A lot of travelers have long distance best friends all across the world, and it can be hard to make sure you stay in touch and maintain your relationship with these people. One of my best friends lives across the country in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and we think we’ve gotten pretty good at being long-distance best friends – even on a budget! We’ve seen each other seven times since we met, and we only paid for two of those trips.
Sunjita and I met in May 2012, in Toronto when we both won the same scholarship and were flown there to speak at a gala. It was a crazy experience, and we bonded within minutes!
Here are our five tips for how to stay in touch as long distance best friends:
1. Use conferences and competitions to your advantage
We have been really successful with this strategy! The summer after we met, Sunjita and I were both selected to attend a conference (all expenses paid) in Halifax, my hometown. We realized that Sunjita could just ask to be flown in earlier, so we got to spend 3 or 4 extra days together at no extra cost to either of us. We also got to see each other quite a bit at the conference!
Since that plan worked out so well for us, we’ve done this a few more times. We were both selected for another conference in Muskoka, Ontario last summer and we made sure to spend time together a lot before and during this event.
Finally, this summer, I had to fly to Calgary for a competition. Since Saskatoon is on my way, I flew there first before leaving for Calgary a few days later. I was able to do this at little extra cost. This trip was already great enough, and then we got to see each other a few days later! We had worked on a case competition together a few weeks earlier, which was very cool since we had to create a video across the country from eachother. Two finalists were flown to Calgary to compete for the top prize, and we were chosen as one of these teams! This meant that I could just stay in Calgary a bit longer and Sunjita would be flown out to where I was.
Especially if you’re both in the same industry or educational program, this is an amazing strategy to see your long distance best friends without breaking the bank!
2. Get the same job
This one probably won’t work for most people, but it has for us! Remember that conference in Muskoka that I mentioned? That was a recruitment conference for Deloitte, a huge accounting firm. We both secured jobs at the firm this summer, although in different fields. Our work has an internal communication system, so we can chat easily while we’re at work! It’s great to talk about what’s going on in our separate offices and help eachother with more complicated jobs. We’ve even been assigned to work on the same project, so we have weekly calls.
3. Save money for trips to see each other
This one is pretty obvious, but we do have an even better way to make it work! Exactly a year after we met, we both flew to Toronto to attend the same gala as the previous year, but this time we both had to pay.
This was great, but turned out to be pretty expensive with hotels and food. The next time, I flew to Saskatoon for a week and my only real expenses were flights! I stayed at Sunjita’s house (and ate her parents’ food) and we even got to go to Banff with her family.
Even though it might be more exciting to fly somewhere together, we recommend visiting eachother’s hometowns! One of you can play tour guide, and it’s so much cheaper.
4. Set specific times to Skype
At the beginning of our friendship, we’d say we were going to Skype or Facetime and never actually follow through. Especially during the school year, we were both so busy that we’d always put it off! This year, we decided to treat Skyping just like a class or meeting – something that goes in our planners and that we have to follow through on. It worked like a charm – we video-chatted almost every week!
5. Study dates
Since we’re both studying business, in our first two years we had a lot of similar classes, like economics, intro to accounting, etc. Some of our classes even had the same textbooks! During our weekly Skype sessions, we often studied together, or quizzed each other for upcoming tests. This worked really well since we were being productive while ‘hanging out’!