How to Plan a Trip with a Friend

If you’ve never travelled before, of if you’ve only travelled with a school group or your family, planning a trip for yourself can be a daunting task. The summer after my first year, a friend and I decided to take 5 weeks of our summer holidays and backpack around France, Italy, and Greece. I was lucky enough to travel quite a bit growing up, but I still found that there were a lot of new learning experiences that I had never encountered before. My biggest takeaway from travelling is that you really can figure out anything eventually. That being said, it can make a trip a lot smoother if you’re able to prepare by doing the following things.

 

 

Before the Trip:

Talk about your deal-breakers

 

 

Whether it’s the accommodation you’re staying in or the sites you want to see, everyone has something that will either make or break a trip for them. When my friend and I planned our trip, we decided on the main places we wanted to go and the types of places we wanted to stay. We each had our say in a few places that we just had to visit. Then we each did separate research and came to a conclusion together on which hostels and Airbnbs we would stay at and what we would be doing at each stop. We found that looking up pre-made travel itineraries from sites like Nomadic Matt, Rick Steves, and Lonely Planet was super helpful!

 

Talk about your budget

No one likes talking money, but trust me: it’s worth it in the long run. Be open about how much you can and want to spend BEFORE you leave. Really, the sooner into the planning process, the better. You don’t want to end up feeling awkward if your budget doesn’t allow for something the other was really looking forward to. For my personal budgeting, I found it beneficial to have a daily spending limit (depending on that day’s activities) and to track what I was spending each day. This way, nothing took me by surprise.

 

Talk about your food

 

Like your budget, having the same food expectations can save you a lot of stress. Thankfully, both my friend and I were vegetarian and had similar eating habits. If this isn’t the case for you, you can still plan around it, but it’s a lot easier if you’ve planned for this before you board the plane. Setting mutual expectations is important; you’re going to be spending all of your meals together, so you want to make sure you both know what you’re getting into. Are you planning on going out for every meal, or cooking for yourself? Do you want to eat separate meals, or will you be shopping for two? Try to find the answers to these questions before you’re both starving in a foreign country.

 

Talk about logistics

Just taking a couple hours in your planning stage to talk through some logistics can save you a lot of hours later on. For example, I was only 18 on my trip, so I didn’t have my own credit card. We agreed that we could both use my friend’s credit card and I would pay her back with e-Transfers during our trip. We also decided to split the cost of a phone plan overseas and came up with a system that would allow us both to text and call when we needed, while saving ourselves a bit of money.

 

During the Trip

Checking in and supporting each other

Although travelling can be super fun and exciting, there can also be some stressful moments. If you’re feeling homesick or overwhelmed, it can be really nice to have a friendly face to make you feel better. When you travel, you spend a lot of time together, day and night. It’s important to remember that you’re a team, and that you’re on each other’s sides! Make sure you’re always communicating with each other, rather than letting any bottled up feelings come out at a less than opportune time.

 

Keeping a journal

One thing I always do when I travel is keep some sort of written record of the trip; it is so nice to look back on these memories, and it has made me remember my trips so much better. It doesn’t have to be a big, long essay, either. When my friend and I travelled, we just kept quick logs of what we did, saw, and experienced each day on the notes apps in our phones. It was even fun every evening to look back on the day and remember all that we’d done. We’d take turns writing them or write them together, and by the end of the trip, we both had a simple journal of our 5-week adventure.

 

 

Travelling can be amazing in so many ways: it helps you broaden your worldview, can give you some relaxation, and can just be a bunch of fun! Keeping some of these things in mind can let you focus on how great your trip is, rather than getting caught up on the little things. So, where are you going to travel next?