Travelling with your siblings seems like a no-brainer. After all, they know you better than anyone else, so you can be really honest, completely unwind, and be yourself on the journey. Having said that, I’ve had some pretty bad bust-ups with my siblings on the road – like screaming matches complete with personal belongings beings lobbed across the room. Here are some tips I’ve learned that’ll help you travel with your siblings better, so you don’t strangle each other in the process.
1. You are not the parent
Realise that if your sibling is old enough to travel without your parents, they’re old enough to have their own opinion and make their own choices. In line with this, you shouldn’t expect them to do as you say now as they may have done in the past. This applies especially if you’re an older sibling. It’s important to accept that your brother or sister has grown up and is now their own person. Respect them as an adult and treat them as you would a good friend, not a child.
2. Consider each other’s travel styles
It’s extremely important to understand and appreciate the type of travel your siblings prefer before the trip and to make a compromise. Do they prefer luxury or budget travel? Do they want to lie on the beach all day or ride quad bikes through a desert?
I prefer adventure travel on a budget, while my younger sister prefers sunbathing, yoga, and staying at more upmarket resorts. So, when I booked a basic, no-frills apartment in Bosnia and organised for us to hike up a mountain the next day it didn’t go down too well! It would have saved a lot of sulking and arguments if we’d had a proper conversation about each other’s expectations.
3. Delegate responsibilities
Resentment can (and will) build up if one sibling feels like they are ‘doing everything’. It’s time to empower your siblings and delegate responsibilities. However, be sure to let them own it and don’t try to micromanage them. When my siblings and I embarked on a road trip, I was in charge of planning the itinerary, my big sister was appointed chief navigator, my brother did a lot of the driving, and my younger sister was in charge of searching for accommodation on the trip. It worked like a treat as we all felt like we were useful, and no one was overwhelmed with trying to organise everything.
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4. Money talks
It’s often difficult to have conversations about money with family, as it might feel petty or calculative. In actuality, it can work wonders for your sibling relationship, as there will be no confusion or doubts about who paid for what and is owing to whom and why. I used the Splitwise app to help me track everyone’s expenses on the trip. If you feel in control of your finances, you’re more likely to treat your sibling to a meal or excursion, which does wonders for the harmony of the trip!
5. Don’t rally family soldiers
If you do inevitably have a disagreement with a sibling while on holiday, try not to drag other family members into the mix, as it will escalate the issue unnecessarily. In the heat of the moment, you say and do things you don’t mean (I may have thrown my sister’s coat out the window in a fit of rage after mistakenly thinking she threw mine away first. She didn’t, my brother borrowed it as he was cold. Brothers eh!). The worst thing you can do is have a b!tching session with another family member about your sibling. It won’t resolve the issue and will only add fuel to the fire. Go for a walk. Cool off. Then talk it out with your sibling.
6. Don’t let the past interfere with the present
Do you remember a past habit that you’ve worked on and now no longer do? How does it make you feel after trying very hard to change your bad habit when someone constantly reminds you of it? When things get a bit stressful on the trip, try not to remind your siblings of their old annoying habits. For example, saying, “You are always late! Remember that time we nearly missed our plane because of you?” It adds no value and will only serve to create an argument.
Travelling with my siblings over the years has provided me with some of the best memories of my life. Once I began seeing my siblings as friends and respected them as individuals, I noticed we argued less, laughed more, and our relationship blossomed and strengthened.
*All images courtesy of the author.