Travelling with another woman can make the experience more enjoyable than travelling solo. You have someone to share all the exciting experiences with, someone to laugh with when things go wrong and someone to be there if you find yourself being accosted by unwanted advances. So here are some tips that will help you prepare for travelling with another woman. There are a few things you need to take into account to make sure your trip is a pleasant experience.
Have you had enough of solo travel? Perhaps you feel like it’s time to join forces with a friend, or with a group of friends, to add an extra element to your travels. This can be incredibly rewarding, but in a very different way to single travel. If you get it right, it will cement your friendships and give you plenty of shared experiences and comical stories to keep you chatting and laughing into your old age.
Paula and I first met in 1996 and we travelled together to Europe after only knowing each other for a few months. We knew very little about each other , likes or dislikes – only that we both wanted to travel. So we planned a holiday and had such a great time that we have since travelled extensively to the US China, Thailand, around Australia and we are off again to the US and Europe. We were lucky because we found that we have the same interests.
Not everyone is this lucky, I have known of best friends who have travelled together and never spoken to each other again on their return.
However, Group travel can be a golden time, especially if you bear our top ten tips in mind.
1. Make sure you’re good friends first!
When a woman goes travelling with her significant other, everyone tells them it will be ‘make or break’. That’s because travelling together is a real test of any relationship. And the truth is, it’s no different whether you’re talking about a romance or a friendship – both can be pushed to breaking point during the course of an overseas trip.
Ask yourself: have you ever travelled with this friend or group of friends before? Chances are, you know how to meet them for coffee, go out for the night or head to the gym together. But none of this is real preparation for travelling together – a very different sort of shared experience. There are less rules and fewer social conventions in place to determine how you should behave and interact. Make sure you really do get on well and that you have the same sort of goals and approaches to life and travel. If you feel you have a strong relationship from the start, then you should sail over any bumps in the road.
2. Pick the right kind of trip
Some trips are perfect for solo travel. When I visited Florence on a weekend break, there was no one else I knew who would be interested in seeing all the Renaissance art on show – not my boyfriend, not my parents, and certainly not any of my friends. Unless you and your friend have a shared passion for a particular thing, this kind of sightseeing-based holiday isn’t ideal for groups of friends to undertake. Alone, I was constantly busy, visited everywhere I had planned to, and took my time to soak up all the attractions. With a friend in tow, I would’ve been diverted to shopping malls every five minutes and we’d have stopped for coffee so much that I would never have seen everything I wanted to see.
With groups of friends, it’s even harder. Trying to keep everyone happy is a tough game to play, and trips that involve lots of sightseeing and moving around will only result in the group losing each other every five minutes. If you’re constantly looking for places to stop, eat and drink, this will also be more difficult. The best group holidays run from a fixed base, with options of what to do, so that everyone can organise themselves as they wish. Chalet-based ski holidays, or renting a villa or house, are fantastic for this.
3. Align your budgets
There’s nothing worse than getting to a destination with a friend and realising one of you has twice as much to spend as the other one. Unlike couples in a romantic relationship, friends are much less likely to talk about money on a regular basis to each other. For example, I don’t have a clue how much any of my best friends earn.
If you are going to travel together, you need to sit down early on during the planning stages and get honest about your finances. Money is such a big issue that if your budgets are wildly different, then it might even be worth reconsidering whether you should travel together at all! Otherwise, one person will be annoyed that they’re sat in another burger chain rather than the nice restaurant up the road, and the other will be sat there feeling guilty and annoyed that they’re eating out at all instead of just heating up a can of beans in the apartment kitchen!
Do your planning together and work out roughly how much you have to spend on key things such as transport, food and sightseeing. If someone has more cash to splash than the other, then perhaps they can happily spend it on ‘extras’ such as souvenirs, snacks or room upgrades. However you plan it, if you know from the start what the deal is, things should work out fine.
4. Pack together
You get to your destination and make the slog to your room. Exhausted from the long journey, you put down your bags on the bed. First problem: the lights in the bathroom don’t work. Right, you ask, who brought the flash light? You both look at each other in confusion. That’s right, neither of you brought one. Later on, you realise you both packed an expensive solar battery charger each. Not ideal, is it?
Start as you mean to go on and sit down to write your packing list together, or at least create one via email. Some things you could get away with only having one of – just one of the cases in which it’s better to travel with someone else than on your own. Decide who is going to bring what and stick to it.
