10 ways to be the best travel buddy ever

At long last, you’ve applied for your leave, booked your flight, and have restocked your supply of bikinis. It’s time for you and your friends to embark on the most epic holiday of your lives.  

10 ways to be the best travel buddy ever
10 ways to be the best travel buddy ever
11 Mar 2015

10 ways to be the best travel buddy ever

PHOTOS: Ingimage


At long last, you’ve applied for your leave, booked your flight, and have restocked your supply of bikinis. It’s time for you and your friends to embark on the most epic holiday of your lives.

 

But as anyone who has ever travelled with friends would know, being stuck together in a strange environment for five days can either seal your friendship in eternity or damage it beyond repair. While it can be tempting to blame your lame friends for ruining what should have been an awesome vacation, sometimes it’s your own annoying behaviour that ignites the tension.

 

So before hopping on the plane, pay heed to the following so that your friends will have a reason to invite you again on their next trip.

1. Help do some research beforehand
1. Help do some research beforehand
11 Mar 2015

1. Help do some research beforehand

 Be a team player. Planning an entire trip for three to five people can be stressful, especially once they start complaining about the activities that the planner selected. No matter how capable the others seem, you should help them do some research. It can be anything from booking the hotels, to finding a few good restaurants, or reserving tickets for a show. Study the public transport beforehand so that your group won’t get too lost once they arrive. Offer to plan the itinerary for each day so that you can cluster activities accordingly. Your contribution can even be as small as to research the weather so that everyone is appropriately dressed. Just do something other than telling your friends what you’d like to see and then making them book everything since “they are more organised”.

2. Be decisive
2. Be decisive
11 Mar 2015

2. Be decisive

One of the easiest ways to annoy people when travelling is to answer “I don’t care” whenever they ask for an opinion. “Should we eat dinner now, or later?”  “I don’t care, anything.” “What do you want to do tomorrow?” “It’s up to you, I can do whatever.” You might think you’re being flexible and relaxed by saying you can do anything, but your friends don’t want to be burdened with making all the decisions.

3. Be adventurous
3. Be adventurous
11 Mar 2015

3. Be adventurous

Holidays with friends are all about enjoying new experiences together. What’s the point of travelling abroad if you’re too scared to try anything? Unless the purpose of your trip was to meditate alone in the mountains, your friends will expect you to do a few things outside of your comfort zone, like go parasailing (when you’re afraid of heights) or wake up at 6 am to go snorkelling. Take some risks. Show that you’re capable of having fun even when you’re exhausted, lazy, or plain terrified.

 

4. Leave your work behind
4. Leave your work behind
11 Mar 2015

4. Leave your work behind

Surely you can live without checking your work email when you’re on leave, or can leave your reports at home instead of staying back to do them in the hotel. Complaining about your job, answering your boss’ “emergency” overseas phone calls, or worse, whipping out your work laptop in front of your friends will ruin the atmosphere. Nobody wants to be reminded of their real life back at home while they’re holidaying in an exotic locale. So either put away your Excel spreadsheets or hold off vacations until you can really afford to do so.  

5. Don’t be a cheapskate
5. Don’t be a cheapskate
11 Mar 2015

5. Don’t be a cheapskate

One of the most important things you should do while planning is figuring out a budget. But bear in mind that budgets are more of a guideline than a hard-and-fast rule. So don’t force your friends to eat sketchy $1 street food every night just to save money. And don’t be a wet blanket by eating only a side salad and free bread while everyone orders a four-course meal. Instead of sympathising with your small budget, they’ll just resent how guilty you make them feel.

6. Be a low-maintenance person
6. Be a low-maintenance person
11 Mar 2015

6. Be a low-maintenance person

This means packing light, dressing practically, and not making your friends wait an hour for you to put on makeup every morning. Oh, sure, this arrangement can work if you guys are all the type to over-pack and get up at daybreak just to primp yourselves, but being low-maintenance extends into emotional things as well. Do you need to eat six small gluten-free, paleo dishes a day (despite not having a medical reason to do so)? Are you incapable of wandering off alone, even if it’s to the bathroom? Do you cry every night because you miss your boyfriend? Then maybe you’re just not ready to travel with other people yet.

7. Be open to what other people want to do
7. Be open to what other people want to do
11 Mar 2015

7. Be open to what other people want to do

Travelling with friends is all about working together as a team. Which means that you’ll inevitably have to indulge them in some activities that you couldn't care less about. It's not the end of the world just because they want to shop at Chanel instead of going to the Louvre. And try not to complain so much when they suggest that you all get up at 4:30 am to watch the sunrise instead of sleeping in. As much as you want to ditch them and do your own thing, you have to think about how selfish you would look if you were basically M.I.A. every time people suggested something you weren’t into. In that case, they’d wonder why you had even travelled with them – and that you should have booked a trip alone (or with more compatible friends) in the first place. 

8. Don’t take things too personally
8. Don’t take things too personally
11 Mar 2015

8. Don’t take things too personally

Just because your friends keep on going to the beach instead of hiking (like you wanted) doesn’t mean they’re disrespecting your opinion. Just because they’re all talking and laughing, while you’re sitting there awkwardly, doesn’t mean that they’re not really your friends (maybe you’re just an introvert who needs time to recharge). And just because the group never got to hit up the landmark of your choice doesn’t mean they don’t take you seriously. While they might not have been the best group for you to travel with, you should attribute their actions to over-excitement for their own needs rather than as a complete disregard to yours. Take things too personally, and we can guarantee that you’ll snap towards the end of the trip and end up scolding everyone.

9. Be considerate of the culture around you
9. Be considerate of the culture around you
11 Mar 2015

9. Be considerate of the culture around you

The last thing you want to do while overseas is embarrass your friends. Do some research on the culture beforehand, especially if it’s on the conservative side. Don’t frolic in a bikini in front of holy sites. Don’t litter just because it’s not illegal in other countries. And of course, don’t make racist comments about the people around you. Just be polite and show the locals that tourists are capable of dignity.

10. Don’t be stupid. Be responsible and street smart.
10. Don’t be stupid. Be responsible and street smart.
11 Mar 2015

10. Don’t be stupid. Be responsible and street smart.

That means making sure all your visas are in order, remembering to bring your passport, and withdrawing enough money for the duration of your trip (because we all know a person who needs to stop at the ATM every single day). While it’s good to be adventurous, you should also know how to draw the line between having fun and endangering your whole group. Having a couple of beers on the streets of Belgium? Sure! Accepting a drink and a cab ride from a complete stranger at the middle of the night in Prague? Unless your dad is Liam Neeson, maybe not. 

 

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