There’s an iconic Beatles song I like associating with the idea of travelling with a friend. The song goes, “What do I do when my love is away, (does it worry you to be alone)? How do I feel at the end of the day, (are you sad because you’re on your own)? No, I get by with a little help from my friends.”
Perhaps nothing is more enjoyable for a traveller than sharing the journey with a friend, so we make it our ambition to travel with good company whenever we can. But some travellers get so used to it that they become bored and take their friends for granted. When this occurs, one hardly notices that their friend is already having a hard time keeping up with them. Don’t be cold. Take note of when your friend is showing signs that you’re giving them a hard time and do something about it. To help, we can give you 13 things you should NOT do when travelling with a friend.
1. Don’t get drunk on your travel buddy
I’ve heard stories of this too many times, and a handful of them are just awful. One drunk friend picks a fight with total strangers, another drunk friend makes his travel buddy miss their flight the next day, while the other has to be carried back to the hotel. Although getting drunk on your travels is part of the fun (like it always is), you have to take into consideration your sober friend who has to pick up the pieces. It’s hard to rely on anyone else when you’re in a foreign place. Who knows what could happen to you! So although your friend has your back, don’t abuse the kindness. They should be able to count on you too.
2. Don’t sleep at the same time in transit
Waiting for your flight or the bus? Don’t sleep on each other. It’s best if someone’s awake to take the watch, whether to guard your things or to be on the lookout for change of schedule and departure. Airports, for example, will sometimes announce change of terminal gates when people are already settled down in the original one. What if both of you slept through the announcement? You’d have to small talk a fellow passenger to know or rush to the new gate when boarding is announced.
3. Don’t let only one person hold your important documents
Each of you should have a copy of important documents like hotel and tour reservations. And don’t even think of placing both passports in the possession of one person. If that person is pickpocketed, then you lose both your passports. What a burden!
4. Don’t fall in love with the same person in your travels
Have you ever watched the movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona? The love story was a hot mess, and it all started when two girl friends fell in love with the same guy on a trip to Spain. You might say that this is already a given, but it won’t be as easy to manage when you’re face to face with someone you’re attracted to, in the throes of wanderlust, nonetheless.
5. Don’t ditch your buddy for a fling
Speaking of falling in love, it may be even more possible to have a fling on your travels. Well, you’re an adult. Do what you want. But don’t you ever ditch your travel buddy for a stranger. It’s insensitive and inconsiderate unless of course, your friend is okay with it. If not (because the fling wasn’t part of your plan to begin with!), you’re better off solo travelling next time.
6. Don’t let your buddy eat in a buffet before the beach
They might get dizzy or worse, throw up in the ocean. That flat stomach they’ve been trying to flaunt in a cute bikini? Gone before you even started taking photos.
7. Don’t expect your friend to take nice photos of you when you can’t do the same for them
I think the number one rule of travelling with a friend is to be fair. And part of that fairness is the number of good photos (or the lack of) that you take of each other. If you know that you suck at taking photos, don’t demand too much from your travel buddy. On the other hand, if your friend is good at taking photos, then you better step up your game and make them look good in the photos you take as well. Reasonable, right?
8. Don’t ask for too many toiletries
Sharing may be part of travelling with friends but don’t overdo it. It’s okay to depend on each other to bring this or that, but remember that you might run out of essentials if you use and abuse each other’s generosity. Before you know it, you’ve run out of toothpaste, wet wipes, and facial wash!
9. Don’t give ultimatums
“If you don’t come with me now, you’re going solo for the rest of the trip!”
I think plenty of us are guilty of “threatening” our travel buddy with ultimatums such as this. It’s all fun and games when the mood is light, but when you start to get really pushy, that’s when ultimatums create cracks in the friendship. Remember, when your travel goals are different from that of your friend’s, compromise is key. Come to an agreement as early as the planning stage, and neither of you will struggle.
10. Don’t ditch your buddy for a hobby
You’re in this together. That means you should try to put common interests in your itinerary as much as possible for fairness and inclusiveness. Besides, it sucks to see your friend waiting for you on the ground while you go skydiving or surfing. This goes back to my previous point: compromise. If your friend is okay waiting for you, go ahead. Make up for it by accompanying them to the activity they want to do right after.
11. Don’t back out last minute
Besides backing out on a trip as a whole, it sucks when you’ve been wanting to check something off your itinerary just for your friend to say on the day itself that they don’t want to do it anymore. NEVER ever do this! If you want to back out, always give your friend a heads up and state the reasons why. Maybe there’s a chance both of you can still work around it, but don’t back out last minute expecting your friend to just abide by it. There is no justice in that.
12. Don’t show off
Some travellers have this tendency when they’ve been to a destination more than once, especially overseas. There’s a time and place to flaunt what you know, but more often than not, it’s never when you’re travelling with your friend. Why? Because they could use your guidance more than your boasting. Besides, if you really know a destination that well, it will naturally show. You don’t have to make the experience about you.
Reading down this list, you could say that there is such a thing as “Travel Buddy Etiquette”. But when it comes down to it, you just have to be a considerate and generous human being to be a good travel companion to your friends. It shouldn’t take much effort, just kind actions!