At twenty-two, my best friend and I decided to travel through western Europe together for seven weeks by train. It was the most incredibly eye-opening experience of my life, and I highly recommend this to anyone.
Around week five, we arrived late at night in Amsterdam after a grueling day of travel. We checked into our hostel only to find that the place was inhabitable. My friend flat out refused to stay the night, but I argued that we couldn’t afford to get a hotel so late and on budget. So, naturally, we fought: tired, hungry, homesick, and probably even a little sick of each other.
One of us even suggested that we stop speaking for a little bit, walk to the nearest bar and have a beer. We would resume our conversation, but only after the beer. We did exactly this. Halfway through the friendship-saving beverage, we looked at each other and laughed uncontrollably. The whole situation suddenly seemed hilarious. We met in the middle: we slept at the hostel, fully clothed on top of the bed, and booked a hotel the next day.
And from this, I’ve distilled my list of tips for traveling with your best friend:
1. MEET IN THE MIDDLE
There is a lot to be done and a lot to see and you will have to make some compromises along the way, if you feel yourself in a bind, be the one that decides to meet in the middle.
2. TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF
Just because you are traveling together doesn’t make you are joined at the hip. Every once in awhile you should do something on your own, even if it means just sitting at separate tables for coffee while you journal. Built-in solitude is essential.
3. PLAY INTO YOUR STRENGTHS
You are a team, so be a team. When my vina and I were traveling, we learned pretty quick that I was good at navigating transportation and she was really good at handling currencies. While it shouldn’t become your sole responsibility, it’s nice to know who has the reins and when.
4. TAKE PHOTOS OF EACH OTHER.
It’s really awesome to have pictures of your adventure when your travels are over. Make an effort to be each other’s personal photog, and let it be an equal effort. Also, take a selfies that you’re both in (brownie points for silly faces).
5. FIND COMFORT IN SILENCE.
There was something about the silence that calmed us down and let us think about the other’s perspective. A vacation is a long time to talk nonstop, so find a comfortable silence in between the exciting moments.
Be together, be present, and be a team. And most of all, enjoy the adventure!
(Featured image via hellosociety.com)