You leave for your vacation with a bag full of clean clothes, a guide book and your favorite buddy in tow. But how can you be sure your friendship will survive long days, missed flights and strange situations? Spending twenty-four hours a day with someone can put a strain on even the strongest friendships, but if you follow these rules, there’s a good chance you’ll arrive home with nothing but pleasant memories and your friendship intact.
Talk it Over Before you Go
The best time to figure out what type of traveler you’re dealing with is before you leave. Meet for coffee or a beer to discuss the trip and plan what sights and cities you’ll visit. Decide who who will book flights and hotels, making sure to divvy up the work so no one feels they’re doing the lion’s share. If money is tight, be sure to mention your budget to your friend so they aren’t surprised by your frugality once you’re on the road. Most importantly, get a feel for what type of experience your travel companion is looking for. If you’re hoping to party your way through Europe while they want take in every opera from Oslo to Amsterdam, you’ll need to ready yourself for some serious compromising. The more prepared you are, the smoother the trip will go.
Spend Some Time by Yourself
You know what they say: absence makes the heart grow fonder. Make sure to spend some time solo so you can really appreciate the time you do spend hanging out with your friend. Before you leave, mention to that you like to take time to yourself to take pictures or write in your journal. Even when things with your pal are going great, be sure to take this time. Not only will it give you a chance to decompress, it will set a precedent for not spending every waking second together. That way, if things do get tense, you can excuse yourself, and your friend won’t immediately become offended.
Learn to Read Your Friend
You know what to do when your friend is pushing your buttons, but what if you’re the one doing the aggravating? Pay attention to your friend—if they aren’t talking as much as usual or are quick to snap, it might be a good time to give them a little space. Resist the urge to ask them what’s wrong every five seconds or snap back at them; everyone occasionally gets cranky when they’re on the road. If you can’t manage to get away from your friend physically (say, if you’re on a road trip or on a flight) now is a great time to pick up a paperback and shut your trap for a while.
Don’t Be Afraid to Spend a Night In
You may be tempted to make the most out of your trip by spending every evening out sampling the local nightlife. But daily hangovers and sleep deprivation can quickly turn friends into enemies. When you can barely enjoy highly anticipated daytime activities due to constant late nights, it might be time to take a night off. Suggest an evening spent in the hotel room, vegging in front of the TV. You may feel guilty for wasting a precious evening, but rest assured, the next day you’ll feel restored and back to your friendly self.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
When you’re on vacation, pretty much everything is small stuff. If you’re tired and smelly from a long day on the road, it’s easy to think that a missed flight or a lost camera is the end of the world. It’s not. And constant whinging is sure to drive your travel companion crazy. Rather than complaining whenever there’s a bump in the road, try to come up with a solution. If you earn a reputation for being good to have around in a pinch, people will soon be falling over themselves to invite you on their next holiday.
Originally published on Offbeat Guides