It’s summer and you know what that means: travel time! Whether you can only get away for a weekend or you’re spending weeks exploring the wonders of Europe, Asia or some other far away wonderland, traveling can be one of the most stress relieving and joyful experiences. But, if you are traveling with a friend or a group, it’s important to get along, despite the many hours together. Whether you’re on a plane, train or in a car, keep these tips in mind so that friends and fun don’t turn into foes and frustration.
1. Make the right selection. Pick people who you like being around and then communicate plans. You shouldn’t be thinking about how you’ll get along with your friend or friends once the trip starts. This is something to consider from the very beginning, before you agree to take the trip. Sure, they may be your best friends but how well do you know them when you’re in tight quarters for extended periods of time? Little annoyances can become amplified. Trust me, you do not want two control freaks traveling together for weeks on end. Make sure to communicate clearly your travel style and priorities during the planning phase of the trip, before deposits and bookings. Is one of you picturing a 10 cities in 20 days, up at dawn kind of trip while the other is hoping for weeklong city visits that center around nightlife or just relaxing on the beach? Ensure you’re compatible before selecting a travel buddy and try to select someone you are comfortable with in many different kinds of situations. It will make all the difference.
2. Research, research, research. If there’s something you are looking forward to doing, don’t wait for your travel companion to make the plans for you. A specific museum or show caught your eye? Do the research ahead of time and find out the essential details, such as how much tickets are, how to get there, when it starts and ends, etc. This way, your travel buddy or group won’t feel like they have to go out of their way to satisfy your request. This will make the experience more enjoyable for everyone. If you want to sweeten the deal even further, cover your friend’s admission cost or invite them to lunch. Who can say no to free food in a foreign city?
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3. Be considerate and negotiate. The entire trip is not about you. Sometimes you will have to do things you might not want to do because someone else is adamant about a boring museum or a 6 am wake up call. Suck it up and realize that you are not the only one who can come up with creative and fun ideas. Your friends might have something planned you would never dream of doing. And part of fully enjoying the travel experience is being able to relinquish control. The unexpected can be much more invigorating and engaging than a mundane, preset trip. Spontaneity may not be good for picking a travel partner, but it definitely adds a little spice to the day.
4. Divide and conquer. Don’t be afraid to venture out on your own, even if it’s just for a few hours or a day. There’s no rule saying you have to be together 24/7. Take a jog down the river with music blasting through your headphones and your head in the clouds. View your solo time as a necessary part of the trip because without it, you’re more likely to fight with friends. Resentment can grow quickly when someone feels they are catering to the other’s plans too much. This is also a chance to do something that no one else seemed very interested in doing or perhaps you’ll meet new people. You tend to meet more people when you’re by yourself because you don’t have your friends to talk to and rely on. Another plus is when you reunite; you’ll have plenty of stories to exchange.
5. Keep it together. There will be crises. $%^* will happen…a flight might be delayed, so you’ll miss your connection or the taxi driver might take you to the other side of the city. One of you will most likely want to take a cab immediately, but the other would rather save the cab fare and walk through the rain. Breathe, relax and don’t take the stress or frustrations out on your travel companions. Think about the solution, not the problem.
The bottom-line is you need to be open-minded and relaxed, after all IT’S A VACATION!
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