How to Travel with Friends–And Not Hurt Them

If you want to know the best way to discover your touring preferences, travel with a friend.

Compromise can save the day.

BY PHILL FELTHAM

If you want to know the best way to discover your touring preferences, travel with a friend.

Up to this point, my travelling preferences involved a detailed itinerary and seeing as many of the sites as possible, using the subway or the city bus. However, I believe wandering on foot is the best way to absorb your local surroundings–that’s if you’re touring the city.

My friend Tim and I faced a variety of disagreements on our trip to the United Kingdom, because we both have differing travel preferences. For example, on larger sites, such as the Tower Of London and Edinburgh Castle, audio guides and on-sight tours are available.

Tim preferred the audio guide and the on-sight tour, because it allowed him to get to know the site’s history. For myself, I prefer to wander at my own leisure, absorbing my surroundings and reading the brief historic descriptions on display beside each relic. To me, history complements my travel.

Some travellers focus more on the history than exploring the site. Consequently, these travellers miss out on the opportunity to explore the magnificent architecture. If I wanted to focus strictly on history, I would just research the site on Google before I left home.

Tim and I disagreed, but eventually came to a compromise. We would take the in-house tour to get the info and then wander about at our leisure afterward. If we really couldn’t come to an agreement, then we wandered about on our own. This, I think, can be a solution to many headaches. I think Tim and I could have compromised on other sticky spots, particularly since we spent the entire week traveling the United Kingdom together. I find that travelling with someone for a week or so can hinder the touring experience.

Tim also wanted to walk eight hours a day, discovering as much of the city as possible. I agree with him to a point. I mean when are we ever going to experience these sites again. Maybe someday–maybe never. However, I’m a traveller who likes a little variety. I love the intense travel, experience as much as I can, but switch gears by conversing with the locals and exploring the culture. My fondest memories of a place happen when I can absorb a city in other ways. Plus, I’m not against a little relaxation, too: that is, spending some time in a pub or coffee shop.

Tim and I both enjoyed our trip to the United Kingdom, travelling together for the first time. Sometimes we disagreed. Both of us found it hard to compromise on activities, because of our history. Myself, I’m used to travelling on my own, while Tim has never stepped foot out of Canada.

If you’re used to travelling on your own, prepare to make compromise on your travel activities. Planning before your trip can greatly reduce conflict, but not completely. I’ll keep this advice in mind the next time I’m wandering with any fellow traveler. iT!

TWW’s Phill Feltham and Tim Carroll recently returned from wandering in England and Scotland.

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