10 Tips for Traveling with Friends
Updated: Aug 25, 2020
Over the last few years, I’ve traveled out of state quite a few times to visit my family. Eric and I made the first trip on our own and stayed for almost two weeks. When we returned, it was so nice to be in our own home. After a few months though, all that wore off and all we could talk about was visiting again. During the few months home, we constantly shared details about our trip with our very close friend, who had never actually met my family due to the distance. After some discussion, we decided to make the trip together which meant lots of extra preparation. Extra suitcases in the trunk, less space to move around in the car, and laying down the rules about who gets to pick the music. Since then, we’ve made that same trip at least 3 times, with little-to-no hair pulling! We all love our best friends, so here’s some tips to help (everyone) survive the trip.
1. Plan in advance! We took a trip spur of the moment trip once, with almost no planning and our friend forgot to pack his contact lenses (kind of important!). So take time to remind each other to pack the essentials.
2. Pack light! Following the same theme, try to remember what should truly be considered “essential”. That cute outfit might be important to you, but be sure to make room for a toothbrush and toothpaste first. It’ll be helpful when it comes time to load up the trunk as well. Having one less suitcase can make all the difference; who really wants to snuggle a suitcase in the backseat?
3. Make space for extras. This is an issue every time I visit my family; most families send home small trinkets with their loved ones, which don’t take up much space. However, my family usually sends me home with boxes of items, whether it be small gifts or some things that my mom forgot to give me on my last visit. Either way, we somehow always end up going home with twice the amount we started with and have very little car space.
4. Think about food. This may seem like a pretty useless tip, but planning where/what/when you’ll eat in advance can be more helpful than you might think. Maybe even purchase gift cards to favorite restaurants in advance, so you won’t have to pay out of pocket (just bring money for tips!). Trust me, your wallet (and your friends) will be thanking you later.
5. Try to plan breaks. We usually play this one by ear and guesstimate how long it’ll be before one of us has to pee, which isn’t really effective in the long run. If you’re taking a once-in-awhile trip, this probably won’t make much of a difference but if you plan to make this trip often, it’s good to know where you can stop to take a much needed break.
6. Watch the weather. This one might seem pretty obvious, but it’s always good to double check a few days in advance. Personally, I don’t trust the TV weatherman. I use this website, which I’ve always found to be very reliable. On the left side, simply type in the zip code of your destination and it will give you a pretty accurate forecast for the week to come :)
7. Pack games! Whether they be in-the-car games or fun things to do when you take a break at a rest stop, definitely bring something along that everyone can enjoy. It might sound lame, but we usually pack dominoes; it’s the perfect game, because the gameplay time can vary to your needs and it’s lots of fun :)
8. Make a music playlist. OK so maybe you and your bff are long-lost twins and happen to love all the exact same music; kudos! Nonetheless, in our case we all have staggering choices in music which means that someone is almost always stuck listening to music they couldn’t care less about. Luckily, we all tolerate each others’ choices and try our best to take turns. Just try your best to come up with music that everyone can at least “tolerate” for a few hours and hope that nobody judges you for your throwback Britney Spears playlist.
9. Bring a camera. Even if it’s just your smartphone, bring something to take pictures with; you never know what you might spot along the way and someday you’ll probably wish you had documentation of you and your best friend standing underneath the world’s-almost-largest-donut, for science purposes.
10. Respect personal space. We love our friends, but after 8 hours stuck in a cramped space, even your best friend in the entire universe could become your worst enemy during a “friendly” game of Punch Buggy. You’ve been warned!
Remember that with a little preparation, any road trip can become an amazing experience. Just have fun and make tons of memories that you’ll share for many years to come. Hope you enjoyed this post! If you have any tips to add, put them in the comments :)