Traveling on your own can mean lots of peace, quiet, and introspection. But there’s something special about having someone by your side—whether it’s your best friend, your boyfriend, or your five-year-old—to ask, “OMG, did you see that?!” Merging travel styles, however, requires a little flexibility—and a lot of compromise. Here, two Glamour writers (and one reader) share their ultimate guides to hitting the road with anyone.


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Agree on a budget ahead of time.

Mo’ money, mo’ problems, right? If one person has a daily limit while the other can spend freely, things will get awkward when you’re deciding, say, whether or not to book that pricey day trip. To save yourselves from uncomfortable conversations, set some financial ground rules, like: “We’ll all stick within this range for daily activities,” or “I can’t afford to do anything outside of X amount, but I’m totally fine with the two of you doing it on your own!”

Give everyone an assignment.

Even if you’re a natural planner, life will be much easier if you divide and conquer. One person can sort through flights and hotel deals, the group foodie can be in charge of picking restaurants, and a fashion-obsessive friend can research weather- and culture-appropriate options for your packing lists. Got a friend who’s got a great sense of direction? She’s in charge of guiding the group on the ground. Have another BFF who’s a theater buff? She can find which shows are must-sees.

Before you arrive, talk about your vacay goals.

A getaway means something different for everyone. On a trip to Paris, one of you might want to shop while another will crave adventurous activities and another may just want to relax on the beach all day. So you might have to sacrifice a little: Instead of spending the whole day at the Louvre, go for a few hours, then be a good sport and accompany your friend who wants to peruse beauty products at Galeries Lafayette.


It will save you precious space. So maybe only one person needs to bring five bottles of mosquito repellent—not everyone. Sharing is also good karma: If you’re lightheaded after hours in the sun, a travel companion could save the day by handing you her Kind bar. Return the favor when someone else needs water, a snack, or sunscreen.

Split the check at mealtime.

You’ve all just enjoyed a lovely dinner. And then: The bill comes, and you start arguing about who ate what and how to give one another exact change. Instead of spending the end of your evening doing intense math, decide in advance that—as long as nobody orders anything that’s way more expensive than the rest of the group—splitting the check evenly will avoid a lot of headaches. Trust us: No one wants a delicious, wine-fueled Parisian meal by the Eiffel tower ruined by an argument over a couple of euros. Not very laissez-faire.

You are going to argue. Accept it.

You’re outside of your comfort zone, possibly jet-lagged, and trying to please everyone. Disagreements will happen. But one little tiff doesn’t have to ruin your trip. Even in your most irritated moments, remember that everyone has different moods; perhaps your BFF is just cranky because she hasn’t eaten, or maybe your friend would rather gnaw his arm off than spend hours in a museum. No two people are alike, so keep in mind: This argument, too, shall pass, and odds are you’ll be back to laughing and Snapchatting in no time.

Spend time apart.

That being said: You might need a little break every now and again. If you’re in a big group, consider switching hotel or hostel roommates after a few nights. For a group trip to London, Paris, and Barcelona, you could switch roommates in each new city. You’ll be able to bond individually—and make sure you don’t have enough time with any one person to get annoyed by her rooming habits. If it’s just the two of you, don’t be afraid to venture out on your own to have a little me-time to breathe—just make sure you have a set meeting point to return to in case you don’t have cell service or Wi-Fi to contact one another.

Always make sure one person is a little sober.

Of course, you go on a friends-only trip to have fun, so as a wise man named Lil’ Jon once said: “Shots, shots, shot-shot-shot-shots.” But you are in a foreign country, so even if everyone’s drinking and no one’s driving, it’s helpful to make sure at least one person has their wits about them, just in case.

Set a bathroom schedule.

It might sound trivial, but This. Is. Important. If one person loves to take her time unwinding in the shower and another needs to wash, blow-dry, straighten, and curl her hair, things can get hairy. (Pun intended.) Maybe one traveler needs to head upstairs from the pool a little earlier so she can start the process, or the friend who prefers A.M. showers can slip in before breakfast. Verbally scheduling this will help you make the most of your days, instead of spending hours waiting in your hotel room for the shower to free up.


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If you’re renting a house or staying at the same hotel, think SPACING.

Obviously couples vacations are split into two parts—party/friend time, and alone/romantic time. For the latter, you definitely don’t want to be sharing a wall, both for your sake or for theirs. If you’re renting a house, ask if there’s a floor plan available so you can see the layout of the bedrooms (and make sure you’re not sharing a bathroom—also awkward). At a hotel it’s easier: After or while you book, tell the hotel who is traveling in your party and request to be put on a different floor—or even down the hall. It’s awkward but whatever—they’ll get it.

