Travelling with friends is unquestionably an amazing experience and a rite of passage – who else would you want to share all those incredible memories with? Having said this, it can also put a lot of stress on your relationships… Chances are you don’t normally spend 2 or 3 weeks living in each others’ pockets 24/7, so when you add that to the inevitable interrail stress of catching trains at the right time, finding your way around new cities and navigating hostel dorm ettiquette, it’s not surprising things can sometimes get a little… tense. This is something we’ve experienced a lot of over the years, so we’ve put together some vital advice for getting through your travels with your friendships (and your sanity) intact.
You know when you’re really pissed off at your friend but you don’t want to make things awkward so you just let the resentment boil under the surface forever? And then you just passive aggresively bring it up every few minutes rather than actually discussing anything? Definitely don’t do that when you’re interrailing, unless you want to spend the first week building up to a supersized argument, and then dealing with the awkward fallout for the next few weeks…
If you’re not happy with how someone’s behaving or you feel like there’s a problem that needs discussing, address it openly from the start. There’s nothing like an elephant in the room to sponge the fun out of your travels, so do your whole group a favour and get it off your chest in a rational way before it becomes a massive fight. It might feel awkward at the time, but once you’ve sorted it out and moved on you’ll feel ten times better.
If you’re travelling in hostels, this is a great way to take the pressure off your relationships – especially if you’re travelling with friends in a small group. Spending that much time with one or two others is pretty intense, so finding new people to hang out with is a great way to diffuse the day to day stresses of travel, not to mention it’s what staying in hostels is all about! Your new friends will refresh your existing relationships and you’ll meet fascinating people from all over the world.
Just because you’re travelling together doesn’t mean you have to spend every waking hour together! If you’re travelling in a big group, let people split up and do different activities. Getting hung up on doing absolutely everything together will just cause conflict when the group disagrees – someone always ends up compromising and chances are they won’t be happy about it in the long run. Don’t resent anyone for wanting to ‘split up the group’ – you can’t keep everyone happy all the time – instead, just head your separate ways and meet up later on. The time apart will keep you from driving each other too crazy as well as meaning everyone gets a chance to see what they want.
At the end of the day, travelling in a group (or a couple for that matter) is always going to involve a bit of compromise. If you’re not totally into modern art/fish restauarants/whatever but everyone else wants to hit up the Centre Pompidou/Seafood bar/whatever, don’t be a dick about it. At the end of the day it’s not always up to you – if everyone else wants to go to something it’s not worth causing an argument just to get your own way. You’ll just piss everyone off and make things more difficult in future. No one wants to be remembered for how moody they were that time in Vondelpark… Suck it up, move on and you’ll get your chance next time.
You’d have to be a superhero (or just really sickeningly perfect) to make it through several weeks of travel without a few little fallouts – it’s part and parcel of backpacking with other people. But travelling is also an amazing opportunity to create incredible memories together, get away from worries back home and bring back some awesome stories. Don’t hold grudges and just let it go – most arguments will fade away pretty quickly in the grander scheme of things, giving you plenty of time to kick back, have a laugh and remember why you’re travelling together in the first place.
So that’s our two cents on travelling with friends – it’s never going to bee 100% smooth sailing but with a little bit of tolerance, a little perspective and plenty of laughs any friendship can survive the trials of interrailing and come out stronger than ever!
If not, there’s always alcohol….
Looking for a way to minimise stress while you’re travelling? Why not book your trip through us and get all hostels, trains, reservations and travel guide included – no tour busses or set itineries, just total freedom and none of the hassle. Check out our packages or create your own!