How to travel with friends and remain friends

First tip: don’t post EVERYTHING on Facebook

Travel is the litmus test for many a relationship. Nothing puts more stress on a friendship than the one-person-only-upgrade or the Delhi-belly-bathroom-share. So what can you do to ensure your BFF doesn’t become a BFALAWSH (Best Friends As Long As We Stay Home)?

Choose your travel partners wisely
Some people’s idea of heaven is a Thelma and Louise holiday that will strengthen your bond like no other, and for others heaven is a young Brad Pitt with his shirt off. Make sure you pick the right travel partner who is at least on the same map as you – or you may end driving off a cliff.

Remember money talks (and it also walks out the door of the four star hotel room you can’t afford)
You’re an aspiring artist who lives each moment to the fullest and at home subsist on instant noodles and splurge on gigs and plays. You’re mate’s an accountant. While you don’t have to have the same amount of money as your travelling partner, it’s a good idea to discuss how much you’re both intending to spend on accommodation, food, tours and shopping and what your deal-breakers are. And remember, there’s an app for just about everything (including keeping track of owed momey).

Plan, but not too much
Are you an over-organiser? Is your fellow traveller a go-with-the-flow kind of person? It’s always good for you all to have a loose idea of where you’ll be going and when, but you can fill in the details when you get there. Spreadsheets and itineraries can kill a friendship faster than splitting the bill when you only had a salad.

You’re not joined at the hip so go it alone occasionally
I have no interest in cars or the roads they race on, my travelling buddy has no interest in Anne or her Green Gables. On a trip to Canada I did all things Anne Shirley on Prince Edward Island while he devoured its fresh produce; and he walked on some road in Montreal while I devoured its poutine. There was no resentment and only gentle mockery of Cameron Daddo (who stars in a not-quite Anne of Green Gables sequel). The lesson: never force your interests (or Cameron Daddo) on anyone else.

Socks on doors and respect
Your travel partner will undoubtedly see you at your worst, so be the best you can be without being uncomfortable: be tidy, polite, and never, ever subject your travel partner to the discomfort of coming back to your hotel room to find the Do Not Disturb sign (or its hostel equivalent) on the door without having been forewarned and provided with alternative accommodation/entertainment.

If all else fails, make new friends
Sometimes travel is like marriage and your travel partner has locked you into a monogamous relationship leaving little room for anyone else. Part of the joy of travel is making new friends – especially if you’ve worn out the old ones. So cheat on your travel partner as often as you can.

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