From Our Readers
September 14, 2015 8:50 am

I’m in my early twenties and recently came back from a four-week trip abroad to Europe, with my best friend and twin sister. It was an amazing, memorable experience. For me, vacationing with my best friends was a no-brainer. But as much fun as it was, it also involved compromise and working on our social dynamic. Here’s what I learned along the way.

It’s OK to want alone time

Even though spending time with friends is awesome, sometimes the lack of space when living together day after day, in either small hotel rooms or hostel dormitories, can all get a bit too much. That’s OK. It’s totally normal to want personal space or alone time. Establishing ways to maintain individual areas, like keeping your belongings separate or finding quiet activities you can do during free times, like reading a book, listening to music or writing in your travel journal, can help you to have a necessary break or breather away from each other.

Laughter goes a long way

During one tense moment, as we were carrying our extremely heavy suitcases over the steps crossing the Venice canals, my friends and I were all frustrated with each other. We were hot, bothered and—to make matters worse—lost. After angrily yelling at each other, about which direction we needed to go next, my friend randomly started laughing. As we looked at each other’s red and sweaty faces we all began to laugh. This small but happy moment made us realize that we were all in the same situation and that the only way forward, without bickering, was to acknowledge our predicament as a team and with a smile.

Being different is a good thing

That might sounds obvious, but it’s important to keep in mind. If you keep an open mind, you can have all kinds of interesting experiences. For example: though I am an avid Disney lover, I was doubtful of spending an entire day away from exploring Paris city to go to Disneyland. However, my friend’s love of Disney meant that she was determined to go. And I joined her, despite my misgivings. After just a few hours at Disneyland, I realized how much fun we were having and was so grateful that my friend convinced me that this trip was necessary. By accepting my friend’s unique hobbies, interests and passions I was able to have an unexpectedly fun and memorable day.

Respecting each other’s sleeping schedules is difficult but important

My friend loves to stay up late on her phone or laptop before bed. She claims it helps her get in the mood to go to sleep. It usually ends up being 3am before she finally falls asleep. As a result of her late nights she generally is the last to get up and always wants to sleep in. On the other hand, I prefer early nights and then early starts. Our clashing schedules made sharing a hotel room extremely difficult. However, we soon realized that the only solution was to respect each other’s opposing schedules and negotiate an agreement, like alternating daily between having an early morning or a late night, a sleep in or an early night.

Friends really do make long haul flights that little bit more bearable

During our first long haul flight my friends and I were not seated next to each other. This meant that the extremely long journey to Europe went awfully slow. As a person who suffers from occasional travel sickness sitting in between two strangers was particularly nerve racking. However, on the same flight home being next to my best friends put me at ease and helped relieve my anxieties. Having my best friends nearby really did make that long haul flight seem faster.

You never stop learning about your friends

Traveling abroad with my best friends made me realize that even though I thought I knew everything there was to know about them, I didn’t. Learning new things about each other during our travels helped to further strengthen and cement the friendship.

Traveling with my best friends and living in each other’s pockets for a long period of time was a true test of our friendship. Even though at times you may bicker and argue friends are awesome travel companions. Nothing beats traveling with friends to share in the relief of overcoming an obstacle or the happiness of a joyous moment.

Rebecca Rossenrode is a twenty year old English and Communications student from Australia. She loves writing and all things fashion. You’ll often find her belting out some T-Swift tunes or fixing her beloved front fringe. Follow her on instagram (https://instagram.com/becr1995/). 

[Image via Universal Pictures]

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