How to Stay Sane When you Travel with your Best Friend

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If you didn’t already know, I travel the world solo 90% of the time. I love the freedom it allows – waking up and eating chocolate for breakfast with no one to tell me off, seeing all the sights I want to see, spending way too long people watching, and never having to spend time doing things I don’t want to do.

But of course, I love travelling with my friends too. Just, in small doses.

A few months ago one of my best friends from Australia came to visit me at my apartment in Berlin. It was the start of winter, I was in need of a quick escape from cold and grey Berlin, so we hopped on a flight to Paris. Yup, you can do that when you live in Europe!

A mere couple of hours later we arrived at Paris Charles De Gaulle, collected our bags, and hopped in an uber to the city (that’s a private driver app I use all the time that is cheaper than taxis – you can even use the code “worldofwanderlust” to get a free ride).

We were in Paris for just two nights. Not long at all, but long enough to spend living in each other’s pockets when you combine it with a few days before and a few days after at my apartment in Berlin. All in all we were together for 10 days.

Now I love my friends, yes I do. But there are certain things that get on all of our nerves when we spend so long in one another’s company.

Luckily, he didn’t snore. He didn’t sleep walk or talk, in fact, he was as quiet as a mouse. Thanking my lucky stars for that! And I’m sure he got tired of my endless requests to stop into lolly stores because I just had to have my sugar fix.

So, here are my few tips for surviving and thriving when you travel with your best friend (aka: how to make sure you don’t kill your friend when you’re on holiday together).


How to Stay Sane when you Travel with your Best Friend

  1. Book twin beds or two bedrooms if you can
  2. Be open and honest about the things you really want to do and cannot miss during your visit to each city
  3. Compromise OR spend time apart and do the things you really want to do, while they do their own thing
  4. Always finish the day with a nice evening meal where you can reflect on the great day you had and plan the next one
  5. Laugh it off – if you have an argument or disagree, be sure to get over it quickly. In the grand scheme of things, YOU’RE ON HOLIDAY!
  6. Be flexible and try to be interested in each other’s interests – who knows, you might end up really liking that obscure teacup museum they just insist you have to accompany them to!
  7. Remember why you love ‘em. Times can get tough and sometimes you might want to strangle them, but at the end of the day they’re your best friend for a reason. Overlook the trivialities and remember this is a trip you will remember for a lifetime. Just have fun!

travel-friends travel with friends

By the way, my bestie and I had a great time in Paris and Berlin! We love to debate almost anything, but we’re more alike than we are dissimilar and always end up laughing at each other when we disagree. I couldn’t have had a better few days with him visiting me in Europe – but this post may help some of you to look at the positives when you spend a little too much time in the pocket of your best friend! I’m sure if we extended any further beyond the 10 days this post could have ended quite differently………. Wink!

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    November 19, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    It worked out great! We had a blast. It turned out we ended up spending more time on the train and several more overnights sharing accomodations in hotels when the train was delayed and we missed connections. Amtrak took care of us, and we just went with the flow. The best news is that we are planning a two week Panama Canal ocean-to-ocean cruise, with a similar cross-country train journey for next year.

    The funniest part of the whole trip was our stay in a hostel in Seattle, where the young women staying in the bunkroom with us were taken aback upon finding “grandmas” invading their space. Then we were caught smuggling wine in our room, but we shared it with them and it was all ok.

    November 19, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    Might have to send this one to my best friend! We are travelling Europe for 4 months together next year! Let’s hope these tips stop us from killing each other! 😉

    Map destinations
    June 9, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    If you’re visiting friends or relatives, avoid an overstuffed car by shipping supplies like diapers and wipes to your destination. You can also rent baby gear from a rental service.

    May 2, 2015 at 10:26 am

    Sound advice here. I’ve realised that travelling with a friend can be great but ultimately what’s more rewarding for me is travelling along because I am so much more open to meeting people along the way and I find I am never really alone. This takes a bit of practice and guts but is so rewarding.

