So many times in my travels, I’ve met a pair of friends who are on a trip together. As soon as one of them leaves the room, the other will do nothing but complain about the other. They can even get nasty and talk about how the other friend is ruining their trip.

Why does this happen?

Travel is like life, but more. Travel accelerates and amplifies everything. If you and your friend have small disagreements, it will yank those to the surface.

People have disagreements, it’s completely natural. But in normal life, you’re not forced to confront them like you are when traveling. Who cares what your friends do when they aren’t with you? It’s none of your business. But when you travel together, it becomes your business.

When you travel, you are forced to constantly make decisions. With the increase in decisions comes the increase in stress. With the increase of stress comes an increase of emotions. This is one of the greatest things about travel: exposing yourself to new obstacles and challenges. But it can be disaster for a friendship.

How should I choose a travel buddy?

Before you just pick up and go travel with someone, it’s important to think about how you two will get along. Have you traveled with this person before? Think about what this person wishes to get out of the trip. Do you have similar interests? Do they get excited about the same things as you? Things like adaptability, open-mindedness, and independence are the best qualities you can look for.

How can I prepare to travel with someone?

You will NEVER agree with someone 100% of the time. So it’s important to take some precautions before you begin traveling with someone.

You should talk to them about any qualms you have before you hit the road, that way they don’t catch you by surprise. You’d be surprised how far this goes in creating a safe, open dialogue.

Make it clear to your travel buddy that you won’t agree on everything, and that’s okay. If you want to do two different things, you are free to split up. Make sure that they know there are no hard feelings over this. You are both adults.

If you are traveling for more than a few weeks, you should even plan in scheduled breaks from each other. It’s almost impossible to travel with someone for months without fighting. When you are glued to someone 24 hours a day, you can get cabin fever. Sometimes you need to let out some of the steam and get some time alone.

What if I feel like my vacation is ruined already?

Sometimes you imagine a trip one way, and it turns into something completely different. Instead of clinging to your imagination, embrace the reality.

By choosing to travel with another person, you have made a trade. You traded full independence for the company of a friend. Remember this. You made the choice. You could have traveled alone.

You will have to make trade offs and do some things that you don’t want to know. Who knows? You might even enjoy it. Keep an open mind and be willing to try new things.

Maybe the problem isn’t your friend, maybe it’s you. Take the opportunity to work on yourself and address your own problems. This is why we travel in the first place. Travel is like real life, but more. Travel accelerates and amplifies everything. Hopefully you can use it to accelerate your personal growth.

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