A few years ago, our good friends invited us to go camping with them. Camping in the desert sans toilet was one experience, but traveling with another family was quite another, and I wasn’t sure how we’d fare.

Two years later, we’re still traveling together once or twice a year, and loving it.

Now, I love traveling with my husband and son, but adding friends you genuinely love adds a new dimension to traveling. We recently went to Big Bear together (our second time to their family cabin) and it renewed my enjoyment in my friends, despite a hike that broke me. Here’s why traveling with friends is so fun.

1. You Get Real Quality Time Together

I don’t know about you, but when I get together with my girlfriends, there’s never enough time to say everything that needs to be said. If we get the kids together, our time is divided between yelling at them gently correcting them and catching up. But when you spend a few days with a friend, there’s ample time for conversation.

2. You Can Be Yourself

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You have to be pretty comfortable with people to share a toilet with them and cook them bacon, as well as let your kid melt down in front of them. There are no facades when we travel together. The good, the bad, and the whiney is all laid out. And it’s kind of refreshing.

3. You Can Drink. A Lot.

When we go out, we’re limited by budgets and the need to be able to drive home. But when we’re in Big Bear or the desert, we stock up on beers, trying to impress the other party with our unique finds. And we drink. The funny thing is, we don’t even need to drink that much because the altitude wrecks our ability to consume much more than a few beers each.

4. Your Kids Leave You Alone

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We’re fortunate in that our kids get along really well, so when we arrive, we essentially set them free to run around, shoot arrows at rattlesnakes, or play Minecraft. It’s whatever.

5. You Can Enjoy Mutual Silence

Our friends are big readers like us, so it’s not uncommon to find us all sitting around reading as the breeze from the valley blows through the door at the Big Bear cabin. Some people have been known to steal other people’s books right from under their noses! 🙂

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Traveling with friends — the right friends, mind you — can really bring you closer together. I can’t wait until our Thanksgiving week camping trip!