Travelling with friends - good idea or bad?

Last updated 12:12 12/09/2012

Travelling with another person is lovely, but I think if Piglet knew how to count higher than two, he would've substituted that number in his "it's so much friendlier..." quote with a larger digit. The world is such a huge place, and most of it is so far away from New Zealand, that to hang out with your friends on the other side of the planet is pretty exciting, don't you think? It's a big effort to get people's timing and budgets to align like that.  

Ted and I have spent five of our seven weeks in Europe with others and we have loved it. From London to Edinburgh to Barcelona to the south of France we've bantered, gaped at landmarks and shared meals with a rolling crew of awesome peeps.

PalsHave you travelled with your close mates as well? From what I've seen, backpacking either brings people together or drives them apart. I've never experienced it myself, but I've felt for the travel buddies who I've seen in hostels having vicious rows with one another.

Fortunately, everyone I've holidayed with has been on the same buzz - nothing calms down fractiousness in a group like a good laugh. Ours is always over stemming "hanger", that undesirable cross between hunger and anger. It's amazing how much calmer we all are when we keep our blood sugar levels on an even keel. Food is a crucial part of good intergroup relations.

And when you are well fed, there's a wicked group camaraderie on the road. Even my nemesis the travel day becomes fun. The longer the journey and the tireder you all become, the faster the smack talk flows. Try to explain to someone else after the fact why the flattening of four iPods and three laptops just as we were trying to look for directions was so hilarious...ah you just had to be there.

The other benefit of group holidays is that everything becomes so much cheaper. Individually we'd be taking the bus to our accommodation in a 10-bed dorm before cooking ourselves two-minute noodles for dinner. But with four people, it's equally affordable to rent a pimping apartment, hire a car and cook gourmet meals together (it helps that wine is only 3 euros a bottle).

FriendsAll this friend happiness is when you actually plan holidays with others. How amazing is it when you bump into someone somewhere completely random? I had the best night with a group of friends who unexpectedly walked into the pub I was drinking in in London. It was trippy. But even crazier are the stories from my other pals about how they saw someone they knew at the top of Machu Picchu or in the backblocks of Guatemala. What are the chances?

What are your travel tales with your mates? Who have you randomly bumped into in a strange country and have you ever fallen out with your friends on the road?

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4 comments
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Amber   #1   01:14 pm Sep 12 2012

No falling outs, just a couple of disagreements with the BF when we were living in Canada and were tripping around. But I used to work on yachts in the med and I was crossing the Atlantic from Florida to the Netherlands and we stopped to refuel in Bermuda.... walking down the dock and I run into a good mate of mine I hadn't seen in about 2 years - he was doing a crossing as well. Definately random and just shows how small the world can be sometimes!! Loving the blog.....

Lil Miss Trouble   #2   02:10 pm Sep 12 2012

I found travelliong with the BF hard work and we had heaps of fights, especially when in non english speaking countries. When we were with other friends things were fine though. It was a "more the merrier" kind of situation. We had some wicked new years in Dublin, Edinburgh and London and all with friends.

Totally agree on the group things being cheaper, we got good group discounts when seeing some of the touristy things and cooking was cheaper and less hassel as there was more people to share the load.

If I had the choice to holiday with a either just a partner or partner and friends id go for the group option every time.

LisaJ   #3   06:08 pm Sep 12 2012

I think it depends on your personality type. I prefer travelling in a duo and then schedule in some activities that you do apart.

I spent a week travelling with two mates and loathed it, I was so relieved when it was time for the second friend to leave.

AT   #4   04:21 pm Sep 13 2012

I think it depends on how compatible your "travel personalities" are. I am the type of person who likes to be places on time and doesn't like to keep others waiting, and if possible I'd like to know in advance that I have somewhere to sleep at night. I travelled to South East Asia with a friend who was more of a "she'll be right" sort of guy who said that the bus for Cambodia wouldn't leave until we arrived (it didn't, but everyone was waiting for us, which I HATED) and that we'd find perfectly fine accommodation on the day (we found accommodation but not necessarily "perfectly fine" and wasted hours looking for it). We used to be very good friends but we haven't spoken since we got back. It's been 10 years so that's unlikely to change now. We discovered exactly how different we were and the friendship ended as a result - not in a bad way, we just parted ways.

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