• Resolving Problems

Traveling with a friend leads to a disagreement over spending

Published: October 11, 2015 | By | 7 Replies Continue Reading
Coupled with high expectations, the stresses of traveling with a friend can tax even close relationships.


Hi Irene,

I have been friends with a woman for about 12 years. I recently went on a weeklong trip with her but did not enjoy myself as much as I thought I might. In saying that, I did not complain and went on with relationship.

Recently I have felt “pushed away” or rejected. She mentioned in person—and by text a couple of times—that I spend too much money. It did not come across as a concern but rather a criticism. In a text, I said she was right, adding that trying to buy happiness does not work. She replied saying it sure was fun trying.

I was quite mad but did evaluate my spending until I thought of hers. She spends a lot probably more than I do. I let it go for a month and she has not replied and I have not sent her a message as well.

Obsessing about this as to what happened…I miss her and she is very positive otherwise, would like to repair this.

Signed, Maura


Hi Maura,

While this relationship seems to have reached a low point after your trip, I’m wondering whether there were any other signs that something was amiss before—in addition to her criticism of your spending.

Traveling with a friend can be very intimate: Two people are together 24/7, under the stress of a new and unfamiliar environment, having to make a series of decisions, including things like what to do and how to spend their time and money. Also, expectations tend to run high.

Whatever the reason(s), if the trip turned out to be a bit disappointing for you, it’s likely your friend had the same experience. Maybe you weren’t compatible travelers in terms of your style of traveling and spending, or had different expectations of the trip.

Since some time has elapsed since you spoke, clearer heads should now prevail. If you miss this woman, reach out and invite her to meet and talk. See if you can get over this bump in the road and resurrect a friendship you both have valued for many years.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

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Comments (7)

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  1. Talia says:

    I’ve found people can have their own interpretation of what is fair and equitable when it comes to spending. I had an experience with a friend a couple of years ago where we travelled four hours to her mother’s home to help organize her move, closer to my friends home. I drove and even transported back and stored a few boxes that they did not want going on the moving truck.
    Not long after that this friend purchased a ticket for me to an event and when she sent me the cost I reminded her about her half of the travel costs I had incurred and what I thought was a fair adjustment to what I owed her. Well the response I got was pure outrage – how could a friend be such a penny pincher. Here I thought helping someone else’s mother and transporting and storing boxes was being a friend. All I was looking for was half the fuel charge.
    This friend and a third friend I used to travel with very often left me out of their travel plans this year. All things considered I’m probably better off.
    Money can be the root of many arguments in relationships, unfortunately its probably considered rude to ask probing questions to early at the start of a relationship to see how your styles mesh.

  2. Spending styles can be an issue in marriages. It was even somewhat of an issue when I went on a trip with my two sisters. If the writer is interested in continuing the friendship, she should reach out to have a meet up with her friend and clear the air—-preferably not via email or texts. They might want to agree that perhaps traveling together is not good for their relationship. What’s that saying, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” 😉

  3. Maddie says:

    As long as you do not borrow and do not owe, or expect a friend to pay your way, how much you spend is your business. I don’t even entertain the notion of explaining myself to that kind of intrusive comment.

    • Lynne N. says:

      That’s what I say. If it is your own money…what does it even matter???
      Good friends are hard to find for sure!
      I would love to be able to travel.

  4. Amy F says:

    Not all friends make good traveling companions. I turned down a free trip because I knew the friend who invited me would wear on me and could potentially end an otherwise good in small quantities friendship.

    My question would be, why are you allowing what felt like criticism to bother you? It sounds like you both laughed it off with her “having fun trying” comment, which to me is a fun, great comment. Your spending isn’t her concern, so I’m wondering why you bought into her comments and are letting them bother you.

    When one of my friends says something I don’t necessarily like or agree with, the only time I feel irked is if she hits a nerve because she’s right.

    If you can’t let this go without talking to her you might ask her if there was anything else going on with her comment about your spending. Don’t bring up her spending, because that will sound like you’re going tit for tat, when the issue is how you felt about a statement she made.

    I’m not one to stew about a comment if it’s an anomaly in the relationship. From huge letter, you didn’t indicate this was part of a pattern, so letting go of her statement might serve the relationship best. Whatever feels like it will make you happiest not just in the short term, but also down the road.

  5. LauraSL says:

    This doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the trip, unless spending styles caused a conflict. Otherwise, it’s none of her business how you spend your money. Unless it’s genuine concern as a friend, she should keep her opinion to herself. It sounds like there is some kind of resentment brewing on her end. I would ask her if everything is okay.

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