Q: Do you tell a friend she or he isn’t a good travel companion? Or should you suffer in the name of friendship?
“If you have misgivings about spending time with a friend before the trip, the stresses of travel can only make things worse. If you are ambivalent about how things will go, listen to your inner voice. You don’t want to invest time and money on a vacation that one or both of you won’t enjoy. Moreover, you don’t want to create more tension between you and your friend that may strain, or even fracture, the friendship.
“It’s important to talk to your friend beforehand to discuss your expectations of the trip and reach some agreement or compromise on logistics: how much to spend, style of accommodations, sleeping arrangements, type of meals, types and amount of activity each day, how much time you will spend together versus independently.
“If you are aware that your friend likes luxury accommodations, for example, and you are on a tight budget, you need to let her know about your financial constraints. Or, if she is an early riser and you like to sleep in, will she be comfortable doing things without you in the morning?
“By having this discussion upfront, you may avoid many problems.
“Whether to go or not depends on how you feel. Are you desperate enough for a travel companion that you are willing to make concessions, or do you envision being so unhappy that you would rather save your leave for independent travel or travel with someone else?
“Another alternative would be to plan an overnight rather than a more extended vacation.”
— Dr. Irene S. Levine, psychologist, professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine and author of “Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup With Your Best Friend” (The Overlook Press)
“I’ve traveled more than enough to know that a good travel companion is just as important as my final destination. You should always be upfront with a friend who wouldn’t be a good travel buddy. Like linen pants, some people just don’t travel well! Don’t suffer in the name of friendship — instead, your friendship could suffer if you decide to book the trip with a bad partner.
“I’ve traveled the world with family members, best friends, acquaintances, boyfriends — and while some companions were great, other company shocked the hell out of me in terms of how poorly the trip went. I visited the Bahamas with one of my best friends a few years ago, and it couldn’t have gone any worse. I wanted to go explore the grounds and do activities, while she preferred hanging out by the swim-up bar at the hotel. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I should’ve recognized that she probably wasn’t going to be very adventurous long before we boarded that plane. I ended up doing all the activities alone, which wasn’t the most enjoyable thing on the planet.
“In summary, if a friend asks you to go on a vacation with them and you know this is not something that will turn out well, be honest. In the end, it could actually save your friendship, along with your valuable time and money!”
— Lesley Murphy, author of “The Road Les Traveled” blog and traveler with plenty of experience taking trips with girlfriends as a former “Bachelor” contestant
Social Graces is a weekly series asking two experts for advice on awkward situations.