The Ultimate Guide to Traveling with Friends

Travelling with someone is undoubtedly one of the best ways to travel. Paige and I met while I was on exchange at Edinburgh University and we began planning to travel since the very beginning. We were lucky enough to hit nearly 20 different cities across 9 European countries. It definitely wasn’t easy planning trips with another person, but as long as everyone’s on the same page about the five big things – budget, open communication, planning, a compromised itinerary, and packing – you can be sure to have an amazing trip!

Finance – Make sure budgets are similar

When traveling with friends, finances are one of the biggest aspects of planning. As students, Paige and I had the same budget: as cheap as possible. This meant that we had to compromise on some parts of our trip. The most notable compromise was a dingy hostel in Krakow, Poland; this was integral to our trip because we were then able to afford to book one of the better tours and enjoy nicer meals while visiting that city.

As long as whoever you’re traveling with is able to agree on which parts of the trip to compromise on – whether that be lodgings, food, or mode of travel – everyone will be happy. Even if it means foregoing a real meal and living off of protein bars, or taking an 8-hour bus instead of an expensive flight, just know that if the people you’re traveling with have a similar budget to you, it’ll all work out.

Communication – Speak up for what you need

“For some people, communication can be terrifying. However, when traveling, especially with friends, it is necessary. Lack of communication can lead to resentment, bickering, and unhappiness. Traveling, after all, is supposed to be enjoyable. 

There have been several times when Ana and I are moving about a city and one of us will blurt out, “I’m actually super tired.” Most of the time the other will exclaim with relief, “Me too!” Traveling becomes so much easier when you are honest with how you are feeling. It can be exhausting with all the planes, trains, buses, and walking. Every part of travel is new and overwhelming. Don’t suffer because you think your travel partner will be upset. In the end, you both paid for this trip and both of you should enjoy it equally.” – Paige

Planning – Book everything together

No one ENJOYS planning unless you’re a psycho like me. But planning parts of your trip together is essential! You need to know how/when everyone wants to visit where. How long do you want to spend in each place? How will you get from point A to point B? Do the tickets need to be purchased far in advance or are a last-minute buy the better option? Who’s paying for what? Is there a more economical way to get from city to city? These are things that need to be considered before a trip and shouldn’t be decided by one person – unless that person is a travel agent and is being paid to book your entire experience. Plus, planning your trip with everyone attending makes it easier to stay on top of your itinerary; you don’t want to be the one person who has no idea where you’re headed to next.

Adventure – Be spontaneous but compromise on the itinerary

“Once you’ve picked the city/cities you’ll be visiting and booked your flights, the next thing to do is figure out your itinerary. Ana and I visited most cities for only a day, so it was important to see as much as we could in those twenty-four hours. However, that did not mean we planned every minute of our day. Instead, we would pick the landmarks, coffee shops, castles, whatever it may be, that we wanted to see the most. At any time of the day, we understood this could change. Maybe one place was too far away or too expensive. Or maybe we were just too tired to fit it into our schedule. For example, we forewent seeing The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen because it would be a three-hour trip to go there and back. It is easy to feel guilty about not visiting every single landmark in a city. The best mindset is to promise yourself that you can return in the future. 

When making an itinerary, it is important to be vocal with your travel buddy about where you want to go. Ana and I were fortunate enough to have similar tastes. We both loved coffee shops, avoided expensive museums and landmarks, and loved walking rather than taking Ubers.  We were also open to the other person mentioning something they wanted to do. Traveling with a friend or partner requires a great deal of compromise (see: Communication). Understanding that you may not be able to do everything according to your priorities is imperative. The best way to travel with a partner is to make sure you are both on the same page about everything. Once this is figured out, your trip is bound to be amazing.” – Paige

Packing – Share packing essentials

The biggest space-saving tip Paige and I discovered while traveling was to share the essential bits. Only one of us needed to pack a comb, converter, and a portable charger. This saves space in your bags, allowing you to bring back more souvenirs from your trip while also saving you days of back pain as a result of lugging too much around. 

I’d like to thank Paige, a seasoned traveler, for contributing her greatly valued advice and the photos she’s taken while abroad to this ~ultimate~ guide to traveling with friends. Check out her website to see more of her travels.

We can assure you that this guide to traveling was no-fail for us so give it a go! Have a conversation about what you’re looking to get out of your trip with your traveling partner(s) and plan accordingly! And if you start to think it may all be a bit too much to plan, remember – traveling is the only thing you buy that actually makes you richer.

written by Ana Mota