If you really want to get to know someone, travel with them.
Having said that, I’ve heard horror stories, and with a couple plans in the works for future trips with friends. I figured a call in to some people who have successfully traveled with friends for advice on how to keep sane when the trip involves lots of time lounging with my besties.
1. Talk money ahead of time
When you’re traveling with friends, the topic of money will inevitably come up. It’s a good idea to be upfront about expenses before even booking the tickets.
Kelly McCann, a professional organizer, said, “Talking about this early on will go a long way toward making sure no one is taken by surprise when you have to bring out that two-letter word: No.”
2. Create a group itinerary
When traveling in a group, a lot of time can be wasted trying to figure out what to do once you get there — if this hasn’t been discussed ahead of time.
Samantha Brown, AARP Travel ambassador, suggests taking some time prior to departure and having everyone write down what they’d like to accomplish on the trip. She said, “This wish list will let everyone feel their desires have been heard, and they’ll be more likely to enjoy others’ recommendations.”
3. Nominate a trip leader
If you’ll be traveling in a group with multiple friends, it can be hard to keep everyone motivated, which is why Wade suggests nominating one person to be the key decision maker of the group for the trip.
“The leader can set departure times and let everyone know the basic plan,” said Wade. “Again, this takes the stress out of the holiday by giving it a bit of structure.”
4. Pool your important documents
Once you’ve nominated a leader, Annie Pryatel of Overpacked Suitcase says using a travel folder to gather all tickets, maps and other important documents can help streamline the process of group travel, as well.
5. Power down
Nothing is more likely to cause resentment than when one person is trying to have a conversation with someone who’s busy showing off the trip on Instagram.
“Put all messages, voicemails and social media activity on hold, and live in the moment with your friends,” said Maumaire. “When you travel and end up spending the time with your face buried in your phone, your companions will rightly think your social networking feed is more interesting than their company.”
6. Set specific free time
Aljolynn Sperber, who recently spent five days traveling around London with her best friend and her best friend’s family, suggests designating free time for everyone every day.
If you do decide to split up, Pryatel suggests using a communication app, like Wechat, to stay in touch. “It allows you to send your location and communicate effectively if you split up while exploring,” she said.