traveling in twos

Being apprehensive about solo travel, taking fewer family trips with mom and dad, or disagreements that can happen amongst larger groups are all potential reasons why we might be prevented from going on a trip. For those of us who are inclined to travel but don’t like to go it alone, there remains still another solution: traveling in a pair. Insert best friend or sister as a traveling companion here.

My sister and I are currently getting ready for our own road trip set to take place in a few days. We’ll face challenges like planning our route and the insanity of being in a car together for 12 hours straight. She and I are about as different as night and day (literally – she’s a night owl and I’m a morning bird), so we are preparing now, both mentally and physically, to ensure an enjoyable 10 days in Utah.

Traveling with another person is a blessing that you both can tell stories about later on. She will be your confidant, bodyguard and companion during the trip, and vice versa. That said, there will also be unavoidable bumps in the road, but no obstacle should ever ruin a trip or a friendship, for that matter. So here are a few suggestions to keep in mind if you plan to head out exploring with another.

Plan and Prepare
Once you and your companion have decided to travel together, agree on where to go and how to get there. Decide whether you are going for relaxation or adventure, luxury or modesty, and then plan from there. This can become challenging if you both expect something different from a trip, but it is also the perfect opportunity to exercise compromise. She wants to lounge by the pool, but you want to experience the culture? Do both. Spend the morning interacting with the locals, and the afternoon flaunting your new swim suit. Never let the trip become one sided.

Save Accordingly
There are three simple words to remember when doing anything: respect the budget. Everyone’s situation is different, so decide on a dollar amount and stick to it. If an opportunity arises but it requires deviation from the budget, discuss and decide first if it is worth the extra cash – there is always a way to stretch your money. The easiest way to ensure savings is to eat out as little as possible. This is the strategy my sister and I have decided to implement. Instead, we will buy food at markets along the way and keep it in an ice chest or hotel refrigerators. (This also helps to avoid the temptation of unhealthy or fast food.)

She wants to lounge by the pool, but you want to experience the culture? Do both … never let the trip become one sided.

Keep Calm, and Talk It Out
This the biggest challenge for my sister and I (and probably for you too). We become annoyed and angry with each other after only one full day together, so how will we possibly make it through 10? If you worry over the same thing, do what we did and agree to be honest about everything. Tell her when you are enjoying something and when you aren’t. We all assume that our feelings are obvious to the ones we love, but sometimes they need help gauging our emotions. Just remember to share a genuine joy about the trip after venting out frustrations. There is nothing worse than turning the cloud over your head into a storm between you both. Add that silver lining where you can.

Living Together
Whether you’re staying in a hotel room, tent, or at a mutual friend’s house, there are three things you’ll never think about until they happen: eating, sleeping and bathroom habits. All of these can greatly affect our mood, so make sure that you do everything in your power to protect these three necessities. The place you’re staying at could be noisy or too bright, so to prevent sleepless nights pack earplugs and an eye-mask, just in case. Also, consider how long you both take to get ready. Tell her when you plan on freshening up, because there is nothing worse than being late for a tour because you both fought for the mirror.

Time For Yourself
Turn downtime into “your-time.” Just because you are traveling together doesn’t mean that you have to be adjoined at the hip. I plan to turn my daily exercise into a time of solitude, but there are many other ways of finding your own personal space. You both will benefit from some time apart.

Although traveling as a pair might restrict your freedom a bit, remember that you’re bringing along a friend to share experiences and make memories with. My sister and I know that we’ll have a few fights along the way, but we also know that our relationship will grow in ways that it hasn’t been able to before.

Have you travelled with a friend? How did your relationship grow?

Image via Teal Thomsen


  1. My best friend and I are planning our first solo trip together in Thailand! Growing up in Singapore, we still have a connection to our Asian roots (despite the fact she attends university in Boston, and I in Austin) and wanted to return back for what may be the last time. Will definitely consider this article while we figure things out.

  2. I traveled with one of my best friends for 3 weeks in Peru, and we had the most sensational adventure, and didn’t argue even once. I think the key came down to respect and being emotionally sensitive – if one of us did or didn’t want to do something, the other would compromise, and vice versa. We also had established early on that we had the same expectation for costs of food etc, and we were on the same page about what we wanted to get out of the trip (culture and exploring, and eating!) All of our accommodation and tours were booked in advance, which took a lot of the stress of the ‘traveling’ out of it, and we could just enjoy the actual adventure of it. My suggestion would be to separately map out what your ideal trip would look like, and then come together and notice the differences and similarities, and then work together from there to plan it so you agree beforehand and know what to expect.

    1. Amy, I absolutely love your suggestion about each person mapping out their ideal trip, and then comparing the two. This would be an easy way to communicate expectations! Thanks for sharing.

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