When travelling is shared with friends, it takes your friendship to a whole new level. Every time I go away with friends (even if it’s just for a weekend road trip) I always come back having learned so much not only about them but about myself also. Having the opportunity to do so with friends is truly an experience you don’t want to miss out on.
That being said, it’s not always the easiest thing to do either, it comes with it’s own challenges and hurdles but at the end of the day- that’s all part of it.
A few weekends ago, myself and Kerryn Amyes took the trip down to Tauranga. Being a frequent road tripper myself, I thought I would share my experiences and tips for planning your next getaway with friends.
Balance Your Free Time.
The key to a great holiday is to go 50/50. You don’t want to plan your holiday down to the mili-second (that sounds like a list of chores as opposed to a holiday!) Instead book the odd restaurant reservation or day trip here and there, and intermix that with your free time and relaxation. It gives you a little structure, without being completely over-bearing. You’ll find it actually gives you more freedom to choose where you want to spend the rest of the trip.
The key to reducing tension that can result from travelling with others is communication. Whether you’re on a trip with your best friend or a new friend, you want to ensure you have a clear channel of communication. Let the other person know that if they need to air something, that you will listen and take what they have to say on board. It can really have a big impact on everyone’s attitude.
You don’t want one of your girlfriends feeling left out or excluded from the group so you generally want to keep your group pretty tight, with perhaps a max of four. If you want to do something bigger (say a hens party) then, by all means, go for it but my suggestion would be to plan for more relaxation time than usual, so people aren’t feeling rushed and bothered. In a bigger group, make sure everyone understands that it’s ok for people to split off at different times. This will keep everyone relaxed and moving at their own pace!
Strike a balance
Just because you’re travelling together, doesn’t mean you need to do everything together. In fact, this can cause people to feel suffocated so I would encourage doing activities/day trips separately when possible. Not every day of course, but every few days to keep a nice balance of “me” time. It makes for a lively conversation at dinner.
Choose your girls well.
Spontaneity during travel is great, but not so much when selecting a travel companion. Pick a friend whose company you consistently enjoy in a variety of situations. This pretty much goes without saying, but the friends you choose to travel with are just as, if not more, important as the destination you choose to go to. The trick is to know which friends you are more likely to travel well with. You can normally figure this out based on what your interests are. Chances are you’ll cement the friendship even more if you choose well.
Set a date ahead of time (and stick to it)
Sadly if you’re travelling with a few girls you will probably find that someone will drop out from the trip due to an emergency or another engagement, but I suggest you still go ahead with the trip anyway if most others can make it. Life will always come up with a reason to put off that trip you’ve been planning so mark a date in your calendar well in advance and stick to it!
Keep calm and carry on
Understand that sometimes shit happens. Despite your best efforts to plan and have everything run smoothly, things can end up going wrong. Remember to smile about it, because sometimes the most memorable experiences are the ones you never expected to happen, and that’s all part of it. 90% of the time it’s those memories that you will laugh about for years to come. Whatever you do, please do not start blaming others for problems that may arise, or lose it when something doesn’t go quite how you planned. Travel is a stressful, crazy and sponteneous thing- so before you go off at your girlfriend, take a deep breath and remind yourself no one is perfect (even you).