to remember the common ground you share. If that's not working, focus on positives of travel: as in, the place you're exploring on your travels and the interesting people you're meeting. Bottom line: don’t let a bad travel partner pairing ruin your trip. Instead focus on the pluses so you can see you, your travel buddy, and the trip in a positive light.


Opening Photo by Nathan Dumlao

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