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The Do’s and Don’ts of Traveling with Friends | Sophie Harasha

They say traveling with friends is a risk. Those trips either end with lifelong friends or lifelong enemies. It is a true test of friendship. This summer, I went on a roadtrip with a few of my friends and based on my experience, I am going to break down the Do’s and Don’ts of traveling with friends.

DO: Find good and compatible travel buddies.

This is an important one. These are the people who you’re going to spend every waking (and sleeping) moment with. Even though I was the latest addition to my summer's road trip and didn’t know everyone well, I was excited for the opportunity to become closer. And luckily, quickly into the trip, I realized that these were the best possible travel mates. It worked well because we were different enough but the same in many ways. Half of us were morning people and took the morning driving shift, while the others took the afternoon shifts. However, we were all super cooperative, willing to pitch in, and happy to take dinner or dish shifts. It’s important to find people who are also flexible and easily able to adapt. When unexpected things occur, which they inevitably will, it’s crucial to find people who will not shut down and freak out but rather look for alternative options and be willing to adapt as needed. On our road trip, we unexpectedly lost power to the entire cabin for half a day. Even though our lake day was canceled, we were able to still have fun and adapt to the situation. Bringing me to my next point, it is important to find people who are resourceful and capable. For those situations where things might not go as planned, being around people who know what to do or how to positively contribute to the situation makes things exponentially easier and more fun. Lastly, make sure your travel buddies are down for an adventure and ready to have a good time. Trips like these are what you make out of them, so you should try your best to maximize your time and experiences. Find people who are down to take a random hike to a waterfall. Find people who are able to unplug and spend quality time with each other. Find people who are willing to be spontaneous. If you can find people who you’re compatible with and have a good attitude, it makes the trip significantly more fun. Bonus points if your travel buddy is a trunk packing legend.

DON’T: Rely on electronics for entertainment

Even if your days are packed with adventures and activities, there will always be down time in between. And if you’re like me and have poor cell service, you’ll have to find alternative ways to pass the time. I highly recommend board games. Whether it be a heavily delirious version of Telestrations at 3AM or forming deeper connections playing We’re Not Really Strangers or wanting to cry at the difficulty of the rules of Mao, board games are versatile for every occasion.

Another form of entertainment that I recommend is musical instruments. If you have room for a guitar or opt for a ukulele as a smaller version like we did, it’s always fun to learn and play instruments together. You can impress your travel companions with your godly skills of a ukulele rendition of Vance Joy's Riptide. Also, movies aren’t a bad idea either. Overall, it’s important to have other forms of entertainment that aren’t electronics because you never know if you’ll have a blackout and be forced indoors for half a day.

DO: Have a good playlist

A good playlist can be whipped out at any moment. Whether it be in the car, on a hike, in the hotel or cabin, or even eating dinner, it is important to have a soundtrack to your experience. I would recommend a shared playlist where everyone can add their own songs. Be warned that this may cause indie rock music to quickly transition to Disney showtunes. If you are road tripping like I did this summer, I also recommend having your own playlist for when you’re driving and on aux. I forced my travel buddies to listen to 2010 hits, musical theater, and Disney original songs alike. And nothing is better than karaoke on the open road. It is worth it to humble yourself if some people around you are amazing singers and can ACTUALLY hit the high notes.

DON’T: Be unaware of the potential elements you could face

It is important to be prepared. Whether you’re traveling to a mountain or beach, you are always at the mercy of the elements. For us, the elements were bugs. Many, many bugs. Bugs bit us, giant spiders camped out next to our beds, and crawled around the shower. Our saving grace was bug spray for the hikes, bite remedies such as hydrocortisone cream when the bug spray failed us, and bug killer for those spiders crawling above our heads. It is crucial you are aware, prepared, and ready for any of the elements you could face.

DO: Travel with friends.

Do it. Get out of the fantasies, sending each other Air B N Bs, checking airline prices, and get that trip out of the group chat. Even though it can be a lot of work and a lot of planning, it was so worth it. I emerged from the trip with close friends and a lifelong supply of memories. It was one of the best weeks of my life and I got to share it with amazing people. So be prepared and ready for a good time. Onwards and Yonwards.

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