This past summer I spent two months backpacking around Western Europe with my best friend. And by “best friend”, I more so mean my non-biological sister. To be clear here, we are talking forced together at birth by our mothers (who are also best friends), spending Christmas Eves together, being brutally honest with one another, scream fighting and making up ten minutes later with no boundaries and no filters, kind of best friends. But we love each other endlessly. So, who better to experience your first backpacking trip with, right? Now, to clarify, I had the time of my life, and I am a huge advocate for travel, especially with friends. However, my best friend and I learned a few crucial things or two that I would like to share with you. So, without further adieu, I leave you with my list of things to do before you, your backpack, and your best friend begin any adventure.
1. Discuss your budgets and financial situations:
This is crucial… Although it can be a personal and challenging discussion to have, it is essential to know where the other person is at concerning finances. This could make or break what you both will or will not be able to do on your trip. It is best to go with someone who is willing or able to spend around the same amount as you.
2. Make your expectations clear:
Be upfront with each other right off the bat and explain all of your expectations. This way, you won’t be shocked when you take your leap across the pond and realize that your friend wants to shop and lay on beaches, while maybe you primarily want to sight-see. In my situation, my best friend and I each started by writing down our top five destinations and our top five to-do activities or sights to see. Then, we were better able to understand what we each other wanted the most out of our trip.
3. Compromise, but not too much:
When travelling with another person, it is good first to be aware that this consists of compromises. It is important to remember that this is not only a big trip for you, but for your friend as well. If you have a limited amount of time, you, unfortunately, may not both be able to do absolutely everything you had wanted.
4. Understand that this means you could be together almost 24 hours per day:
I’m serious. This is important. If you are planning to travel with a friend that you find yourself struggling at times to see eye to eye with, then I hate to break it to you, but travelling together might not be best idea. It is crucial to choose someone who you are you comfortable with because there a lot of aspects of travelling that tend to be uncomfortable, intimate, and very up close and personal.
5. Take time for yourself
This is essential. You will be spending more time with your travel partner than most married couples spend together during this time. Therefore, it will inevitably be a bit much at times. I highly recommend that you each take a day every so often to do something by yourself that maybe your travel partner doesn’t want to do. Not only is it a nice break and essential to allow yourself some time alone, but it also allows you to see your destination in a different light; you may find yourself more appreciative and aware of your surroundings.