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How To Travel With Friends And Remain Friends

Kayaking on the Pont du Gard travellling with friends

Let’s Travel Together

Join me while we go camping for the weekend. We’ll sleep in tents, eat dehydrated food, trek many miles through the wilderness, get mosquito bites galore, and get blisters and filthy dirty. Then we’ll come home exhausted.

Someone I know does this every year. He loves it and will say he had a great time. Not my cup of tea, but as the French would say, “A chacun son gout” (to each his own).

Travelling With My Dearest Friends

One of the true tests of friendship is travelling together to France. How can you travel there and still remain friends? Here are my tips and questions one needs to consider (thanks for the input from Judy and Laurie who have travelled with me to France numerous times):

1. “I Can’t Travel With Her. She Snores!”

If you have never spent an overnight trip with your potential travel partner, going to France is probably not the place to try it out. You need to discover if your friend snores, is an early bird, night owl, smoker, picky eater, or simply has some idiosyncrasies that would drive you nuts.

Gordes France

Gordes France

Bug in Gordes, France.

Bug in Gordes, France.

I’m fortunate that when we’ve had to share a room, neither Judy nor Laurie have snored and they have had no aversion to killing bugs. Sadly, in each house we have rented, there have always been bugs/centipedes/daddy longlegs that have freaked me out and they would kill them for me. I am still apologizing to Laurie for screaming from my bedroom in Normandy, pleading with her to come down to my bedroom to kill a bug that had hopped on top of my bed.

But Judy, why did you have to throw MY shoe at the bug to kill it?

So here are some things to ponder:

  • What are your interests? Do you want to eat out all the time? Go out every night? Are you both active and interested in an active vacation where there’s biking or hiking? An art/museum vacation where you spend hours touring the Louvre in Paris?
  • How independent/dependent are you?  Could you cope with eating alone?
  • How healthy are you?  Are you up to walking a lot in Paris with your friend?

2. “Shall We Go To France?”

Jan and Laurie on Fat Tire Bike Co Tour, Paris France

Jan and Laurie on Fat Tire Bike Co Tour, Paris France

Do you both really want to go to France? Going to France is not like going to a nearby town from where you live for one night. So many things are different besides the time change.  It Won’t Be “Like Home” so are you prepared for different food? a different language? The customs? And, are you prepared for the long flight over and jet lag?

  • Research: One year Laurie and I sat on her porch trying to plan a trip. We picked Hawaii. Researching what we wanted to see was key. And it was important that we did this well in advance of the trip date. We needed time to research what interested us.
    • However, after talking a while we both said, “This doesn’t feel right. We love France. Why don’t we go back to France, but a new region? The Alsace?” That did it. It felt right.

3. Negotiation And Compromise

Chateau de Chambord, France

Jan and Judy at Chateau de Chambord, France

When you’ve determined you CAN travel with your friend, it becomes a question of flexibility, negotiation and compromise.

  • Where shall we go in France? What shall we see?
  • Last Spring Judy and I went to see the chateaux of the Loire Valley. I had been a few times before but I love architecture so I had no problem going again. But it was important that we discussed the chateaux that Judy wanted to see (some of the top 10) and some new ones for me.

4. Do Some Things On Your Own

Macarons from Cordon Bleu, Paris

Macarons from Cordon Bleu, Paris

One of the best things about travelling with Judy and Laurie is that there is no obligation to spend 24/7 with each other.

When we’re researching an area, we share with each other things that we want to see. We create a “shopping list” of experiences and sites that interest us.  We have the option of touring around on our own and then meeting up later, say, at dinner time. This has worked extremely well and maybe that’s why Judy, Laurie and I have been able to travel together so many times.

One year I had signed up to learn how to make macarons at Cordon Bleu. Rather than join me, Judy walked around Paris and then hung out in Luxembourg gardens. We met up afterwards at the Trocadero, site of the Palais de Chaillot, where we drank some wine and munched on many of the macarons I had just made. A perfect ending to a day while overlooking the Eiffel Tower.

So, you get the best of both worlds travelling with a friend: some alone time and opportunities to have shared experiences exploring France.


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