  • Now Trending - Best Links Week of 4.27 - Almost Getting it TogetherAlmost Getting it Together
    May 2, 2015 at 1:27 am

    […] Traveling with friends can be hard but I would say most of my friends and I have it down pretty pat. These tips are so great to make sure you’re still friends when you get home. […]

    April 30, 2015 at 6:45 am

    They say the best way to test love and friendship is to travel and to live together.
    I’ve had two negative travel experiences with two different friends, and, oh well, it happened so that after a few years we actually stopped being friends in the end…

    But when you travel with somebody and it feels easy – you know that’s your kind of person! So stick with him!! (or her)

    Michael Gallagher
    April 30, 2015 at 2:36 am

    As a travel blogging couple this resonates! Very important to be ever mindful of the person you’re traveling with. SO easy to get so caught up in what you want to do and completely forget the other person might have an entirely different agenda!

    April 29, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    You’re so right about how traveling with friends and spending 24/7 with them can drive you insane. I think it’s great when friends can split up and do their own thing and reconvene later, no matter how close you are you will still need time apart. Thanks for sharing!

    Characters & Carry-ons

    The Blonde Tourist
    April 29, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Great post! You definitely need to be open and honest at the start, I’ve travelled with friends, family and even my partner’s family and each trip was different. I think it’s always important to stay true to yourself too so you don’t miss out on the things you want to do. If they don’t want to do what you want to do, don’t let that hold you back!! Communication is defs key 🙂

    April 29, 2015 at 1:46 am

    Haha, a lot of these tips would go for travelling with your partner too – my fiancé and I went to Australia last year and the 18-hour flight each way was enough on its own to test our friendship and love for one another ^__^

    April 28, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Great post! I also find that having talks about money before you travel is a good way to ensure that everyone stays happy. I hate dividing things to the nearest penny and worrying about who might be getting ripped off. My best friend and I have always had a “bank of us” going. As long as one of us has money– it ends up working out. We are both really careful about not taking advantage of each other and it just works.
    Another friend and I created a “money pot”.. we each would put the same amount of money in it and then use it to pay for all our stuff. When the pot got low.. we’d put more in.

    April 28, 2015 at 6:30 am

    Ah! I’ve definitely have been there… traveling with my best friend abroad, thinking it would be easy breezy. Was I in for a big surprise… Long story short, I realized my best friend is a total planner and everything has to be scheduled, while I learned that I’m much more of a go-with the flow type of traveller. (Both style are okay!)

    They say that traveling with someone really opens your eyes to who they really are. As rewarding as it can be and bring two people closer, it can also make people grow apart. Your tips are great and on point! Especially booking two bedrooms if you can. Sometimes spending 24/7 with someone can be much, we all need a break and “alone time” to refresh. Arguments or disagreements will happen. Laughing it off and remembering why you are friends will absolutely help in the long run. Like any relationship, friendships will have indifferences, and that’s okay.

    Thanks for sharing!

    April 28, 2015 at 4:01 am

    I think time management and compromise are the biggest things. If you like to sleep in and they like an early start then meet in the middle. If they like to go to all the sights back to back and you like to be a bit more leisurely then maybe see them separately or again – come in the middle.


    April 28, 2015 at 3:11 am

    Great post–I’m sharing it with a very close friend and very close neighbor, who is going on an 18 day trip with me, consisting of a combination train ride in a sleeper car (6 days total), a 7 day Alaskan cruise in a balcony suite, 4 days in a hostel in Seattle, and a night in St. Louis to kickstart the trip.

    We are in our 60’s and get along pretty good, but we’ve discussed how we’ll handle the 18 solid days of “togetherness”. We like our wine & scrabble, and she smokes, while I need an hour of alone time in the morning to read and have my coffee. On the cruise we’ll probably hang out at the wine bar where she can smoke, play our portable Scrabble game, and use walkie-talkies for when we explore on our own. Even on the train, we can explore individually, which is something I’ll encourage unless she prefers my company.

    I think our friendship will weather this trip. We are both adventurous, yet laid back, grandmas. Hence the planned stay at a hostel. Oh the fun we will have!

    April 28, 2015 at 2:04 am

    I just finished traveling for a couple weeks with a good friend of mine. We had a lovely lovely time, although I admit that by the end of the trip we definitely ready to say goodbye. All of these tips are SO good. We practiced quite a few of them. I would just add that it is important to understand each other’s need for personal space. We spent a lot of time together during the day, so when we got back to the hotel/airbnb we generally took a break from socializing to read, write/reflect, or surf the internet. ALONE. I think understanding each other’s need for personal time and having that alone time every day helped us to stay sane and happy together.

