Lonely Planet author, Leif Patterson, tells travelers that duels to the death when traveling with friends can be prevented with pre-trip contemplation and dialogues. Some of the more pertinent criteria to consider in advance include:
1. Natural Selection
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. More often than not, blasting off with someone you don’t already know well is going to result in trip-curdling disharmony.
2. Setting expectations
Discuss your general vision of the trip. Vacation? Work trip? Urban exploration? Beaches? If one person is a go-go-go, see-see-see type and the other is a chill-at-sidewalk-cafes type, friction will quickly arise. And have you ever seen control freaks travel together? Messy. Carefully consider what you’d like to accomplish on your trip and communicate this with your prospective co-pilot.
The last straw for many strong relationships has occurred while standing on a busy street in pouring rain, two miles from the hostel, when one person would rather walk, saving the €1.50 bus fare, and the other just wants to be dry. Ditto for the salivating foodie whose friend can only afford self-catered bread and jam dinners. Before you start planning… establish each other’s comfort preferences and available funds for things like accommodation, food and transport.
4. Divide and conquer
It’s perfectly fine to split up when you’d each prefer to do other things. Resentment grows quickly when one person is made to feel like they are catering to the other person’s itinerary too frequently. Equally, splitting up, whether it’s for three hours or three days, will soothe mounting frustrations. It’s not a sign of trouble or failure, it’s just good policy. Additionally, you’ll have copious stories to share when you reunite.
5. Night and day
A discussion about daily routines is a good idea. An incurable night owl is going to wear down a morning person in a hurry.
6. Be considerate
After you’ve found the right companion, a little on-the-road finesse is essential. Be conscience of your companion’s mood and fatigue. Balance each other’s needs. Be neat. Don’t hog the bathroom. And for the love of Buddha, don’t bogart the wine.