You may be friends back home but while vacationing (overseas), SMALL differences can lead to BIG problems.

I’ve had my fair share of travels with my closest friends over the years.

And I’m going to say something that not many people will openly admit: There have been times when I asked myself, “Why am I friends with these people again?”

If you’re still telling me that your friends had never gotten on your nerves during the holidays … Congratulations! You’re probably a liar!

The other week, ‘Neue’ (@whatsneue) received an e-mail from a reader who asked for tips on how to ensure that you stay sane when planning a trip with your best friends.

The writer of the e-mail, who wished to remain anonymous, said she had recently returned from an overseas trip with 3 of her best friends.

Sadly, she is no longer friends with 2 of them because of drama that crept up during their 5-day vacation.

To the writer of the e-mail, we here at ‘Neue’ hope that you’ll be able to work things out with your friends. We also hope that this article would be a good source of information for anyone planning their next trip with friends (and hopefully, not soon-to-be enemies).

Without further ado, let’s jump right into it.

 #1. Going Dutch: To split the bill or not split the bill?

Let’s face it: Not everyone has that much (or little) money as you, especially when travelling overseas.

One common misunderstanding that crops up is when friends split the bill at a restaurant.

Let’s say, one of you ordered a $5 budget meal, one ordered a $25 sirloin steak while another friend decided to splurge by ordering a $60 seafood platter. That brings the grand total of the meal to $90. If you were to split that bill equally over 3 people that would work out to $30 per person.

Is this fair? Well, it depends.

Did all of you agree on splitting the bill before entering the restaurant? Were all of you honest with each other about their daily budget? The key here is to have open communication. So long as everyone is honest with each other, such awkward instances like the above would not occur.

I cannot stress how important this is. Money is always a sensitive topic. That said, this is best settled before embarking on your trip.

Will your upcoming trip be a budget trip, an over-the-top experience or something in between?

By agreeing as a group what type of trip it is going to be, you can easily pen in (or cross out) activities in your itinerary.

At the end of the day, do keep in mind that the experience of travelling and having a great time with your friends is priceless – something that money cannot buy!

#2. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you

In the heat of the moment, sometimes people may say things that they didn’t mean. If you are in the middle of your vacation with your friends, try your best to not snap at each other. Trust me! You don’t want to regret saying something mean. Years of friendship can be ruined because of a moment of madness. If you feel like screaming at the top of your lungs, try your best to just cool things off.

Like any relationship, it’s important to spend some time apart. This may very well be a “trip of a lifetime” but you should make it a point to have space to do your own thing for a while, while your friends do something else. You don’t want your time together to feel suffocating.

Perhaps you could allocate a certain amount of time per day for all of you to do your own thing – say reading a book, taking a stroll at a mall or enjoying a nap.

#3. Take charge

You may think that you’re being nice by saying, “I’m okay with anything”, whenever you are asked what to do next. However, saying “I’m okay, you decide” may very well be the worst thing that you can say while vacationing with your friends.

From time to time, it’s important that you make an effort to step up and take charge. It is unfair for the de facto group leader to make all the decisions for the group. After all, they are human too. They may be feeling stressed because they’re the ones who are somehow responsible for every single thing that happens during the trip.

#4. Have a nice meal together

Food brings everyone closer. That’s just a universal fact.

At the end of the day, make an effort to have dinner with your travel companions. Whether you had a disagreement earlier in the day or if you had a fall out, talking it out diplomatically over a nice meal can work wonders. According to a study, one possible explanation is that chewing raises levels of the ‘feel-good’ brain chemical serotonin.

#5. Staying together

People say if you can survive living with your friends, you can survive anything. This is especially true if you and your friend are on the opposite ends of the spectrum – for example, you’re a tidy, organised person (OCD?) while your friend may not be. You could argue that this would be the true test of any friendship.

Book twin beds or get your own bedrooms if your budget permits.

#6. Not getting enough shut eye

If you haven’t had enough sleep, you will definitely become irritable. The same goes for your travel companions.

Personally, I can get irritable when I do not get enough shut eye. And I admit, I have snapped at my friends in the past after a night of partying.

After all, a power nap can do wonders for your mental and physical stamina. According to a report, power napping will help you to revitalise and stay refreshed all day quickly. Power naps last for up to 5, 10 and 20 minutes. A power nap of  10-minute is considered to boost your alertness and productivity. However, having a rest for 30 minutes or more may lead to impaired alertness and sleep inertia.

#7. Clash of interest

You want to stay in bed but your friends want to get an early start on the day. Or you may be thinking about allocating more time checking out a mall but your friends want to check out the local museum. Try your best to be flexible. Make an effort to take an interest in each other’s interests – who knows, you may very well end up liking that trip to the museum that they insisted you to join.

#8. Remember why you’re with your friends

Don’t let a little disagreement ruin a good thing. When everything seems to be falling apart, just remember why you decided to go on this trip with your friends. Remember you are here to make memories. If you and your travel companions are able to laugh off the drama, your bond with each other will grow stronger.

However, if whatever happened during your quick getaway with your friends pushed all of you to your breaking point, then perhaps it would be best to find other friends for your next trip.

At the end of the day, the main objective is to be friends when you leave your country and remain friends upon your return.

Do you have any other tips to share?

With these tips, you’ll be better prepared for that group trip that’ll be remembered for years! After all, vacationing with friends can be one of life’s best experiences when well-planned out and executed correctly.

Do you have any travel stories you’d like to share? Do you have any other tips that would prove useful while travelling with friends! Do share it with the Neue community in the comments section below or reach out to Neue via Facebook or Instagram.