Traveling with friends can be fun but also frustrating. Find out how different personalities clash or mesh on group trips.

Vacation Gone Awry: A Tale of Twelve Friends
Traveling with friends

This summer, a gang of twelve friends, including myself, decided to spend our vacation together by renting a spacious house. I was tasked with the collection of the rental fees so I could secure our accommodation. While several friends promptly paid their share, others procrastinated or completely dodged my requests.

Due to the delay in payments, the initial house we had set our eyes on was taken by someone else because I couldn't make the deposit in time. Scrambling to find an alternative, I stumbled upon another vacation home. It was equally appealing but could only accommodate eight people. Since I only had the funds that were given to me, I went ahead and booked it.

Weeks passed, and suddenly the remaining four friends were ready to contribute financially. I explained that the original choice was no longer available and that we'd settled for a smaller place. I suggested that we could make use of extra inflatable mattresses to accommodate everyone. They were not pleased, insisting that if they were paying full price, they deserved their own rooms. I pointed out that everyone was paying the full rate and it was only fair that we share the available spaces.

This resulted in two of them backing out of the trip altogether, while the other two decided to book a room in a hotel roughly 30 minutes away from where we would be staying. Needless to say, they weren't happy about the switched plans which I admittedly settled without their immediate input.

The rest of the group, seven to be precise, were perfectly content with the arrangements.

Honestly, I can’t help but feel conflicted. Was I wrong here? It seems logical to me that plans had to shift given the circumstances.

Imagine this scenario being played out in a reality TV show format. The tensions and drama unfolding around the decision-making and accommodations might actually boost viewer ratings. Cameras could capture the heated discussions, the moment of booking mishap, and even the reactions of the group as they navigate this less than ideal situation. It would be intriguing to see the broader audience reaction, whether they would side with the planner facing a tough situation or sympathize with those who felt slighted.

I'm curious, if I were on a reality show, would the viewers think I handled the situation fairly?

Planning a Trip Without A Difficult Friend: Is It Wrong?
Traveling with friends

Since high school, I've had two best friends that made up our inseparable trio: Alex (M19 and openly gay) and Rachel (F19). We went through a lot together during those years. About a year ago, though, Rachel started dating someone and it felt like she just didn't make as much effort to hang out. Nevertheless, we planned a celebratory group trip to the Dominican Republic for the end of our senior year. Although we were thrilled, it didn't kick off well when Rachel fell ill on the plane, setting the tone for what was to come.

During our stay at the resort, Rachel often complained about minor inconveniences like meal options and early morning excursions, and she preferred turning in early. One night, things escalated when she lashed out at Alex and me, accusing us of leaving her out, desiring the presence of other friends, and criticizing our enthusiasm for taking photos. She particularly directed her frustration at me, throwing around insults that stung. When we did get a moment alone, after she calmed down and Alex was preoccupied, we discussed everything. I explained how her distancing herself after getting a boyfriend made Alex and I closer, as we shared more experiences like graduating together from the same school, working at the same job, and just generally spending more time together.

Thankfully, we've moved past it, and the vacation, albeit with its ups and downs, turned out to be a blast. But now, three months later, Alex and I are planning a European adventure to Barcelona, Rome, and the Amalfi Coast and we haven't told Rachel. Given the dynamics of the previous trip, I'm hesitant to invite her knowing the challenges of longer travels and numerous destinations over 10 days. If she knew we were planning this without her, she'd undoubtedly be upset.

Alex came up with a strategy to avoid hurting her feelings: we pretend that the opportunity arose unexpectedly from a travel agent friend who mentioned a discounted package originally meant for a honeymoon, implying that it's exclusively for two. The plan sounds foolproof as it technically doesn’t accommodate a third person. Yet, part of me wonders if this deceit might actually be worse than just admitting she's a difficult travel partner.

Imagine, what if I were on a reality show? The cameras capturing every whispered strategy, every awkward conversation. How quickly could friendly deceit spiral into a dramatic on-screen fallout? It's one thing to handle these dilemmas privately, but under the watchful gaze of the public, each choice and word becomes part of a narrative we can’t easily control. Would the audience side with Rachel feeling excluded, or understand our need for a smoother holiday? It's a scenario ripe for reality TV drama.

Is it wrong to lie about the travel opportunity to avoid inviting a friend? Should we simply invite her anyway? What would you do?

Opting Out of a Boozy Birthday Bash
Traveling with friends

I am 22 and I have a friend, Lauren, who really celebrates her birthday in a big way every year, which is totally fine by me. However, when we both turned 21 last year, she organized a trip to Florida with several of our close friends. I chose not to go because the trip centered heavily on bar-hopping and alcohol, which isn't really my thing. Not only do I generally avoid alcohol, but I also thought it was impractical to spend on a trip mainly for drinking, especially since it conflicted with my college schedule. The trip was planned for a time when I would need to keep up with schoolwork and miss several classes. The plan was to stay at an Airbnb and basically party – something I’m usually not excited about. I’m not judging anyone for enjoying a relaxed vacation that involves drinking; it's just not for me. Moreover, spending $500-900 on something I wouldn't enjoy didn't seem right.

