As a dedicated solo traveler, I always have a moment of dread before any vacation with a travel buddy. Will we get along? If something goes wrong, will we both stay cool? Will we just want to ditch each other halfway through the week?
My mom is a spontaneous traveler while my dad spends more time planning a trip than actually being on it. Growing up, I watched them bicker endlessly on road trips, mostly because of their different travel styles. They’ve started to compromise in recent years, but it taught me an important lesson—that how you and your travel buddy get along can absolutely make or break your trip.
So what do you do if you can’t get along with your travel buddy?
1: Eat Something
Travel disrupts your schedule in more ways than you might think. Even varying your meal times by an hour or two can make you cranky—and if you’re anything like me, having low blood sugar and a headache can make you snap at anyone and feel totally embarrassed about it later.
So if you know you’re getting hungry and annoyed, let your travel buddy know! Rather than doing the “I’m fine, don’t worry about it” thing, do the “Let’s eat before I become a rampaging beast” thing.
2: Get Some Sleep
If hunger doesn’t make you a bit less you, being tired almost certainly will. Crossing time zones or being on the road for a while can leave you worn out and cranky. Reading a map and navigating for hours can be exhausting, while sitting on a plane can dehydrate you. Catching even a half-hour of sleep can do wonders for your mood, and even keep you more alert and aware throughout the rest of the day.
3: Split Up For A Bit
Let’s say you’ve got your sleep, you’re eating well, and you’re hydrated. But you and your travel buddy just cannot click—you’re squabbling over your budget, your schedule, and all things large and small.
Splitting up—even for a little bit—can do wonders for both of you. Take an hour or a day if you need it to do your own thing, whether it’s exploring a new part of town or just relaxing for a while. Even the best of friends need a little breathing room once in a while.
4: Find Some Friends
And speaking of friends: finding some fellow travelers, expats, or locals can not only bring an amazing level of adventure to your trip, but they also can help take some of the pressure off of you and your travel buddy.
Think about it—if you’re at a party where you only know one person, your first instinct may be to hang out just with him at first. But, you’ll have to branch out and start talking to other people before both of you start to feel awkward and annoyed.
The same goes with travel. Before you and your travel buddy start to get that awkward, annoyed, obligated-to-one-another feeling, head out and start meeting some other amazing people. Just…you know, don’t use this time to gang up on your friend or vent all of your frustrations. Have fun and enjoy!
5: Talk Over A Beer (Or Coffee, Or Donuts…)
And finally, if something’s really bothering you, talk it out! Maybe your travel buddy has no idea what the issue is—or on the other hand, she has a few things she’d like to talk about as well.
It sounds totally daunting, but talking over a good drink may just end up being one of the best parts of your trip. You might walk away with some good laughs or even a valuable lesson—but you’ll never know unless you take that plunge!