Traveling with Friends: 5 Simple Rules

Bantayan Island Cebu

It was a sunny to partly cloudy August 21 holiday when my high school friends and I took off for Cebu to go on a backpacking adventure.  Yes, we backpacked from north to south of Cebu all in 3 days.  It’s been a tradition of ours to go somewhere here in the Philippines or abroad at least once every year.  Each trip is different but just as fun and enjoyable as the others.

Coming from the recent Cebu trip and all our previous travels, I’ve realized that there are 5 rules for traveling with friends: 1) Assign roles; 2) Maximize your time; 3) Just roll with it; 4) Make time for alone time and 5) Relish Murphy’s Law.  Allow me to explain each one and in the process, I’ll be imparting bits and pieces of our eventful trip!


“Let’s go to Korea!”  “Game!”  “Let’s go to Cebu!”  “Game!”  “Let’s go diving!”  “Game!  Let’s go on a food trip too!”  Hadn’t anyone taken charge, nothing would’ve happened.  We would’ve gotten stuck in endless wishlist discussions on what-to-do’s and where-to-go’s.  If you and your friends are like us who don’t really see each other on a daily basis, assigning roles is pretty important when planning a trip.  I can think of several travel tasks right now, but I think there are four most important tasks that need people in charge.  Below are the qualifications and responsibilities:

  • Initiator:  His or her job begins months before the trip.  Must always be online and on the lookout for seat sales and promos.  Prompts everyone about the seat sale via SMS, almost leaving them with no choice but to say yes.  Books flights for everyone.  Oh and because of this, he or she must have a credit card.
  • Planner: OC-ness, empathy and listening skills needed.  Gets inputs from everyone and casts the itinerary in stone.  Balances out the itinerary based on each one’s preferences and limitations.  Sends out the final itinerary to all.  Tough, tough job!
  • Treasurer: Must be the most OC person when it comes to money.  Budget forecaster, custodian of cash, tracker of expenses.
  • Photographer: Should be the type to take photos of EVERYTHING — from the clouds outside the plane window to the airport sign to the food and drinks and down to the littlest of seashells by the seashore.

Cebu Travel 4It was Prach who learned about the seat sale and asked Daisy to text blast all of us.  Prach booked the flights for everyone.  Thank you, Prach!  (Photo taken at Beach Placid, the resort we stayed in)

DaisyThank you, Daisy, for being both Planner and Treasurer during this trip and all trips that came before this!  Daisy’s itinerary is always very detailed, containing a little bit of trivia about each place all the way to the per hour schedule. (Photo taken at Virgin Island, one of the islands we hopped on.)

Poopies Cebu TravelShe lives by #capturethemoments, while he believes in #enjoythemoment.  Pao thinks that taking photos of everything somewhat takes out the enjoyment, but he still supports Gian’s passion for taking photos.  Thanks, Gian, for all the photos!  Thank you, both! (Taken at Hukab Golden Cowrie in Ayala Center Cebu)


We went on a 3-hour road trip from Cebu City to Oslob, another 3-hour trip back to the city, and then another 3-hour trip from the city to Bantayan Island.  This may seem impractical to some, but we thought why not maximize our time and do everything we can while we’re there?  We really wanted to swim with the whalesharks, so we purposely took the long drives just to make it happen.  Sharing below some photos from our whaleshark or “butanding” experience!

Cebu Oslob

Oslob Whaleshark

Oslob Whaleshark 6

Oslob Whaleshark 3

Oslob Whaleshark 4

Oslob Whaleshark 5

Oslob Whaleshark 2


There will always be things on the itinerary that you’d rather not do because of fear or mere lack of interest.  Similarly, there are items on the itinerary that may not go as planned because of forces beyond your control.  Just roll with it — have a back-up plan and be thankful for the opportunity to try something new!

Cebu Edge CoasterI’m still not sure if it’s heights or roller coasters I’m afraid of, but I sure have an utterly irrational fear of at least one of them.  This is why I was dreading the edge coaster at the Cebu Sky Adventure which was number one on our itinerary!  I was actually praying for heavy rain so that we wouldn’t push through with it.  Well, I just decided to go with it and you know what?  It’s actually one of my favorite parts of the trip.  I wish I hadn’t been so scared while I was on it so I’d have a better view and appreciation of the gush-worthy Cebu skyline.  (Taken from the top of the Crown Regency, after our edge coaster ride.)

Cebu TravelWhile I was extremely agitated during our sky adventure, Aisa (front) dreaded open water.  Still, she rolled with the waves and embarked on the experience.  Good job, brave girl! (Taken in the middle of the sea somewhere between our resort and Virgin Island)

Cebu Travel 2If you haven’t downloaded the Charades or Heads Up app yet, please do so!  On our last night in Cebu, we had our sights set on a nice, rather large cottage by the beach.  We wanted to play Monopoly Deal (among others) and have some drinks there.  Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to use the cottage because it belonged to another resort, so we had to settle for a much smaller nipa hut with a smaller table and could no longer play Monopoly Deal due to lack of space.  We didn’t get what we wanted, but we had a blast playing charades and singing some Youtube karakoe songs afterwards.


