I Went Across the Country With my BFF and Here's What I Learned

Do you remember the first time you had to choose a roommate? Your parents would say, "don't room with your best friend!" and when you asked why, they'd tell you that living together would ruin your friendship... remember that? I never understood that. But I got a glimpse of what they meant over spring break this year. Here's how it went down: Simon tagged along on my typical spring break trip to LA this year and everything was going great. (Except for the three days of rain while we were there... *eye roll*) We got to LA on Monday morning and were staying through Sunday afternoon, but by the time Friday night rolled around, Simon and I were ready to kill each other. 

"Oh my GOD you breathe so loud!"

"Can you stop chewing like that, PLEASE!?"

These were uttered both under my breath and very loudly by me multiple times. But, seeing as Simon and I both made it back alive and uninjured, I feel at least a little bit qualified to give out advice on how to make a cross-country trip with your best friend without killing them. And, for good measure, I'll throw in some reasons on why you should take a vacation with friends. Gotta keep the balance alive, right?

4 things you can do to insure you and your BFF don't kill each other during vacation:

1. When you're looking for lodging, whether it be a hotel, a hostel or an Air BnB, make sure you choose something with space! Simon and I stayed in a guesthouse through Air BnB, and it seemed great on paper. It was affordable and in a great location. BUT. There was only one bedroom and only one bed. Bad move on our part, so learn from that. Don't do what we did. Make sure you each have your own space. It doesn't even need to be separate bedrooms. Our guesthouse didn't really have a sitting area, so when we were there, we were both in the bedroom. No matter how much you love your bestie, you will get annoyed eventually. Their feet will touch you and you'll want to scream. Trust me on this one. 

2. Plan your activities ahead. Simon and I didn't have to worry about this as much, but if you're taking a trip with someone to a place neither one of you have ever been, you'll need to plan you days ahead of time. Pick out places you both want to go and do that first. Once you hit all of those spots, alternate. Simon had never been to LA before, so I was pretty much down for whatever he wanted to do. For example, Simon wanted to go to LACMA (the Los Angeles County Museum of Art) and I'd been before. I told him I didn't mind going again, but I didn't want to waste a sunny LA day on it. Compromise? We went while it rained. Everyone was happy. 

*Sidenote: if you are planning a trip to LA, you should go to LACMA! Not only is it the site of the urban lights (every Instagrammer's dream), they have rotating exhibits of all kinds of art! And you get a student discount. And if you're really lucky, you may hit them on a free day and not have to pay to get inside. WIN!

3. Pick places to eat that everyone will like. You guys. I don't get why I need to say this, but I feel like I do. When it comes to meals, people are creatures of habit. You don't stray from what you like very often, especially on vacations. For someone like me whose been to LA multiple times, I already knew what restaurants I liked and wanted to go to. However, Simon was the new kid, so I wanted him to be able to pick places he wanted to go. And it worked out really well for us. We tended to do lunch at places I know and love, and then dinner somewhere new. We even did Postmates a couple of nights and we both got to choose whatever we wanted. Just make sure everyone is happy with restaurant choices. It's that simple.

4. Do something alone. You heard me. For me, it was hiking at Griffith Park in the mornings. I'd leave early (Simon was still asleep) and take an hour to myself. Hiking in LA is one of my favorite things to do, and our Air BnB was super close to Griffith, so this was perfect. I'd do a quick hike, grab some coffee and then go back. When traveling with friends, I think it's important to take 30 minutes to an hour (maybe more depending on the situation) each day to yourselves. Odds are, you all have different interests. Use those in your alone time. Maybe one of you really likes to run and the other would prefer to people watch at a cafe. Perfect. Do that. I promise, it helps. 

And now that I've talked about how to go on vacation and not kill your BFF, let's talk about why you should go on a vacation with them. 

4 reasons you SHOULD take a vacation with your BFF:

1. You always have a built-in photographer. No more asking random people on the street to take a picture of you and that cool wall-art on Melrose! Make your friend take 100 shots of you, and then you do the same for them. Everyone wins. And everyone comes back with a more impressive Instagram account. The only downside? While you'll have lots of great pics of yourself, you may not have many with both of you in them. That's what happened to us... so maybe some awkward moments with strangers holding your phone is necessary, but at least it's not as often, right?

2. Simon hates to shop with me. I'm the person who can spend hours upon of hours in a mall no problem. And when I go on vacation, I tend to throw money around like I have money to throw around. It's a problem. BUT. Since Simon was there with me, I didn't go as crazy. Ok, you know what, that's probably not true because I just looked at my bank account, but I definitely thought about the money I was spending more that I usually do. There was no unconscious swiping of the credit card. Mostly because Simon was there saying, "you're spending THAT MUCH on some overalls?" Yes, Simon. I am. But those moments of hesitation probably ended up saving me around $100... Simon was great at reminding me that I didn't need the same tank top in four different colors. Moral of this story: they'll give you a look when you try to spend too much money and you'll put the shirt back. 

*Addition to number 2: When you do force them to shop (like I did with Simon), you have someone to tell you how good you look when you're trying on new clothes. That or they'll tell you that those jeans make your ass look horrible. t's like having your own Stacy London following you around. The one who hates shopping gets to sit and judge you, and you get new clothes. Everyone wins!

3. They'll make you try new things. Taking Simon to LA was great because I didn't do the same things I usually do. I did new things, some of them things I probably wouldn't have done if I was by myself. For us? Thrift shopping. I despise it. I'm not patient enough to dig through the mess to *maybe* find one good shirt. But this time, I did. Because Simon loves thrifting and he's good at it. And if you're going to thrift shop, is there a better place than LA to do it? I don't think so. The best part? I found a brand new Banana Republic top and only paid $6 for it. 

4. You'll have someone to split the bill with. All the bills, really. Remember the third way to insure you don't kill them? About eating out? Yeah, that works here, too. Vacationing with your BFF means you can order an appetizer and entree and then share them. AND SHARE THE BILL. It's great. And the roughly $15-$20 you'll save (LA is expensive, ok?) will add up quickly. But it's not just food. It's Ubers and Lyfts. It's hotels. It's anything you do that doesn't require individual tickets, in which case, you probably set aside money anyway. 

And there you have it. I'm sure there are more reasons I could've mentioned in both categories, but I think I hit the big ones. At least, I know I hit the big ones that Simon and I ran across. So, next time you plan a big trip with a friend (or friends!), make sure you remember this article. You want to come back from vacation still being BFFs. 

*All photos provided by Jordyn Rowland