    Sarah Lynn
    April 28, 2015 at 1:41 am

    Great advice Brooke!
    I travelled for five months with my best friend backpacking Europe and everyone used to always ask “Are you still friends?”
    Of course we are! Travelling with your BFF is an experience of a lifetime, of course we had a few disagreements, but the “ups” far exceeded the “downs”.

    • Brooke Saward
      April 28, 2015 at 2:05 am

      totally agree – my friends, i love ’em to death. Would do it all again 10 times over 🙂

    April 28, 2015 at 12:32 am

    100% agreed! I could be challenging to spend vacations even with your best friends so these rules must be applied! )

    April 27, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    Great post! It’s happened to me in the past, this post would’ve been really useful at the time! But for the future it has giving me great tips!

    Claire @ TallGirlBigWorld
    April 27, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    Knowing when to split up and spend a morning away from each other is so important. I just back from a 3 week trip with my friend, and we had a great time together, but there were definitely a few days where we said we needed to separate until lunch. For some reason, I hadn’t thought about the two separate rooms idea, but if it fits in your budget, that’s a great idea too. It’s amazing how a good night’s rest (alone) will make you feel!

    April 27, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    My friends are always begging to come along on my trips, but I just love going it alone! I will definitely keep this tips in mind next time a friend asks to tag along!

    April 27, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    I really want to travel solo!!! I’m just too scared :S

    April 27, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    After traveling alone for a couple of times, when i first travelled with my friend again, it didnt feel as natural! We did argue a fair bit, but of course we got over it really quickly. I think thats the most important thing. To accept that people have different views, compromise and move on. It was awesome that we could laugh off every squabble 🙂

    X, Carina
    Running White Horses | Fashion + Travel

    April 27, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    I love your tip to have a nice evening dinner and plan the next day! I don’t know, I always seem to leave that for breakfast the next day when everybody is sleepy and grumpy. Have to change that 🙂

    April 27, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    I just did a roadtrip around New Zealand for 3.5 weeks AS WELL as 2 months in Southeast Asia with my best friend… except he was my boyfriend too so being together 24/7 wasn’t bad at all! I guess it depends a lot on the level of comfort that you have with the person you’re travelling with… I could think of a few people with whom this post would be REALLY handy haha! Great post Brooke! x

    • Brooke Saward
      April 28, 2015 at 2:08 am

      hahahaha I’m hearing you!!! Travel really has a way of testing us… there’s so much to gain/learn from exploring!!

    April 27, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    I’m not used to travelling solo. Never do it before, so I always travelling with my bestie or my family. So far so good! Hope that one day, I can be brave enough to travel the world solo. Thanks for sharing this kind of post, Brooke!

    Michelle | Lights Camera Travel
    April 27, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Traveling together can be a true test of friendship! I travelled with two of my besties a few years back – it ended one friendship whilst it strengthened the other beyond measure! I think the most important tip is number 7: take a step back to see the forest through the trees. If we love each other we will find a way back to each other!

    Prasanthi Purusothaman
    April 27, 2015 at 9:29 am

    Compromise really is key as you say Brooke. Having travelled with both my boyfriend through S.E Asia, and 2 of my best friends through the states, I have come to learn how to recognise when things start to turn sour, and how to come back from that so as not to ruin the holiday! Time apart can be really great if your interests are different, and it makes for great conversation at dinner time when you re-commune to reflect on the day that was.

    April 27, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Now I love my friends very much, but I think it would be the end of our friendship if I traveled with them. 😀
    A really good friend of mine came with me on a trip to Denmark a couple of years ago. And as fun as it was, we just have completely different traveling styles.

    Niefia Zupancic
    April 27, 2015 at 7:48 am

    Great pictures – good topic – I’m getting ready for a trip to Spain where I will be traveling with a close friend for about a week – I will keep your suggestions in mind.

    Chir Wey
    April 27, 2015 at 7:32 am

    You put it so well. Best friends doesn’t mean best travel buddies. And having a big dose of anyone can be too much at times.

    April 27, 2015 at 7:09 am

    I have been in this situation far too many times already. Agony! Great list, though. It is definitely important to remember why you are friends in the first place and have a good time together.

    April 27, 2015 at 6:55 am

    It’s amazing how many times I’ve heard from people that they ended some friendships after traveling together. Thanks for the tips and glad to hear you had a great time with your friend! 🙂

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