If youíre feeling a bit daunted about setting off backpacking on your own, how about travelling with a friend
rather than alone?
The pros and cons of this way of travel are set out here.
Setting off with a mate can be a great way to travel - a fabulous shared experience between two good friends. The advantages are clear;
apart from the companionship, camaraderie and familiarity thatís a given, youíll also have two heads to put together on getting from A to B,
deciphering maps, sharing tasks or sniffing out scams, and two pairs of eyes looking out for your security and belongings. From a financial
point of view, you can generally share twin rooms for prices cheaper than two singles, or even cheaper than two dorm beds
in some hostels.
Sounds great! So what could possibly go wrong?
Life of the road has a way of rubbing you up the wrong way at times. Whether itís a crap Lonely Planet map that eventually leads you to
a hostel that no longer exists, an untimely Bangkok traffic jam when youíre late for your flight or even just a wave of homesickness,
tempers can fray and moods can swing and if youíre travelling with someone else theyíll get the brunt of it (and in return youíll get
angst). Itís possible youíll be with your travelmate 24/7; you may soon get sick of the sight of them, or feel
restricted by their presence, especially if you are the 'decision maker' and they play more of a 'limpet' role. Youíll also need to make
concessions; time and financial limitations might inevitably mean you wonít be able to go where you both
want to, meaning some sort of
compromise unless you can agree to part for some time and meet up again. Romance can also throw a spanner in the works. You or your
friend may fall for that Thai girl or that bandana-wearing Canadian with the guitar - and all rational thought will go out the window...
This is not intended to put you off from travelling with a friend Ė rather, to prepare you for what might happen Ė however unlikely.
I know a couple of friends that to this date have never spoken to each other again after a tiff whilst travelling together.
Iíve also met countless traveller pairs that I couldnít possibly imagine travelling individually, so well they bounce off each other and
as a unit.
Iíd suggest two things to improve your chances for a successful trip. Firstly, think long and hard about the person youíre planning
on travelling with. Will you get on in such close proximity to each other? Are they easy going? Are they too bossy? Are they too
lazy and will just let you do all the hard work? Are your budget expectations similar? Travelling with someone who watches every dime
and wants to stay in fleapit accommodation when you have a bit more to spare and fancy some comfort can really be a flashpoint. All
things considered, will it work between you
Secondly, be upfront with each other about how things will to work between you on the road. Discuss your plans and expectations with
each other. How tied to the hip will you be? Are you both prepared to go your separate ways for a few weeks if need be? How do you
plan to share the responsibilities of travelling? Casually talk through scenarios that might occur. The more you are prepared, the
more likely your trip together will be a great success and one to remember - for the right