Traveling alone has many benefits and rewards. You get to do whatever you want, whenever you want without the fear of inconveniencing… well, yourself. But there is something about traveling with a companion or a close group of friends that can make a trip even more memorable.

 Being in a foreign place is already mildly distressing to some, not to mention coordinating with different interests, personalities, and perspectives. We also know what tensions can be thrown into the mix when you are spending every waking (and sleeping) hour with the same people for unusual amounts of time. If not handled well, it can be exhausting and even ruin a promising vacation.

Here are a few ideas to put into practice that I’ve learned from traveling with my friends.

  • Communicate. What are your expectations for the trip as a collective group? Do you want to relax on the hot sand, tackle the tourist attractions, or explore side streets and hidden neighborhoods?
  • Strategize. How much time is good to spend together as a group before you need a break? Should you plan for alone time to reflect and disconnect?
  • Think about the flow. Do you want to have a plan most days or do you want to be spontaneous and go where the wind blows? We all have that one friend who would never stray from the planned itinerary while the dreamer of the group is being distracted by the fire-dancers across the street.
  • Prepare for disagreements. It is inevitable that you will have differing opinions about what to do, but tackling those moments with grace and respect is important for the energy of the trip and your friendships.
  • Know your limits. If you are grumpy and tired, do not go out with the group. Get that introvert time in and reunite with your crew when you are feeling refreshed and brand new!
  • Be flexible. If your friends want to go and see a play on its last night in town and you want to go to an art exhibit that just caught your eye—try to compromise or simply be prepared to do your own thing. Alone time in a foreign place can be an unexpected gift.

The best advice overall is to keep an open-mind and spirit. You never know what surprises await when you do something you did not intentionally care to do! Happy travels.

Feature image courtesy of Street Etiquette.

This story was curated by Davinah Simmons.