When backpacking it can be hard to find the ‘perfect travel buddy’. However if your travel partner is your bestie, is there a chance your friendship could be ruined once you hit the road? Intrepid explorer and Europe Backpacker writer Laura Bushby tells all…
I have been on the road with my best friend for two months now and we are constantly being asked by people in hostels and back home if we are still getting along or if we’ve had any fallings out. The honest truth is that, we haven’t! Sometimes moments are tense but we’ve found that food or sleep can usually resolve the situation! Here are our top tips for backpacking with your best friend, and how to keep your friendship strong on the road…
1. Be Decisive
Lots of decisions need to be made when backpacking. What do you want for dinner? How many nights should we stay here? What time bus do we want to get? Being indecisive wastes time and can become frustrating when you are trying to make plans. Coming up with a decision making plan is one way to avoid conflict. One person can be in charge of finding a hostel for a few nights and the other can be in charge of deciding what time they should get there. Or take it in turns to make decisions! This makes the admin and booking process shorter and simpler, making it quicker and less stressful, leaving you with more time to explore and adventure the place that you are in.
2. Make Friends
When staying in hostels or dorms you are constantly surrounded by backpackers like yourselves. Socialising and talking to other backpackers in the hostel means that you and your bestie aren’t spending every hour of every day together. Making new friends and sharing backpacking experiences with other people not only means that you socialise with more than one person, but it also means that you can meet people from all over the world! You can share your best and worst experiences on the road and give (and take!) advice on where the hot spots are for backpackers. This allows you and your bestie to talk to and hang out with other backpackers, giving each other a little time out. Obviously there are times when you will just want it to be the two of you, but having the option of socialising with other people is a great tool to avoid overdosing on each other!
3. Be Open Minded and Flexible
You’ve invested a lot of money in the trip. You’ve got dreams and hopes and plans, no doubt! But when you’re travelling with your bestie it’s not all about you. You will need to keep their dreams and hopes and plans in mind too!
It’s inevitable that there will be moments when you won’t agree with everything, however it’s important to keep a level head and keep your mind open to your besties options and ideas. Be flexible with your times and dates so you both can fit in activities that you both want to do. The “my way or the highway” attitude won’t fly overseas and you and your bestie will end up bickering about what you want to do – which will affect your relations and potentially ruin your trip. If you are open minded to suggestions and new activities, then you can experience new things together and the chances are that you might even enjoy some of them!
4. Take Time Out
It’s always good to have some down time to yourself. It can be hard when you’re staying in a dorm room full of people and being with your travel buddy 24/7. But if you find some time after a day of activity to have a moment to yourself, it will help to keep both of you sane. Just lay in your bunk, plug in your music, or stream a tv show just to have some piece and quiet to yourself.
Along the way you might want to do something that your bestie doesn’t, so remember that spending a day or two apart can be healthy for the friendship. You’re not joined at the hip! It also gives you sometime alone to realise that you do in fact miss and enjoy their company. It’s also handy to know and be able to recognise when your travel buddy needs to be alone. If you have known each other for a while then you should be able to tell by reading their body language. Remember that in a couple hours it will all be back to normal and you’ll be laughing about your crazy antics in no time…
5. Maintain High Spirits
European summers can be hot, and European winters can be extremely cold. No doubt at some points you will find yourself in a difficult situation – such as finding a bus stop or walking to your hostel rocking your double backpack. In these times of stress and uncomfort, it is always best to maintain high spirits and have a happy head space. If you have a negative head space then you may start to become rattled and start bickering with your travel buddy. There may be sweat dripping from your knees as you are are trekking the streets to find that tiny hostel sign, but you must remember that your travel bud is in the same situation, so there’s no point complaining!
Our top tips for maintaining high spirits? Keep some sugar within arms reach – a snickers bar, some jelly cubes, whatever your poison may be. Keeping hydrated is also key, so make sure you have some water to cool you down and to keep you hydrated. And the biggest tip to maintaining high spirits is to remember that you are backpacking in Europe with one of your favourite people in the world! The hard times will soon be over and the best ones are yet to come.
With a combination of these tips and tricks, keep your friendship alive and enjoy your trip of a lifetime!
This article was written by Kiwi graduate Laura Bushby, who is currently running away from adulthood by backpacking her way around Europe! She writes honest and light hearted travel posts on her blog, Mingas on Tour.