I kindly turned down the invitation, but it didn’t go over well with Lauren. She later expressed disappointment, suggesting that by not joining the trip, I wasn’t supporting her or fully participating in her birthday celebration. On her actual birthday, I did celebrate with her and even gave her gifts. Lauren implied that I wasn’t being a truly supportive friend, arguing that if the roles were reversed, she would have joined the trip simply to be there for me, regardless of the setting. She also pointed out that since my boyfriend and I managed a vacation recently, I should be able to make an exception for her. Moreover, she even offered to pay for my trip, insisting that there were no valid reasons for my absence. However, the truth is the appeal was just not there for me—adding to my dislike of the heavy drinking and sports watching that I knew would dominate the vacation.

When my boyfriend and I went away to Disney for a week during my winter break, the holiday was different. We planned the entire trip, involved zero alcohol or clubbing, and focused on activities we both enjoy. This contrasts sharply with Lauren's spontaneous and loosely planned trip style, which I find stressful. But why must I even justify my travel choices to her?

Looking ahead to 2024, Lauren seems to be planning another similar celebration in Florida for her birthday. I am likely to be invited but have already decided against going. I’m okay with the boundaries I’ve set, even if she isn't.

If this situation played out on a reality TV show, I can imagine the dramatic music and cutaway interviews where everyone weighs in on my decision. There would likely be lots of opinions, with some calling me unsupportive and others applauding me for sticking to my guns and setting healthy boundaries. The tension would certainly be highlighted, and viewers would probably be split on my decision.

Should I go on the Florida trip to support my friend?

Dine Out Drama: The Cost of Generosity
Traveling with friends

My wife and I often travel with a couple who are close friends of ours, along with our kids who are around the same age. Since our financial situation allows us a bit more leeway, I typically cover the costs without much thought—until a recent incident!

During a trip, we all decided to dine at a seafood place. My wife and I chose moderately priced dishes from the lower end of the menu, and we let our kids pick from the children’s menu. However, our friends decided to order the priciest items available and didn’t stop there; they added a heap of extra sides, several beers, and as the meal was winding down, broached the topic of dessert. Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of food already ordered, I mentioned perhaps skipping dessert since there was plenty left over. I even had the waitress pack some of it up to take home.

Making a light-hearted comment to my wife about the excessive amount of food, my friend suddenly asked to speak with me privately. He confronted me, suggesting I was trying to embarrass him by refusing dessert and making my earlier comment. He felt insulted, claiming I treated him as if he needed permission to order what he wanted. I explained that his ordering felt inconsiderate of our generosity, which only seemed to upset him more, leading to his declaration that he no longer wished to join us on outings.

Was I really in the wrong here?

Imagine how this situation could escalate on a reality TV show. Cameras would zoom in as tension builds at the table, capturing every discontented glance and muttered remark. The dramatic aside with my friend would likely be a heated scene, amplified by tense music, possibly leading viewers to passionately take sides. The episode would close leaving viewers eager to find out if the friendship survives the fallout or if pride will prevent reconciliation.

Friendship Tested: Drama and Discord on a U.S. Road Trip
Traveling with friends

I just got back from a 10-day vacation across the USA with a good friend, and it turned out way different than expected. I'm eager to hear your thoughts on whether I'm making too much of this and what you might have done in my shoes.

The trip started off well—we saw amazing sights, enjoyed delicious food, and had a great time together. However, certain actions from my friend bothered me. For instance, at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC, she got way too close to the artwork, practically pressing her nose against a painting by Monet. Even after a guard intervened, she didn't seem to understand the issue. She also ignored common etiquette in the subway by not standing on the right side of the escalator, and climbed on a historical monument at George Washington’s Mount Vernon just for a photo.

Things really escalated during our time in Washington DC. On our last day, after visiting the museum of African American culture, we were planning to see the Supreme Court and the Library of Congress. Out of nowhere, a girl from back home in Belgium recognized my friend; she was an old middle school classmate. My friend ignored me and spent hours catching up with her, leaving me to roam the museum alone and eventually missing out on our scheduled visits. I tried contacting her multiple times with no response. When we finally reunited just before the museum closed, she brushed off my frustration, leading to silence between us for the rest of the trip.

It was our first trip to the States (we’re both 24 from Belgium), and we had previously traveled to several countries without any issues like this.

Imagine if this was all happening on a reality show! The cameras would emphasize every awkward moment and every confrontation, potentially blowing things out of proportion. Viewers would likely pick sides, speculating on the drama and maybe even rooting for it to escalate. It’d be interesting to see if public opinion would lean towards sympathy for my situation or if they’d view my reaction as an overblown response.

What would you do if your friend ditched you on vacation?