Survive your travel mate: 9 Unwritten rules that will help you travel together like a boss
Want to travel together with one of your best mates?
Giving each other hugs and high-fives because you’re the best freakin’ travel team on the planet?
Well, that’s great.
And you’re going to have an amazing time, but do you realize traveling together can also be challenging at times?
Do you realize when you travel together it has the incredible power to make or break friendships?
You could be besties at home, but worthless as travel mates. Or, vice versa, you could hardly speak when you’re at home and be like the Bonny and Clyde of backpacking.
Believe it or not, what happens abroad doesn’t stay abroad. Once that friendship is broken, it will remain broken. But if it goes well, you’ll be mates for life!
It’s hard to tell beforehand what will happen when you travel together, but there are many things you can do to keep your friendship intact and have an awesome time.
So let’s talk about having a great time and look at the 9 unwritten* rules to survive your travel mate and travel together like two bosses.
* Technically, now they are no longer unwritten.
1. Make your intentions clear
You might travel together, but you don’t have to plan everything together. You don’t even have to do everything together.
But here’s the most important thing: be clear about it.
Make sure you have the same kind of trip in mind.
Do you want to travel fast or slow?
Are you both ok with sleeping in the cheapest dorm? Or does one of you want the luxury of private rooms?
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Are you planning to mix with other people? Or would you rather stick together?
Of course, it’s ok to make compromises here and there, but if you don’t have the same kind of trip in mind…Don’t Travel Together.
Better to have awesome stories to share from your separate adventures, than to bitch to other mates about what an annoying travel mate your (former) best friend is.
2. Be clear about why you want to travel together
In addition to the above, it is important to know why you want to travel together.
Is it because you like each other and both share an interest for the countries you want to visit? Perfect.
Or is it because one of you doesn’t dare to travel alone, needs someone to fall back on, but still wants to have it his or her way? Maybe not such a good idea.
The most important rule is that you want to travel together because you like each other, not because one of you (or both of you) needs a hand to hold.
Do you think it’s still a good idea to travel together?
If you have passed the test of the above two questions, then you’ll be fine traveling together.
However, during the trip, there are a number of things that could go wrong despite all the good intentions you had in advance.
Here are 7 additional ‘rules’ to avoid unnecessary irritations during your trip and stay the best friends in the world.
3. Don’t be a nay-sayer
In life and in travel, it’s a matter of give and take.
With good mates, this seems to go automatically. Not something you two need to discuss.
One rule you should always try to follow is to always say ‘yes’ to the suggestions of your travel mate. For example, if the person wants to go for a coffee, you just go. Regardless of whether you feel like it or not.
This doesn’t mean you should hide your opinions on the big stuff, but don’t bitch about small things and just say yes. Who knows what kind of unexpected adventures you’ll get yourself into.
And if you have a hard time saying yes, think of it like this: How much fun would you have if you had to negotiate every small decision you make?
Our guess, not a lot.
So try not to be a dick, and just say yes.
“Why did you drink all my goon you @#$%?!”
It might be one of the things you’ll tell your travel mate. Then you laugh about it, and that’s that. Crisis avoided.
However, if you wouldn’t have said anything, and it happens again and again, you’ll build up a tension that is waiting to explode. And when you explode, your friendship might be beyond repair.
That’s why it’s important to talk about your frustrations right away. This way you get rid of the tension as soon as it arises, instead of waiting until you explode.
So talk about what you want to do while you travel together. Talk about your frustrations. In other words: Communicate!
You can’t expect the other person to magically know how you feel or what you want to do.
5. Be self-aware
At times, your travel mate will be the most annoying arseclown you know.
But always ask yourself this: could it be that I cause his or her annoying behaviour?
Could it be that I’m wrong here?
Could I be wrong?
It’s very easy to blame others for your own feelings, but it takes a bigger person to admit your mistakes.
Sometimes a small change in your own behaviour will eliminate your mate’s annoying behaviour. And if not, remember the previous: talk about it.
6. Share some love with your travel mate
“Hey mate, I fucking love that you’re here to share this adventure with me. Thanks for the awesome time!”
“Ahhh cheers, you’re alright as well.”
Traveling together is special. You share the best experiences together and that other person will always be part of your memories.
Why not tell each other how much you enjoy traveling together?
7. Don’t form a clique
We don’t care if you two are the freaking Batman and Robin of travel.
Every relationship needs a bit of freshness from time to time.
However, one of the downsides of traveling together is that other travelers start seeing you as a duo (or trio) and are less likely to start a conversation with you. This is especially true if you’re traveling with someone of the opposite sex.
Of course, you will still meet amazing people. You’ll just need to put in a little bit more effort to welcome others into your dream team.
8. Give each other some time and space
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Everyone needs some time to themselves, even when you travel together. There’s nothing wrong with that, so never take it personally if your travel mate wants some time alone.
Usually, the message is crystal clear if you bury your face in a book, take an afternoon nap or say “I’m going for a walk”.
If it’s not so obvious that you want to be alone, just say so.
Communication is key, remember?
9.Don’t be afraid to say goodbye
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, it’s just not going to work.
Why on earth would you travel together if that makes you both unhappy?
Just discuss what’s bothering you, make clear that traveling together is quite different than what you had expected, and go your own way.
It’s as easy as that.
But of course, you won’t let it come that far.
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