Moving in with a friend and globetrotting with them are two decisions that can either blossom your friendship into one where you shit with the door open, go on riverboat gambling trips, and eat beef jerky, or an instance where all you want to do is drop that mother fucker. There is no middle ground.
But nothing is more exciting than jetting off on a holiday with your closest pal(s). When I go on trips with mates, I always gravitate towards and invite my friends who exert very little judgement over lifestyle choices, friends who are easy going (because I like to be the planner), and friends who are dependable. Dependable is über important, as you want someone who will actually rock up on the day and have that 7am alcoholic drink with you in the airport (because it’s 12:00 somewhere). Again, with no judgement.
Remember in school when your teacher would assign a group project? And remember how, whether you got the luxury of choosing your cell mates or not, there was always the ‘go-getters’ in the group who would obsessively and control-freaky do all of the work, while the other half would ride the coat tails, laughing the whole way (after probably smoking weed on lunch break)? Well traveling with mates is not too dissimilar to that experience.
Everyone has those Type A-esque personality pals; I am one of them to a lot of people as I will happily plan and lead everything, especially when it comes to holidays. But, I also have friends who fall on the other end of the spectrum – they are just along for shits and gigs and are content leaving the organisation to someone else; it doesn’t matter where we are going or how we are getting there, as long as there are drinks on ice and tunes on deck, life is good for this type.
So whether you are the ‘ma’ or ‘pa’ of the group, or the fuckers in the back seat causing us to ‘pull this thing over’, here are ‘The Tips’ to ensure that your friendships reach that next level of inappropriateness as a result of your getaway:
- Let one/a small few people do the initial ground work for the trip. People like me love to research places, plane tickets, accommodations, whatever, you name it; I will hunt for hours the best neighbourhoods to stay in, the best clubs to show off our dance moves in, and the best way to get us from A to B. Take advantage of friends like this, because they are like a mini travel agent. As long as you have enough trust in your pals doing the planning, let them plan away.
- And while you should have a ‘leader’, it is also equally as important to let everyone else have a voice – ask what the one thing everyone wants to do is, and try and do it. There will inevitably be overlap, and it may also open you to experiences you otherwise would not have done.
- Agree on a budget, ie: no champagne taste on a beer budget type of shite. Find locations/flights/accommodation/etc that suit the masses, and stick to it. There is nothing more disheartening than having to pull out of a holiday because you don’t have the funds, but should the total price be clearly communicated from the get-go, there shouldn’t be any last minute dropouts.
- Once you have a budget, location and all that jazz sorted, FRONT/COLLECT MONEY FIRST! I cannot stress this enough. Money chats with mates can become super awkward super quickly, and it should never be the case where someone is paying for things on their own and then having to chase people up for the dolla bills (and feeling bad about asking). Of course there will be instances where someone will have to front a deposit, or book a hotel, shuttle, or whatever else it may be so you can ensure you are all together, but in an ideal world the rest of the crew would transfer money to that person before, or immediately after, anything is booked. Clear as mud? 😛
- If you do pull out of a holiday you have committed to from the very beginning, and initial plans had you included, then the onus is on you to either find a replacement to cover your costs, or suck it up and pay. Shitty friend behaviour if you do otherwise.
Right, enough about money!!
- Accept holiday Whatsapp groups for what they are – a means to share funny photos and tales of each other, but not a super effective or efficient decision-making tool. When planning a group getaway some fucker (I’m guilty too) will always create one for the occasion though. And, despite the great banter and extremely inappropriate content that gets hurled back and forth, these groups have the potential to be the bane of my existence when trying to sort out holiday plans; too many cooks in the kitchen. These groups can be a lot of laughs, but nothing really getting accomplished in them. I was once in a Whatsapp group that was created ON holiday, and by the end of the week it had accumulated over 700 messages. It was silly.
- It is perfectly ok to get separated from your holiday pals, even if only temporarily, and particularly if you are in a large group. Having to wait on everyone to take a piss, charge their phone, go back to grab the wallet they forgot, etc, can be annoying, and so if separation does occur, it’s not the end of the world. Decide on a meeting point for the week/day you can go back to if anyone strays off, and just make sure everyone has exchanged digits at the beginning of the trip. I lost my whole crew of friends at that Body & Soul festival because I wanted to get in the thick of this moving marching band. Nek minute I couldn’t find anyone. I searched for a while, but eventually accepted defeat and made new friends who I chilled with on this giant spider web thing and then danced with them to another band. I was on my own for probably close to an hour, and knew they were fine as they did the same for me, but after that little alone time we decided the Lighthouse Slide would be our meeting place. Problem solved.
- If at a festival, bring some sort of identifiable object you can hold in the air to stand out from the crowd. This could be a giant inflatable whale, a flag, a light, anything – whatever it is will become a point of reference though and will make it much easier to find your way home to your crew.
- Bring enough toiletries, etc to contribute to the group’s supplies. Don’t keep relying on your friends for their sunscreen, adaptor, phone charger, etc.
- Tardiness in a group setting is really fucking annoying. If you are meant to meet somewhere at a certain time, do your best to be there. This is mainly for the important tasks like rides to the airport, excursions, etc.
- And finally, and perhaps most importantly, leave your notions of personal space and privacy at home. The fun about traveling with friends is how close you get as a result of close quarters. Andy and our mate Eoin got so close sharing a room on a ski holiday that they had a communal toothbrush for four days. THAT close.