Remember: It’s not a competition.

Some couples seem to want to use the trip as a long PDA in front of their closest friends. One couple (not naming names) would literally would have sex, and then announce that they had just had sex to everybody else in the house. Presumably the other couples were also doing it {ahem}, but not making a group announcement. Chalk it up to their weird insecurities and don’t let it affect your trip. You know that study that shows that couples who post the most gushy stuff on Facebook actually have the weakest relationships? We’d guess that the same rule applies.

Assign chores/tasks

This applies to house rentals. There is nothing more obnoxious than the couple that lets everyone else in the house do the grocery shopping, cook dinner, set the table, and then clean up the kitchen. To avoid becoming some other couple’s maid/chef service for the week, write out a schedule on day one of who will be doing what each day, so that expectations are set.

Try to tone down the judgement

Couples fight. And if you happen to witness your friends in a bickering match, do the polite thing and walk away—and do your best to keep the vibe normal afterward. Don’t amp up the drama by trying to play mediator, or rushing into one of their rooms after to talk it all out. They’re adults, they’ll figure it out. The less of a big deal you make of it, the quicker it will blow over.

Settle all payments before you leave

This is a big one: When you’re on vacation in a group, it’s almost unavoidable that not every check will get split, much less house fees, car rentals, and other expenditures. If you’re feeling generous and want to grab dinner for the group one night, awesome, simply say so. Otherwise, keep tabs of the expenses you want to split and settle up before you all head back home. Don’t have cash? No problem. That’s what Venmo is for.

Plan one non-group outing a day

Hanging with your friends is fun, but you’ll be bummed if you get home and realize you didn’t max out some romantic time with your partner. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. Even a walk on the beach at sunset, just the two of you, or getting up early to have a private breakfast together will do the trick. If your friends find out you left to go do something incredibly fun without them (ziplining through the jungle, for instance), they might be bummed. But they’ll totally get it if you skip out on them for a more low-key, couples-vibe activity.

Resist the urge to complain

Nobody is despised more on a group trip than the person who cannot stop complaining about everything—the food, the weather, the hotel’s service. Avoid being the bummer of the group and taking your partner down with you by resisting the urge to moan about the small things—and even some of the big ones. You’re on vacation. Be in the moment. It’s not that big of a deal that the water pressure sucks, since you’re on a tropical island.


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Don’t feel like you have to play nanny.

You can’t let another couple’s children drown, of course, but you can ignore pretty much anything else they’re doing unless you’ve agreed to supervise them. Four-year-old Lucy is naked in the pool again? Not your problem. Six-year-old Billy is getting grabby with a toddler? Same. If their parents aren’t stepping up, you don’t need to.

Agree ahead of time that everyone will go above and beyond to keep the common areas clean.

If there’s anything worse than a dirty shared-house kitchen, it’s a dirty shared-house kitchen with six hungry kids wandering around. Whoever makes a mess needs to clean up immediately, with grown-ups responsible for their kids’ spilled milk. And toys. And wet bathing suits and towels. Assign each family a designated trash day, so someone’s on top of all the common garbage cans for a single day.

Two words: Fresh Direct. Make that three: Amazon.

If you’re sharing a house, have every family put in their order ahead of time for whatever you’ll need for the week: milk, Cheerios, butter, enough beer for a few days. Plus, paper towels, citronella candles, disposable plates, napkins, and utensils—you get the idea. These will be communal and you need to agree ahead of time to split the bill evenly. (If one family wants a huge box of diapers or something that can’t be shared, they can place a separate Amazon order.)

Schedule a kid-free date night for every couple.

Once the littles are asleep, let one couple a night go out for a late dinner.

Plan some just-for-us outings.

No matter how close you are with the other families, plan a couple afternoon activities that are just for your family. You’ll have some time to enjoy each other without group noise—and having a few hours of “just us” time will help keep the peace when you return to the fray.


Everyone has different sleep schedules, so if you’re in a shared house, do your best to keep it down (and remind your kids to do the same) if you’re up early, up late, or if the littlest ones are napping. (Hotel vacations might have the advantage when kids are very young—especially if you have light sleepers.)

__For more on friends and travel, watch Your Friend Who’s Back From Traveling. __