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Traveling with Friends: Planning together can help avoid excess emotional baggage

Published: September 5, 2011 | Last Updated: April 6, 2016 By | 4 Replies Continue Reading
A woman worries about traveling with friends who are coworkers.



I have two co-workers that I consider friends. One of them (Friend A) is a lot closer to me than my other friend (friend B). I’ve been friends with A since 2008; B started to work with us in 2009. Things were going well until recently I sensed that friend A is really tight with B and vice versa. I’m not sure if I’m really sensitive but sometimes I feel left out.

Also, I will be going on a 3-week trip to Europe with them next month. Seems like nothing gets done. Friend B will tell me one thing and tell Friend A a different thing. I’m getting very frustrated, not just about planning this trip but about our friendship, too. Now I’m not sure if I should distance myself with them after the trip or keep things the way they are.

Thanks, Crystal


Dear Crystal.

This is a complicated situation. Since you work with both friends, I think your primary goal should be to preserve a good working relationship with them.

As co-workers, you are under no obligation to always get together socially as a threesome. These two friends can have a relationship with each other apart from the one they have with you. Similarly, you can also choose to get together with one friend, the other, or both. You don’t need to distance yourself socially unless you sense that your colleagues/friends want you to back off.

In terms of the trip, you will be traveling like three peas in a pod. Therefore, planning and discussion prior to the trip can help ward off any unnecessary misunderstandings or disappointments. Since planning for the trip has been either vague or haphazard until now, it could be worthwhile
for you to ask to meet together to discuss and firm up your travel plans.

You should explicitly discuss such issues as:

  • Sleeping and eating arrangements
  • How costs will be shared/divided
  • Your itinerary for the trip
  • People’s expectations about whether you
    will be spending all your time together or whether some activities will take
    place independently

I suspect that the time you spend traveling might alter friendships or allegiances but discussing these issues beforehand should improve the odds of the trip going smoothly and the likelihood of you returning with these relationships intact.

If you feel very uncomfortable when the three of you are together, you may want to reconsider your travel plans.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

Other posts about traveling with friends:

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Comments (4)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I have done some traveling, and that sounds like a red flag. If your friends are being flakey now, that is predictable of how the trip will turn out. I would make alternate plans and back out. You work with these people and need to keep things on good terms. Do you have other people you could travel with? Just because you work with them, does not mean they are good travel buddies. I have seen friendships end over bad trips . Or check out tour groups. I don’t know what type of travel you like, but try virtualtourist.com or matadornetwork.org. Those are good ways to meet up with other travelers. Good luck with your decision. Remember, you are traveling to relax, not to deal with drama.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I find 3 is about the worst number of people to have as a traveling group. Groups of 4 or 5 can split up into smaller groups if people want to do different things during the trip, and groups of only 2 find a way to compromise so everyone is happy. But with a group of 3, things tend to get put to a vote, and it’s often one person who loses just about every vote. If possible, see if you can add another person to this trip… then if the original friends turn out to be flakes or even just want to hit the bars while you want to see the sights, you’ll have an alternative.

    If that doesn’t work, plan ahead for yourself. Know what you want to do and see in each location and don’t let anything deter you from that. At dinner each night, talk with your friends and make a plan for the next day, and if they aren’t on board with what you want to do, spend the day on your own – I’ve had wonderful times on my own in plenty of European cities; it’s very do-able. Also know what you are willing to compromise on to keep the peace.

    And like Irene said, absolutely make sure the big-picture details are squared away before you go, and try to get a sense for the attitude your friends are taking into the trip – are they the kind of travelers that like to be somewhere else and relax, or are they the kind who want to see all the sights possible? How do those attitudes gel with your approach to vacationing in Europe for an extended period of time? Setting reasonable expectations on your part can go a long way toward making the trip enjoyable even if your friends are not the most organized and perhaps sometimes don’t bother to keep you in the loop.

  3. Anonymous says:

    If they can’t get organized now that’s probably a sign they aren’t serious about this and aren’t dependable. So you may end up stuck in the middle of a foreign country where you don’t know the language and the only English-speaking people you know are the two women you brought with you….who don’t have their ess together.

    If it’s frustrating now chances are it will be more frustrating later. If you could cancel, that would probably be best. If you can’t, try to keep it very simple – with lots of backup plans and time you can spend apart from them.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The trip doesn’t sound very promising. I personally would be anxious about the lack of organization on the travel plans. I would tell a white lie (lack of $$s or something) and bow out.

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