The ultimate test! Should you travel with friends?

For a variety of reasons, many grey nomads choose to travel in convoy with friends. There is always help and support at hand if someone suffers an accident or a bout of ill health, and it is reassuring to have a friendly face out there in unfamiliar conditions.

And then, of course, there is the company. It is wonderful to have ready-made card-playing partners and fishing companions in the RV just ahead of you.

This arrangement works well for many people, but it is not without risks. There are no shortage of stories about lifelong friends who return from a caravanning or motorhoming trip barely on speaking terms.

Or of normally easygoing holidaymakers who come to blows over whose turn it is to cook the sausages.

Travelling with friends

Travelling with mates is a risky business – petty jealousies and suppressed grievances can easily bubble to the surface. This is the ultimate test of friendship. Most nomads imagine spending happy times with people they like, but few are prepared for the strain of spending all day every day with them.

The reality can come as quite a shock.

Flexibility is important and travelling companions should be prepared to part company for a week or two and then meet up again at a pre-determined time and place. It is harder to achieve this flexibility when you set out from home with your friends, but far easier when you make your friends on the road.

During your trip you will doubtless meet like-minded and likeable people who are heading in the same direction and you may choose to travel together for a while.

grey nomads cooking sausages

‘You’re burning the sausages! I wouldn’t cook them like that!’

For many, this arrangement offers the best of both worlds. You have your company and your card-playing partners but only for as long as it suits you all. When one party wants to visit this particular spot and the other wants to visit that particular spot, you can part ways having enjoyed a few happy days together.

Remember, also, that whatever you say before you leave, you will find that travelling with friends from home will mean you will meet less people on the road than you otherwise would have – and that can add up to a lot of missed opportunities. You are less approachable when you are already part of a group.

Ultimately, travelling with friends is a matter of individual choice. It can bring immense rewards but it can also place an unbearable strain on friendships. When contemplating a trip, it is important to remember that the hardships of the road can bring out the worst, as
well as the best, in people.

Flashpoints – where friends fall out

  • When each party wants to take a different route or to see different things.
  • When one driver likes to travel faster than another.
  • When something goes wrong … mechanical troubles or even minor illnesses can put a big strain on friendships.
  • When one party wants to linger longer in a particular spot.
  • When two families have a different idea of how to while away the evening hours.
  • When parties are travelling on different budgets.
  • When people want to stay in different caravan parks.
  • When a more experienced traveller tries to take charge.

How to stay friends on the road

  • Grey nomad membershipBe flexible.
  • Travel with someone who has a similar rig as your own and in similar condition (breakdown delays are bad enough when it’s your own vehicle!)
  • Set out some ground rules.
  • Travel with like-minded individuals.
  • Be tolerant.
  • Be honest and straightforward.
  • Using a UHF radio can help you travel apart while still together.
  • Mobile phone contact can help you arrange meetings further down the track.
  • Make sure you find some time to spend on your own every now and again.
  • If you want to stop for different lengths of time in a place, just arrange to meet again further along the road.
  • Resist the urge to point out all your travelling companion’s ‘mistakes’.
  • Don’t let tensions fester … discuss any issues before they get out of hand.

– Have you travelled with friends? How did it work out? Do you have any tips to ensure harmonious travel? Email us here to share your thoughts.


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