5. Reveal some secrets
Some friends are very lucky: they’ve grown up together and know everything there is to know about their best mate. The rest of us don’t have friendships that are quite this close. Particularly if you’ve never lived together, how could you have any idea about your friend’s bad habits, and how would they know about yours? Let’s face it, when you meet up after work for a drink or for dinner, you’re both on your best behaviour most of the time.
If you’ve lived together at any point, you’ll probably have a better sense of what you find irritating about your friend. Perhaps you know how rarely she washes up, how fussy she can be about food, or how disorganised she is with everything. If these things annoy you now, then it will only multiply when you’re sharing a room and every hour of the day and night.
One fun idea is to sit down and play a game before you go. Take some slips of paper and a pen and each write down two truths and one lie about yourself. Then swap these with your friend and get them to guess which is the lie. This game can go on for as long as you like and you can use it to reveal bad habits and hang-ups that each of you have before you jet off together.
6. Spend time apart
This is your holiday. You shouldn’t compromise too much, otherwise you’ll simply end up resenting your friend for wanting to get an ice cream when you really wanted to watch the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. It’s okay to do different things: get that into your head from the start. Yes, you’re going on holiday together, but spending time doing what you want to do is essentially more important.
There are different ways of doing it. Maybe you and your friend will choose to spend two hours apart every afternoon of the trip. And that time apart might be as simple as lying on opposite sides of the pool and reading a book quietly! On a longer trip, the definition of ‘spending time apart’ might be heading to completely different destinations for a week or so and arranging to meet up in the next city. Just make sure that you have ways of getting in touch with each other before you split up, and make your reunion plans clear from the start.
7. Plan to succeed
Sometimes, one person is a natural planner, whereas the other person will just want to turn up and explore whatever falls in their path. Even if neither of you are that keen on researching the trip beforehand, it’s a good idea to sit down a few times and talk about the holiday. At the very least, create a list together of the things each of you want to see and do, from the little things, right up to the blow-out adventures. This way you’ll know what to expect from the other person during your travels.
It’s likely that a certain amount of planning will need to be done. Maybe you’ll need to visit a travel clinic beforehand for jabs, or you need to book a hotel for the first night or two. Share these tasks out and monitor each other to ensure it gets done. Take into account your own strengths and weaknesses. If you know you’re not very organised, you shouldn’t only make a concerted effort to do better, but perhaps ought to take on some of the less time-essential tasks.
8. Have a goal in mind
One great tip is to each decide upon a goal – what you want to get out of the trip – before you leave. Maybe yours will be to do some charity work, try rock climbing for the first time, or even just to get a fantastic tan. Whatever it is, if you choose a single thing beforehand and share it with your travelling partner or group of friends, then you should all commit to helping each person achieve what they want to get out of the holiday. If everyone can come home and say “yes, I did that thing I really wanted to do”, then it’s a pretty clear indicator that the trip has been a success.
9. Rules for romance
Have an honest chat with your female friend before you leave about the topic of romance. Perhaps neither of you are on the lookout for love, but if you’re both single then it might be that one or both of you is hoping for a little holiday romance. And there’s nothing wrong with this, but chances are you’ll be together most of the time. How will you know if your friend is keen on somebody? What will happen if you both take a fancy to the same person? Will she mind if you want to ‘borrow’ the room for the evening? Although it might be a bit embarrassing, chat about these things before you go will clear the air of any confusion.
And are you planning to travel with a male friend? Well, just be clear in your own mind from the start where the boundaries are. If you’ve been secretly lusting after him for years and think that your forthcoming trip is going to be where the sparks finally fly, then you probably shouldn’t be going on the trip together at all.
10. Have an after party!
On the journey home (unless it went terribly wrong and you never want to see each other again!), why not think about organising a get together in one or two week’s time? After spending all of that time together, it will probably be strange not to be living in each other’s pockets, and it will give you a set time and day to meet up and talk about the trip.
This is a particularly good idea if a group of you have been travelling together, as it’s a great opportunity to sort out any unpaid bills, return lost property to other people in the group and exchange photos of videos of your holiday. If it’s likely you’ll travel with your companions again, this post-holiday catch-up can be ideally used as an informal ‘debrief’. You can all have the chance to suggest what went right and laugh about what went wrong, and whether through subtle hints or open honesty, reveal whether you would travel with each other again.