This only applies to people like me who really want to take time alone once in a while.  On the Sunday morning of our trip, I took time to explore the little town of Sta. Fe in Bantayan while my friends were lounging by the beach.  Happy to share some photos from my me time:

Cebu Travel 6

Cebu Travel Bantayan Island 3

Cebu Travel Bantayan Island

Cebu Travel Bantayan Island 2

Cebu Travel Bantayan Island 4No matter how small a town is, there’s always something fascinating to learn about it.  In the photo with me is Kuya Junjun who gave me a tour of his little town during my me-time.


Again, Murphy’s Law says “anything that can go wrong will go wrong”.  Murphy was our best friend during this trip.  Murphy is like that toxic friend who stresses and pesters you.  So why relish Murphy’s Law?  This is because years from now, you and your friends will be laughing more about the things that went wrong or the little disasters that happened during your trip.  Here’s how we encountered Murphy:

cebu travel 5During this bus ride from Oslob to Cebu City, Gian was perkily taking photos of everyone.  Little did she know that her luggage, which she placed at the compartment under the bus, was already gone!  The conductor mistakenly handed it to another passenger who went down at another stop!  All of her clothes, her swimsuits, and her *gasp* selfiepod were there!  There were long discussions inside the bus operator’s office and mentions of filing complaints vs. the conductor.  Thankfully, the conductor found the bag just in the nick of time and we made it to our boat ride to Bantayan.  Yes, the incident caused us stress and panic but it’s one of the highlights of the trip!  Thank you, Murphy.   

Cebu Bantayan IslandDaisy and Prach left their room key inside the room, and we were about to head out to explore the town when we found out that they resort staff didn’t have a spare key!  They had to dismantle the door knob just to get inside.  It took them almost 2 hours but we never saw it as a plan ruiner.  While waiting, we just proceeded with our super fun photo shoot for The Tie Dye Project!  Thank you, Murphy.

Cebu Bantayan Island 2Just when we thought nothing could further go wrong on our last day, Aisa suddenly loses her underwater camera.  The other girls had to dive and swim just to find it, until they saw a happy little boy holding a new toy-treasure he found.  Aisa had to burst his bubble, of course, by taking the camera back.  Poor kid.

Oslob Whaleshark 7Pao was the lucky one.  Nothing really happened to him, but he suffered from diarrhea as soon as our plane landed back home.  Thank you, Murphy.

Incidents like this, no matter how taxing and nerve-wracking they are, are what actually makes a trip memorable.

Cebu Travel 3

I had such a great time with these guys and I’m already looking forward to our next trip.  Do YOU have your own rules when traveling with friends?  Share them below! :)

Photo Credit: Aisa Dela Cruz, Gian Ramos
Shirts: The Tie Dye Project

40 Comments on Traveling with Friends: 5 Simple Rules

  1. maria rona beltran
    September 1, 2014 at 3:00 am (4 years ago)

    hmm i am a solo traveler – i’ve been to ilocos, cebu, cdo, bacolod, iloilo, guimaras, sagada, benguet, el nido, puerto princesa, caramoan etc. ALL alone so i cannot really relate to what you say except the fact that it is cheaper to travel with buddies as you all get to share the gastos and all that. though it is sometimes sad to be alone.

    anyway whatever you’re happy with when you travel that is the most important. good luck on your future travels!

    September 2, 2014 at 3:42 am (4 years ago)

    I usually travel with one person. We’ve become each other’s travel buddy. There are a lot of pros as there are cons to travelling with a big group. I can relate with your 5 simple rules, especially number 1 and 5. I’m green with envy of your whale shark swim! :)

    • Carmel David
      September 7, 2014 at 7:30 am (4 years ago)

      Thanks! Yes, it was super fun! 😀

  3. Fernando Lachica
    September 2, 2014 at 12:40 pm (4 years ago)

    Planning for a trip with friends or family is a must because it gives proper designation in the site. This method will minimize quarreling or taking advantage with other members. Nice article indeed.

  4. Janice Min
    September 2, 2014 at 3:59 pm (4 years ago)

    OMG!!! I love this place so much!!!! Hope to go there one day… Love this post :)

    • Carmel David
      September 7, 2014 at 7:26 am (4 years ago)

      Yes, please visit Cebu! :)

  5. Raji
    September 2, 2014 at 4:15 pm (4 years ago)

    Very good post.. We always talk about the trips we intend to make but due to lack of initiation nothing happens. Looks like you had a great time 😀

    • Carmel David
      September 7, 2014 at 7:27 am (4 years ago)

      Yes I did, thank you! :)

  6. Sara
    September 2, 2014 at 4:27 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi! Great blog. Your pictures are really fun. I love the idea of having someone assigned as the photographer because I always forget to take pictures with my friends because I’m wrapped up in the moment but want to have the pictures when it’s all done.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Carmel David
      September 7, 2014 at 7:30 am (4 years ago)

      Yes that’s exactly why there should be a person who LOVES taking pictures. :) Thanks for dropping by!

