Traveling With Friends Can Kill Friendships

Traveling can be stressful enough on its own!  Delayed flights, long waits at baggage claim, fatigued travelers and personal preferences are enough by themselves; add the dimension of traveling with friends, and you can have a recipe for disaster on your hands. Traveling With Friends Can Kill Friendships.


Let’s start with booking travel because this is where the headaches can begin for some. Deciding on a destination can be complex when multiple people are making the decision. Inevitably, someone is going to have to compromise unless you miraculously agree on all the details of travel.  I travel a lot with friends and lately it’s become a chore to plan these trips. One person says, “I don’t want to go to that place, I’ve been there 5 times now.” The other person says, “I’ve never been to this place, let’s go there.”  Another says, “That’s too far, let’s meet in the middle, how about we go here?”  That’s where the compromise begins.  Hopefully you’re not the one who is always making the compromises; if you are, you may want to look for a new group of travel friends.


Once you pick a destination, you have to book flights. If you’re traveling on miles, it’s unlikely that everyone in the group will have miles on the same airline, and if they do, it’s unlikely you’ll find enough frequent flyer seats on the same flight (depending on group size, of course.) If you book flights on your own, you’re counting on the fact that everyone else will book while there are still awards available.   If one person waits too long, there maybe no flights available and someone may end up staying home or laying out cash. Booking on your own also means you may end up on different flights, arriving at different times.  If one person runs into unexpected flight delays travel plans can be thrown off.

Hotel/accommodation booking can create all kinds of challenges for groups. Finding accommodations that meet everyone’s budget and taste can be tricky.  Sharing rooms can be great, or it can be down right awful. If you know the habits of the person you’re sharing a room with, then you’re much more likely to survive the trip. If you share with someone who has opposite habits or who doesn’t share your travel-style, you maybe in trouble.  If one person stays up late while the other likes to go right to sleep, that can lead to cranky roommates. Other things that can complicate rooming arrangements include: room temperature preferences, amount of light/dark needed for sleeping, chatty roommates, room design and more.



Perhaps the biggest threat to friendships are finances. Paying for travel can create challenges for the best of friends. When one person pays the deposits, they maybe left holding the bag if the other person backs out of the trip. Likewise, if one person backs out of a trip, or cancels last minute, the other person may be forced to spend twice as much as they had budgeted.   When paying for meals, entertainment, and activities, it’s easy to forget who paid last, how much they paid and who owes what.  No one wants to end the trip having laid out more money than planned.



Personally, I’ve had some really good, and some really bad experiences while traveling with friends.  Here’s some advice based on my experiences:

  • Keep an accounting of travel expenses so everyone pays their own share
  • Create an agreement before you travel about how you’ll make decisions (for example, does majority rule?)
  • Don’t eliminate travel companions just because you don’t have a lot in common – traveling with someone who has different points of view can introduce you to new adventures
  • Do make sure your roommate has similar habits so you’re comfortable with the rooming arrangements
  • Contact the hotel/accommodation ahead of time to ensure your preferences are available (double beds, multiple bathrooms, sleeper sofa, etc…)

In the end, make sure you try to have a good time and if you encounter problems, work them out, quickly! And, if you do find that a friend isn’t a great travel companion, look for new travel companions so you don’t ruin a friendship.

2 Comments on "Traveling With Friends Can Kill Friendships"

  1. Oh I know all too well that traveling with friends can ruffle feathers to put it nicely!
    A few yrs ago we traveled with a *friend* to Bike Week in Daytona (and then a week in Orlando). What a mess that trip became and it did my head it. He was the type of person/traveler that complained about EVERYTHING. I had booked the flights, hotels and car and bikes. My family had flown down to spend a few days with us and trying to treat us when going out for meals. My husband and I put a stop to it and started paying…but the thing that got under my skin..not once did he offer to pay..not even the tip! Now I could maybe understand if he was tight for money but the man makes ALOT of money so money is nothing to him..they way he blows money. Once we got to our vacation house, that I had spend hours looking thru various websites for, he complained his room and bathroom were not big enough (he had the 2nd biggest bedroom too). I had to keep biting my tongue as I didn’t want to ruin anyones vacation but in the end I told him off..needless to say I or my husband no longer speak to him any longer.

  2. Never again will I travel with a friend. We booked an apartment instead of a hotel. One of the rules was that you had to keep the noise levels down and respect the residents of the building. She insisted on having the TV turned up in the evenings and after drinking too much would become loud and boisterous. How lovely that I found out on this trip that she is an emotional drunk. In the morning after awaking with a hangover, it took her 2 hours to get ready to go out fussing over putting makeup and getting “today’s outfit” just right. With out going into detail, her behaviour at various points of the holiday provoked stares from other people. I was mortified on more than one occasion. She couldn’t go into a museum without being scolded by someone for not minding the distance from works of art or keeping her voice down in a church. I’ve been on short day excursions with this person which didn’t raise a flag, though the heavy makeup in retrospect is one! Travel can bring out certain behaviors in a person and negative idiosyncrasies are amplified. You just never know a person that well.

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