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If you’re looking to buddy up on your travels, these simple rules could help your friendship stay on the right track.

Best friends might be the most obvious option, but not necessarily the best option, as the dynamics of each personal relationship can differ dramatically. For this reason, travelling with groups of close friends with differing interests are often a better choice.

Why? Travel is a real learning curve for any relationship. You’ll both be out of your comfort zone, unfamiliar situations placing even the most solid of relationships on the line – a new language, culture and destination heightening problems which may have seemed superficial on the surface back home.
Have you been travelling for long periods together before?  A holiday may look like the ultimate adventure with only good times ahead, but if you’ve only ever done the odd weekend with your proposed travelling companion you need to ask yourself some honest questions before going all in on a trip together. For example, consider how you might approach budgets and how you both feel about alone time.

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Image by Savannah Ashworth

Image by Savannah Ashworth

Building on shared interests and activities…

Do your research! Highlight destinations pre-trip where you can all participate in your favourite activities.  You might also want to add in possible places to visit, things to see, attractions to stop at and foods to eat. Not only will this heighten the excitement, but decision making will be a breeze once you’re on the move.

There’s also some truth in the fact that opposites attract and when you’re planning the trip it’s important to think about where your individual interests lie.  While you may want to hit the beach and kick back with a book, your friend/s may be eager to explore and go off diving or hiking etc.  If you’ve already worked this out beforehand it will be a seamless diversion from “friendom” and a chance to spend some healthy time apart.

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Conflict resolution tips

When you only have each other for company, how you have learnt to deal with situations before the trip will either be a hindrance or a help, so it’s wise to sit down together and consider likely gap hazards.

If you’re a backpacking twosome, booking a group tour at the start of your adventure is a good way to take the pressure off, so consider mixing it up in between longer independent backpacking jaunts.

Hook up with friends and family along the way – You might have connected online with other travellers who are heading in your direction or decide to meet family and friends en route. Spending time with people outside of your chosen travelling posse will really add to the experience and give you the opportunity to take stock of your travels to date.

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In what ways can travel strengthen friendship? 

Africa is packed full of intense experiences from bungy jumping at the Victoria Falls to enjoying a heart racing walking safari in Zimbabwe’s Matobo National Park. research suggests when we travel with friends the experience is intensified and we all know that memories are more important than things, the feel good vibes taken from these experiences lasting a lifetime and strengthening the bonds between us.

Sometimes we need that gentle push of encouragement so if you’ve always wanted to sky-dive over Swakopmund’s sands in Namibia, a friend cheering you on might well give you the bravado to take on the challenge. A built in-support system on your travels this can really help to bring you closer together.

Up the pace in Swakopmund , Namibia’s adventure playground
Africa overland safari
What are the pitfalls to avoid?

Arguments happen so learn to forgive each other and know that the dream trip isn’t over if things don’t go to plan.  It may sound like a simple mantra, but when planning a holiday for several months we can start to romanticise about the experience and it’s important to have a realistic approach for the more unfortunate and unexpected scenarios.

Make decisions together and compromise. This way you’ll all feel you have something to look forward to. Maybe it’s a mix of camping and glamping or off the beaten track haunts and buzzing city backdrops. While the balance of leadership differs between all friends, you should both be clear about what you both want from the outset. This will set you on the right path and play a positive part in your decision making on the trip.

Africa overland safaris Botswana
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