  7. Nicol
    September 2, 2014 at 10:27 pm (4 years ago)

    Great tips! I’m the one who always ends up planning the whole trip lol

    • Carmel David
      September 7, 2014 at 7:29 am (4 years ago)

      Thank you! And thank God for people like you! Every group of friends needs one! Haha!

    • Carmel David
      September 7, 2014 at 7:26 am (4 years ago)

      I hope you get to! You’re welcome and have fun!

  8. Kathy Ngo
    September 3, 2014 at 1:20 pm (4 years ago)

    I’ve never been on a trip with friends. Hopefully soon and most likely, I am photographer. :)

    • Carmel David
      September 7, 2014 at 7:26 am (4 years ago)

      Haha I’ve seen your blog and yes, you’ll probably be photographer. 😀 Enjoy!!!

  9. Sharon Sree
    September 3, 2014 at 2:02 pm (4 years ago)

    This was an insightful piece.. I used to travel with friends when I was in college and this tips would have definitely kept us sane and grounded.

  10. lorna mai
    September 3, 2014 at 11:17 pm (4 years ago)

    I usually go away with just one other person but I can still benefit from your useful tips! I haven’t heard about Murphy’s Law in years!! Your photos look such fun!

    • Carmel David
      September 7, 2014 at 7:24 am (4 years ago)

      Thank you! Yes, I did have fun. :)

  11. Alfia Widati
    September 4, 2014 at 3:41 am (4 years ago)

    Ahh I love the sea.. And I think I need vitamin sea. Hehehe. Definitely superb your underwater photo! So much fun!! I think I need some tickets booking now. LOL…

    • Carmel David
      September 7, 2014 at 7:24 am (4 years ago)

      Thank you! Yes, please visit the Philippines, we have the best beaches! :)

  12. Alpha Leonis
    September 4, 2014 at 10:25 am (4 years ago)

    Its always good to go on a holiday with a bunch of friends, in my group we definitely have an initiator and a planner but we dont have a treasurer …. so we always end up spending more than what we had planned.

    • Carmel David
      September 7, 2014 at 7:23 am (4 years ago)

      Haha it happens! But at least you still enjoy! :)

  13. Sol Felice
    September 4, 2014 at 9:23 pm (4 years ago)

    This is spot-on! Sometimes when we are with our friends, we tend to have too much fun in the moment that we tend to forget about a few things. :)

  14. Khushboo
    September 6, 2014 at 6:49 pm (4 years ago)

    Absolutely wonderful and useful tips! The photos are looking amazing, too. Do give my compliments to the photographer. :)

    • Carmel David
      September 7, 2014 at 7:12 am (4 years ago)

      Thank you! :) Some photos were by me, but most were c/o my friend and yes, will let her know! :)

  15. mollymia
    September 7, 2014 at 2:50 am (4 years ago)

    ““Let’s go to Korea!” ”Game!” ”Let’s go to Cebu!” ”Game!” ”Let’s go diving!” ”Game! Let’s go on a food trip too!” Hadn’t anyone taken charge, nothing would’ve happened. ”

    i totally feel for this. in fact, i had once stupidly went ahead to plan the entire trip and they just pulled out saying, it was just a suggestion.

    • Carmel David
      September 7, 2014 at 7:09 am (4 years ago)

      Hahaha! Funny story. :)) I hope your trip still pushed through, even if they thought it was just a suggestion!

  16. cindy tong
    September 7, 2014 at 6:40 pm (4 years ago)

    wow really a good tips!!it;s really helpful..thx for sharing..

  17. Sarah
    September 8, 2014 at 2:47 am (4 years ago)

    You had such a great group of friends!! Looks like you had tons of fun too!! =)

  18. Caity @ Moi Contre La Vie
    September 8, 2014 at 3:41 am (4 years ago)

    Great tips! Traveling with friends can be fun but very stressful. Thanks! <3 GIGLove

  19. Beauty Blogette
    September 8, 2014 at 9:17 pm (4 years ago)

    Nice photos & great tips! Looks like you had a great time. :)

  20. Natasha
    September 9, 2014 at 3:44 am (4 years ago)

    Oh wow! Now that’s what I call a vacation! Loos like you all had a great time.

  21. yuhjiun
    September 10, 2014 at 3:03 pm (4 years ago)

    omg totally agree with you!! and really great tips hehe 😀 love all your travel pics!

  22. Dok Tour
    September 12, 2014 at 8:22 am (4 years ago)

    Wow! It’s high time to swim with the whalesharks! Amazing photos!


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