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After school I went on a 2 months travel trip with my best friend. We knew each other for 13 years, and it started really great. But after 2 or 3 weeks, we noticed that it is a difference between going to school together from 9:00 till 17:00 or staying together almost 24/7. I discovered some characteristics that I've never seen before at my friend and I think it was the same the other way round. Nevertheless we had a great trip, but sometimes, especially during long journeys or when it was necessary to make a important decision we were really annoying each other.

So my question is, what techniques are there to avoid annoying on another when staying together 24/7 during a long travel trip?

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This applies also to couples, especially if you haven't lived together. In fact if you're a couple thinking of getting married and haven't lived together this is the ultimate compatibility test! –  hippietrail Aug 31 '11 at 7:33
    
I agree on that ;) –  RoflcoptrException Aug 31 '11 at 8:06
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@hippietrail: In Japan, there's even a special expression for couples who first discover this during their honeymoon and effectively break up as soon as they are back home (at Narita international airport): Narita Rikon (divorce). –  Michael Borgwardt Oct 15 '12 at 19:57
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5 Answers

up vote 15 down vote accepted

A few things I'd suggest:

  • Don't spend every waking moment together. Maybe that means one of you does the modern art gallery while the other visits the ancient history museum, or maybe that you go round a gallery at different speeds and meet in a cafe at the end
  • Make sure you both roughly agree on the expected costs and comfort levels in advance
  • Be prepared to compromise
  • Sometimes, go a little out of your comfort zone when doing something your friend really wants to
  • Be honest when something doesn't work out
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+1 for the expected costs and comfort levels. This also applies when meeting up with people as part of a bigger trip where the person on the long trip will be spreading their money pretty thin and the person on the short trip may be splurging. –  hippietrail Aug 31 '11 at 7:34
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Prepare your trip together before departure.

I don't mean planning every detail such as hotel booking or what to do at each place and the exact dates of moving from one place to the other.

I mean discuss together about how you imagine the trip: budget or luxury, need one shower per day or once a week, travel light with time spent washing clothes or having a big backpack, visit as many places as possible or stay several days at one place, wake up early or prefer nightlife...

Be open to your mate's opinions and then make compromises. You even can choose to make separate subtrips and meet again some days after: it opens the opportunity to chat about what you experienced when alone.

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+1 for the separate subtrips part –  hippietrail Aug 31 '11 at 7:31
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You need to find out before travelling what sort of a traveller or experience your travel mate has. You may be okay with living in the cheapest hostel you can get, but your mate might not. Too often it's easy when one of the partners has more travelling experience that the other person will leave the planning up to you and then not be happy about a different level of comfort. It's important when travelling for a week or longer to also not always eat meals with each other or go to the same places...but at the same time it is important to do some activities together to keep everyone happy.

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I agree with all previous answers, but I want to add another important problem that I recently encountered and which I think should be discussed before a big trip.

I think before going to a big trip with a travel mate one should also talk about the safety level that each traveler expects. The subjective safety can vary heavily and if you do not agree on a common "safety range" it can lead to problem.

For example if one of two travelers has to go out all night in very dark streets with dodgy types and he does not feel well with that this can lead to problem sooner or later.

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"one of two travelers has to go out all night in very dark streets with dodgy types" - you have, erm, interesting travel mates. Probably lots of stories to tell too. –  Ankur Banerjee Sep 6 '11 at 10:28
    
That was just an example ;) –  RoflcoptrException Sep 6 '11 at 10:34
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Very good question! I lost my share of (good) friends because of travel together for a longer period. As @hippitrail said traveling is a great relationship validator!

Some things I can suggest:

  • Do short trips before going on a long trip
  • Don't fall in love while traveling. This is definitely a deal breaker!
  • Agree on whether or not you accept other travel companions or prefer to stick to each other.
  • If thing grow sour, accept it, split up and allow a cool down period.
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