While traveling with a friend or lover can be a fantastic experience -- allowing you to deepen your connection by sharing new experiences -- it can also be incredibly testing, particularly if you and your travel companion have different travel styles, expectations, and personalities. "Often one person is looking for excitement and adventure and the other wants peace and quiet," says Roberta Temes, practicing psychotherapist and author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Hypnosis." Temes encourages those traveling together, whether friends or a couple, to be clear about their expectations and preferences before a trip. Indeed, communicating your vision of what you want in a trip before you buy your tickets is a key component to helping things go smoothly. Here are a few important points to discuss before taking a trip with another person.
Even if you and your travel companion have similar incomes or a similar amount set aside for your trip, you might have very different ideas about how to spend your money abroad. Perhaps one person will sleep anywhere with a bed and a light switch, so long as he or she gets to eat in the finest restaurants, while another might prefer five-star luxury lodging and is totally cool with baguettes and cheese for all three meals.
Tracking shared expenses should also be worked out. Couples might prefer not to exchange cash directly, so perhaps one person could pay for car rentals while another pays for hotels. Others might want to each pay for part of the big-ticket expenses, keep a running ledger of who pays shared expenses such as tolls and gas, and then divide it all up at the end.
2. Sleeping Arrangements
Figuring out sleeping arrangements ahead of time is usually pretty easy among friends and couples. While a lot of travelers prefer sharing a hotel room to save costs, some might prefer their own rooms. If you’re traveling with a friend, it’s usually easy enough to book a place with two beds, but sometimes you might have to share — make sure you are both okay with this before securing the room. Also, be clear how you both feel about bringing other people back into your room, particularly if you are going on a party trip where this might come up.
Finally, don’t forget to be linked up beforehand on sleep habits. Early risers and late sleepers can coexist on a trip without one person compromising another’s styles, but a lot of tiptoeing, earplugs, and sleep masks may be involved — so it’s a good idea to know each other’s plans ahead of time.
3. Diet and Dining Out
For some, food is a hugely important part of the travel experience, while others do not care what they eat — just so long as it’s prepared hygienically. Some will want to head straight to the nearest Michelin-starred restaurant, while others would just as soon grab a few deli items from the local supermarket and call it a meal. Therefore, it’s a good idea to discuss how much of a role dining out will play in the overall vacation experience. Also, if one of you is vegan or has a sensitivity to gluten, dairy, soy, or any other ingredient, you may want to make sure that you are fine with choosing eating arrangements that suit both of your dietary preferences — or are fine with splitting up for a meal or two.
4. Transportation Preferences
Getting around is another potential point of contention, particularly if you are traveling with someone who is of a different fitness and/or energy level than you. Some travelers relish nothing more than walking everywhere they can, while others prefer experiencing local transportation. Others still are willing to splurge for the convenience of taxis and ride-shares.
5. Sightseeing Preferences
Some travel to see all the major sites, while others prefer to spend their vacation time exploring off-the-beaten-path attractions or simply just wandering around, seeing how locals live. It’s a good idea to be clear ahead of time if one of you has a plan to tick off all of your destination’s major monuments, while the other wants to wile away the days at local coffeeshops and bookstores. Of course, there’s always the option of splitting up during the day and each doing your own thing, then meeting up later to compare notes.
6. Solo Time
Even if you are traveling in a couple, pair, or group, there’s no reason why you can’t schedule in a little bit of solo time. However, while some travelers look forward to the chance to spend some time with only their thoughts as company, others — particularly those who may not have spent a lot of time alone in unfamiliar places — might find the concept downright terrifying. This is, therefore, one of the most important aspects to discuss before your trip, as it can be a deal-breaker for some.
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