Travelling and the business of holidaying should be an exciting, anticipated adventure, but for many it's the source of considerable stress. Whether it's purely the administrative coordination of getting from A to B, or nerves around flying or car journeys, feeling anxious in a new environment... we all have our own bug-bears when it comes to vacations. Adding in friends, new acquaintances and other relationship dynamics to that mix can lead to some awkward situations if you're not careful, but luckily whenever J and I have holidayed with friends it has been nothing but an awesome experience. We've picked up some tips around what works for us, and I thought I'd share them today - just in case you had a late summer trip planned!

TRAVEL WITH THE RIGHT FRIENDS: This might sound horrible upon first reading, but consider this - would you take your friend, who detests the theatre, to go and see a three hour Chekhov play? Probably not. Just as your mates will know you inside out, you probably already have a good idea of who you can be in close quarters and stressful situations with, and make it out alive. It's always a good idea to travel with like-minded people whose attitude to problems mirrors your own - it just keeps stress to a minimum and means any delays or hiccups will be confrontation-free.

PLAY TO EACH OTHERS' STRENGTHS: I think my friends would (lovingly) agree that I am a bit of a plan-a-holic, I love to research a trip before I leave and pick out some key places I want to visit. That being said, I am a terrible navigator and my sense of direction anywhere outside of New York (true fact) is not that great. I'm more than happy to take a back seat to my more capable comrades when it comes to getting around, but if they need a suggestion for a cute restaurant for dinner? I'm your gal. It really helps group dynamic to share that control of your plans, your movements and your holiday in general.

GET STUCK IN!: Tempting as it can be to stick to the highly-populated tourist areas, it's a lot more fun (trust) to head off the beaten track (within reason - be safe) and make your own adventures (and mistakes!). This trip to Barcelona we wondered off La Rambla to some funny little alleys and shops - we all had a good laugh and met some colourful characters in the storeways there.

DON'T BE AFRAID TO 'SPLIT UP': Not in the dramatic sense - but feel free to 'go things alone'! There are no rules that say that you have to spend every waking moment together, and actually having different experiences and being able to come back as a group and chat about them together is really refreshing. Just make sure everyone has a room/flat key, a full charge of mobile phone battery, and a meeting time and place before you leave!

BE UPFRONT ABOUT BUDGET: We Brits sometimes shoot ourselves in the foot by trying to be all 'polite' about money situations, but is there anything worse than splitting up a bill and knowing someone didn't pay their part, or a friend suggesting 'let's split this four ways!' when you know you've only had a fizzy water and a sandwich? Just be frank. You're all adults! Check menus at restaurants, make sure everyone has ticket price information when visiting attractions - transparency is key, so that you don't end up with any of those awkward 'I've run out of money and I can't have fun with you guys' type deals!

... AND DON'T UNDERESTIMATE THE VALUE OF PATIENCE: Of course you're going to have momentary differences of opinion - you're in close quarters with a group of people. Relationship dynamics dictate that most likely, everything won't be peaches and cream 100% of the time. But ask yourself if things are really worth making an issue over - you're on holiday, you're having fun - do you want to create an atmosphere? If you're really stuck on something and scared of letting a problem fester, take a deep breath and ask for a quick, quiet chat in private with said friend. More than likely they won't have intended to upset you, and you can clear up anything quickly and cleanly by just communicating.

DON'T BE 'THAT GUY': We all know 'that guy' - the one that 'knows everything about everything', pretends to be a local, says everything in their best impression of a dialect - just don't do it. Even if you've visited before, try to experience everything for the first time with your pals, because no one likes a know-it-all, am I right?

I hope these tips are useful and remember - the best rule when travelling, whoever with and wherever you go, is to take things as they come and have as much fun as you can! No one can stay angry when you're laughing your butts off at Spanish TV, right? 

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