My life wish list and travel wish list have one thing in common – ‘Travel With The BFF’ is scribbled on both in capital letters. That’s how much I’ve wanted to travel my best female friend(s) since… forever.
I prefer to travel solo most times but I’ll never say no to an occasional trip if the company is good. And who can be better company than your BFF (best friend forever/best female friend) who has known you and your eccentricities for a few (if not several!) years. I’ve managed to travel with both my BFFs in the past two years – a trip to Kerala with one and a journey to Sri Lanka with the other. We’ve rediscovered our friendship, learned more about the other and… the list is long.
The ‘Travel with BFF’ phenomenon does not come without some stress. On the positive note, a trip with the BFF is one you can let your hair down, be your crazy self and not face a moment of awkwardness (a usual occurrence for an introvert like me). On the flip side, the trip could create differences over something as trivial as bathroom sharing! And there goes your lifetime friendship out of the window!
Here are a few tips from my personal experience to help you plan the best BFF trip.
- Destination decision – Be wise and practical when choosing the destination. Planning the trip was a breeze for A and me with both of us being on the same page with regard to travel interests and budget. With Sri Lanka on our mind, it took bare minimum time, effort and coordination to plan the perfect itinerary to suit both our interests. When choosing a destination for the BFF trip, opt for a place that has a variety of things to offer so that neither you nor your friend feels short-changed.
- Communication Is Key – This may sound like the title of a corporate communication workshop but you can’t deny its importance. A and I made it a point to frequently discuss different aspects of the travel or even share our excitement about minor developments like shopping for the trip! Discussing the dos and don’ts before setting out is always wiser. It also helps set the tone for the trip.
- Divide responsibilities – Dumping all travel responsibilities on one person is an absolute no. Nothing is more annoying than bearing the burden of a trip – from planning hotels to booking tickets and handling the budget – through the length of a trip. Divide the workload to make it fun. For example, while A took charge of booking both our tickets to Sri Lanka and verifying accommodation details, I took charge of making a list of places we wanted to include in our itinerary.
- Be each other’s support system – From medicine reminders to checking on each other’s important documents and giving emotional support – travelling with your friend(s) means being alert and aware to their needs too. With A being the mother of two, there were times during the Sri Lanka trip when she would be hit with feelings of homesickness, missing her babies. And there were times when I was dealing with severe mood swings owing to the dreaded PMS. But I believe both of us got through these crabby times owing to the other’s support.
- Give each other space – Supporting does not mean you have to live in each other’s pockets! There has to be a tacit understanding that as adults, you’ve found different ways to unwind and these need not be similar to your friend’s. Communicate the need for personal space and respect it when your friend seeks some. During the trip to Munnar, I would unwind by watching random videos on my phone while R preferred to read or write. And we let the other be.
- Keep track of expenses – Several relations have bitten the dust when it comes to money matters. Don’t let your friendship fall prey to the same. Figure out a way to handle expenses. You could let one person bear all expenses for the trip and pay them back. Or keep track through the trip of expenses incurred – A was in charge of expenses during our trip to Sri Lanka. She would regularly note down details and all we had to do at the end of the trip was balance the expenses.
- Don’t make money the focus –Budgeting and keeping track of expenses set aside, don’t be counting every single penny! No one likes it and the nagging could easily lead to disgruntlement. It is likely you may lose track of a few pennies here or there, don’t make an issue out of it. Also, before you travel have a conversation about your individual budgets to avoid unpleasant discussions during the trip.
- Be flexible – The ability to adapt to people and situations is one that will help you at all times. Travelling solo requires you to adjust while travelling with another individual needs you to compromise – at times. Understand when you need to be flexible and when you need to take a stand. For instance, being a non-vegetarian, I love to enjoy different meat and fish preparations when travelling. But A is a vegetarian. We found our balance by ordering one portion of non-vegetarian food for me and sharing an otherwise vegetarian meal. It’s about being flexible.
- Accept your mistake, apologise, move on – Even the best of friends will irritate each other. Sleepy, stressed and hungry, A and I more often than not snapped at the other but we made it a point to talk it out and apologise at a later stage. It’s okay to err. What matters is that you make up!
- Remember why you are together! There may be times when the going will be tough. But before you blast your BFF out of the planet, think about all the reasons why you are besties! There is a reason why you may be feeling irked or your friend may be feeling crabby so take a break from each other at that point in time rather than making it forever!