It sounded such a good idea at the time: you love Italy, and they love Italy... you love pasta and they love pasta! And you've always had such fun together at home... The only problem is it turns out that you wanted to spend all your time on the beach, and they were looking for museums. You wanted a cheap break, whereas they wanted to push the boat out ... and you had no idea they were so uptight/disorganised/lazy/messy/boring/just rude. Ah yes, the sad fact is that some things just don't travel - and sometimes, sadly, that includes friendships.
So how do people manage it - to go away for a fun, relaxing break, and come back just as good friends as before? It can be done - but it involves tact, patience and compromise. Here's our insiders guide to travelling with friends - and keeping them.
Share the planning
While it's true that some people are better at finding that perfect little hotel than others, resentment will build if one person feels they are stuck doing all the work - and that's before you've even gone on holiday. Divide things up so that everybody is responsible for something, even if it's just working out the best way to get to the airport.
Meet your friends' friends before you agree to go on holiday with them.
Your best friend may be sure that her work colleague rocks, but if they talk shop all holiday - or it turns out the new addition likes to go loopy on Bacardi when the rest of you are quietly admiring the sunset - you'll end up hating him or her (and possibly your best friend, too).
Try to spend at least a day with any potential travel companions before you agree to anything - if something jars when you've only spent the afternoon together, it's only going to get worse over a week or two.
Keep it small
The idea of a great gang of you might sound really, really good fun when you're all planning it at the pub, but if you then spend your whole holiday trying to work out what everyone wants to do - and trying to make sure you all do it at the same time - you'll end up feeling more like you're organising an army manouvre than a holiday.
Share the heavy lifting
Sure, some people are happier cooking, and others would rather do the washing up, but try and make sure the chores (because there are always some) are spread out as evenly as possible. Don't imagine your friends aren't seething with resentment when they are left clearing up (again) while you sun yourself by the pool. They are. And they'll remember it, too.
Check to see if you are, er, hygienically compatible
Embarrassing perhaps, but if you can't stand the sight of a dirty kitchen and your friends couldn't care less, then one of you - at least - won't be happy. If you do have different attitudes, find a way to compromise. Or go on holiday with somebody else.
Set rules for the kids - and adults
You may not mind if your children are up all night and drinking coke for breakfast, but if your friends are trying to make sure everything their little darling eats is organic, you've got a battle on your hands - on all fronts.
Set shared boundaries before you go and you'll all be a lot happier. Another area to think about is discipline - are you happy for your friends to tell your kids off if you're not there? If not, you need to tell them.
Everyone has their faults - we all snore, slam doors, leave our rubbish around, are late or get overly uptight sometimes. Remember it's not forever, and let it go - after all, you're on holiday.
Spend some time alone
Yes, it's lovely to go on holiday together - but you don't have to do everything together. Even if it's only for an afternoon, make sure you arrange some time when everyone gets on with their own thing. That way you get a break from those little things which are just starting to really... niggle... and chances are you'll even be pleased to see each other again afterwards.
Assume that you have the same attitude to money as your friends
Work out what you're going to do about money before you get there. Do you want to split bills evenly, or just pay for what you had? Will you take taxis, or the bus? They sound like small things, but different attitudes to cash are guaranteed to make people mad. Really mad. And it really could ruin your holiday.
Compromise too much
Compromise on the planning, the chores, about money - but not on what you really want to do. This is your holiday too. If you really want to go on a day trip, or eat at a particular restaurant - do it, even if it means doing it alone. Don't, and you'll only end up resenting your friends for it afterwards.
Last Updated: April 2009