Traveling, while it can be good for the mind, body, and soul, may not always be the best for relationships. The unfamiliar surroundings, financial implications, potential for consequential mishaps and competing desires can cause even the strongest friendships to fizzle. The following factors are important to consider when trying to assess if planning a trip with your best friend will build memories or burn bridges.
Just like money is the biggest dividing factor in marriages that end in divorce, it can be the factor that ends a friendship on vacation as well. Planning and budgeting together as you approach your destination is essential, with frank, feelings-free conversations that place on the table what is and isn’t possible. Even when two travelers have a comparable income, differences in priorities may impact the decision-making. Some prefer to splurge on luxury hotels; others take the attitude that the hotel is for sleep and would rather spend hard-earned dollars on Michelin-star restaurants. Coming up with a plan for handling finances through apps like Splitwise will go a long way to maintaining a relationship.
Everybody needs the room to move at their own pace on vacation. Some folks rise with the sun, while others feel more energized into the evening. One friend may prefer a packed itinerary, while another needs more time to nap or change clothes throughout the day. Over time, these differences in approach to pacing a vacation’s speed can leave one person feeling resentful.
While sleepovers and sharing close quarters can be fondly remembered from childhood, the same circumstances in adulthood can cause tension and even ruin the vibe of an entire vacation. Many people see their bathroom rituals as an essential part of maintaining their sanity, requiring a clean space and perhaps extra time, while for others, claiming counter space for products or leaving things a bit untidy as a break from constant cleaning is part of what makes vacation feel relaxing. These two competing needs can cause clashes, especially when it bleeds over into other aspects of the trip.
All the planning in the world can’t necessarily answer questions of travel compatibility for you and your buddy. A great way to assess what kinds of needs may conflict or hurdles may arise is by taking a short weekend getaway with your intended travel partner before setting off on a two-week escapade. These trips can be low-stakes, but they don’t have to be low-fun. Practice planning, budgeting and exploring together before buying those big tickets.
This story was originally published August 1, 2022 9:00 AM.