Traveling is one of the single most enriching things that you can do in your life. It makes you realize that you occupy such a small part of this world. It’s character-building to put yourself out there and experience firsthand how someone else lives or what they believe in. Most importantly, you learn a lot about yourself in the process.
Solo travel requires some confidence and intuition. It can be liberating to go to a foreign place and have the ability to get around by yourself. And when you’re alone, you feel more present with your thoughts and surroundings. If solo travel isn’t your thing, then grab a friend and embark on an exciting journey.
It is not solely about our surroundings or the location; it is about who we share those experiences with. Having a good group of people to experience the wonders of the world with is something you will take with you for the rest of your life.
So, you might’ve just booked a trip with a group of friends. Of course, there’s always that rush of excitement to go on a vacation together. Nothing but laughs and good times, right? Well, let’s face it, sometimes the people we love the most can drive us crazy and also you won’t agree on everything. Those are the inevitable factors. So, here are some tips to make your next friendcation as smooth as possible.
Choose a Travel Buddy
Before you even start planning your trip, think carefully about who you want to invite. Keep in mind how other people’s attitudes and emotions can affect you. Your travel group can make or break your vacation. If you have never traveled with a particular friend, then this could be a new learning experience. Make sure you choose your travel buddy carefully.
Once you have decided who to invite on your trip, and before you have booked something, make sure you have a conversation about all of the following topics with the agreement that if it seems like you are not a good fit right now, you can pull out and travel again later.
You might have a friend that is an extravagant traveler. That friend is willing to pay for the finer things in life like a luxury hotel or a Michelin star vegan meal. On the flip side, some of your friends might be a budget traveler who likes to fly with 3+ layovers and cheap hotels to get the most bang for their buck. In the middle of all that, you have the Switzerland travelers who go with the flow and never want to take a position on where to go for dinner or what time to leave the hotel. Some people like to have a jam-packed itinerary. Others prefer to take it slow, wake up late, and move at their own pace. Make sure you have a conversation about the way each of you likes to travel and be honest.
Money tends to be a sensitive topic, and many people don’t like to talk about it. Big mistake, especially if your budget is limited. Money is a huge factor in a trip and can determine what kind of experience you will have. Agreeing on budgeting is the first thing that you should be doing to narrow down the destination options. The best thing to do is sit down together and be 100% transparent about trip expectations and what everyone can afford. A good way to do this is to consider the total you want to spend each day before you even start looking for hotels. If your budget is $200 a day (after plane ticket), including food, accommodation and some activities, then that 5-star hotel with sea views is not going to be in your budget.
Relationships require some sort of compromise. One thing to seriously keep in mind when traveling with friends is non-negotiables. Of course, everyone has different travel styles, but these are some that you shouldn’t compromise:
- Food (especially if you are traveling with non-vegans)
- Planning vs being spontaneous
Communicate these non-negotiables ahead of time, so everyone knows what is really important to you.
Once you have talked about these things, it is time to decide where to go and what to do! Here are some things to consider.
You are friends because you have a lot of things in common, but chances are you have other interests and passions. For example, one friend might want to do a cooking class, and the other can’t think of anything worse. At this critical time of planning the trip, you need to make your needs heard so that they can be accommodated. There is nothing more frustrating for someone who has done most of the planning and asked people what they want to do beforehand to have people change their minds or not be interested.
Finding a place to rest your head at night is probably the second priciest part of traveling aside from the plane ticket. The first step is to decide if you want to share a room or have separate rooms. Sharing a room is cheaper with an Airbnb or hostel. But some friends might need some quiet time or space of their own at the end of an adventure-filled day. Our advice:
- If you are sharing a hotel room to save costs, consider having a couple of nights by yourself so you can just have your own space.
- If you are a light sleeper, then ask your friend if they know if they snore. If they do, pack earplugs or get your own room. If you like to go to sleep really late and they love to go to bed early, suggest they bring an eye mask.
During the trip
The Emotional and Mental Side of Traveling
Constant travel can take a toll on your body and mind. Doing 14 hour days with crappy weather and things going wrong left and right might stir the pot a bit. Here are things that the group can do to alleviate that stress.
Scheduling Personal Time
Recharging the social battery is healthy and necessary even if you are traveling with your friends. There are only so many hours of the day that you can talk to a person without feeling exhausted especially if you feel like you need to be on good behavior. The best advice, in this case, is to schedule personal time at the end of the day when everyone is tired. Agree on a time to turn off the lights and sit in silence to calm the mind and be ready for the next day.
Talk It Out
There will always be different opinions and viewpoints, whether you agree with it or not. Having honest and transparent conversations is crucial to keeping a friendship solid and strong. If a problem arises during the trip, don’t just sit there and marinate in your own anger. Talk about it, or your vacation is going to suck.
Traveling with Non-Vegan Friends
Food is a huge part of traveling because you want to sample what other parts of the world have to offer taste-wise. Unfortunately, while many people are hip to veganism and understand the ethical restrictions behind it, some people don’t.
It might be harder to travel with non-vegan friends because of their dietary choices. What is more important is to travel with friends who respect your choices and boundaries. Communicate your needs beforehand, such as not splitting the bill, paying for your own meal or informing them that you might go off on your own to that vegan restaurant they aren’t interested in and for them not to take it personally. You just really want to try this restaurant.
This section will take you back to days in school where the teacher assigned you to a group project, and you were left to do all of the work. When it comes to traveling, there is nothing worse than playing the travel agent (unless you have control issues). All of that responsibility shouldn’t be left up to you, which is why choosing your travel buddies needs to be done carefully. The tasks could be delegated like this:
- Bookings – In charge of booking bus tickets, taxis to the airport, etc.
- Bookkeeper – Keeps track of all shared expenses so they can be divided up later
- Itinerary planner – Includes planning ethical activities that align with core values of people in the group and accommodate people’s must-sees.
- Navigation (Have someone who can speak the language or is prepared to have a go and a good sense of direction)
- F and B manager – Making sure there are snacks for long travel days, sourcing vegan restaurants.
You can also have people responsible for certain segments of the trip and play ‘tour leader’ while the others play ‘traveler.’
We hope that this advice will work for you if you are planning on taking a trip with a friend, and your relationship will stay stronger than ever!
So, tell us about a time you went on a trip with friends and that it worked out well or perhaps worked out NOT so well!
Group travel is for you if you want all the benefits of traveling with others or traveling alone with hardly any of the disadvantages. If you’re vegan or vegan-curious, like to travel in style and be spoiled, then you should definitely consider traveling with World Vegan Travel!