My friends and I have just booked up to go on holiday to Madrid this summer. I can’t wait to enjoy some quality time with my friends in this beautiful city. I have holidayed with this group of friends several times before and we’ve always had a fabulous time, but I know that’s not always the story for everyone. Holidaying with friends can definitely make or break a friendship, so I thought I would share a few of my top tips to ensure you return from holiday with your friendship still in-tact.
1) Pick the Right Travel Buddy
Travelling with anyone is a big step for your relationship, and you should really only choose to go on holiday with friends who you know you can get along with at your best – and your worst. Things don’t always run as planned on holiday and when your flight is delayed or you looked at the wrong bus time it’s easy to get stressed, and snappy. Choose to book a break with long-term friends who are already aware of some of your less-than-perfect personality traits…but still love you anyway.
2) Know What You Each Want From the Holiday
If you’re planning a blissful week of lying by the pool with a cocktail in hand, while one friend is already writing up her sightseeing itinerary and the other is scouting out the best all-night party haunts, chances are none of you are going to end up with the holiday you were hoping for. Decide from the start what type of destination you want to visit and what kind of activities you’re looking to do. If between the group you’re looking to do a mixture of sightseeing, relaxing and nightlife you might be able to find a destination that works for everyone, but if one of your friends is dreaming of an action-packed extreme sports weekend while you can’t so-much as ride a bike, you would probably be best holidaying separately.
3) Be Honest about Budgets
Money can often be a controversial topic to discuss, but if you’re planning a holiday with friends you really have to be up-front from the get-go about your budget for the cost of the holiday and spending money. Agree on a maximum amount you’re each willing to spend on the cost of the holiday and don’t start pushing destinations which are beyond one friend’s budget. You should also agree from the outset how you will be splitting bills at restaurants and bars – will you split the bill equally or will each person pay for their own? Deciding this in advance can prevent any arguments, and awkwardness, later down the line. You should also look to plan your break in advance to allow time to pay the full cost of the holiday in instalments – this means everyone has a fair amount of time to save money and you won’t need to chase anyone for their share.
4) Be Organised
Get the holiday off to a good start by ensuring you’re organised for your departure. Arrive at your meeting point in plenty of time; make sure to bring all your travel documents with you and keep them easy to access; weigh your luggage beforehand, and ensure you stick to any baggage restrictions. No-one wants to start off their holiday panicking as they wait on one friend who’s stuck in traffic while another is scrambling to find their passport. If everyone arrives prepared you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy a drink together in the airport bar and get into the holiday spirit.
5) Be Willing to Compromise
We all have different habits and routines, and while you and your best friend might love each other dearly you’re not necessarily going to agree on everything. Your idea of a holiday might mean sleeping until noon every day while your friend is up and eager to see the sights at 7am. One of you might want a restaurant meal for lunch and dinner, while the other might not have much of an appetite during the day. Try to find a compromise where possible – agree to go sightseeing with your friend one day with a slightly later start of 10am, in return they can let you sleep undisturbed until noon the next day while they enjoy some morning air. Try to establish a routine for a dinner time that suits you all and make sure to be ready to leave on time – if you don’t already know the meaning of ‘hangry’ you will do if you leave your friend and her rumbling tummy waiting for an hour while you decide which shoes to wear.
6) And Remember You Don’t Have to Spend Every Second Together
Spending quality time with your friends on holiday is part of what makes your break so special, but as close as you may be you don’t have to spend every waking moment of your holiday together. If there’s a museum that’s been on your bucket list for years that your friends couldn’t be less interested in, don’t be afraid to take an afternoon to visit it alone. Likewise if your friends have planned a daytrip and you really want to spend the day on a sun lounger with your latest novel, stay at your hotel and enjoy some relaxing alone time – then meet your friends again in the evening. If possible it’s also a good idea to book separate rooms, so that you each have somewhere private to chill at the end of the night. It also means no arguments about mess, alarms or sleeping habits.
7) Don’t be Afraid to Make a Decision
No-one wants to go on holiday with a dictator, but when no one in group will make a decision it can be just as frustrating. When deciding where to go on dinner or which boat trip to go on, speak up with some suggestions – if everyone maintains that they’re ‘happy with whatever’ you’ll spend a lot more time in your hotel room deciding where to go than checking out some of the venues that you thought looked really great.
8) Most of All, Have Fun
Wake up and smell the pina coladas! You’re on holiday in a beautiful and exciting location with your best friends who you no doubt see much less often than you would like. So it doesn’t really matter if one friend was five minutes late for dinner or another paid a euro less for the round of drinks. Let it go and enjoy an amazing time exploring and relaxing with your best friends – the holiday will fly by before you know it and when you get back to reality it will be the good times together that you’ll hold onto.