Tips for Successful Travel with Friends
It’s inevitable…something will go wrong when you travel with friends. On a recent trip, my traveling partner didn’t share my love of the land and didn’t tell me of their reticence before the trip. After a couple of days of ‘knowing’ something wasn’t quite right, it surfaced the day before a big drive through the country. My companion was feeling uptight and unsafe in this place that I adore. We were at the beginning leg of a three week dream trip for me, and NOW my partner tells me he doesn’t really want to be on the trip?! But, you can overcome almost any obstacle when traveling, alone or with others. Here are some steps to take to continue successfully on your journey.
Be open to the wishes of others
Listen from an open and heartfelt place to yourself and your traveling partner. Often, you find that one person needs a little more information and the other was under the impression they were clear. You must listen with the purpose of understanding, not of preparing your rebuttal. It doesn’t matter if you think the way they do or not, but it does matter that you find a way to understand their feelings and needs, and vice versa.
Stay true to your dream
Never, and I mean NEVER, give up your experience for someone else’s. You will resent your traveling partner for ruining your trip, and that isn’t fair because you decided to give up your experiences to avoid conflict. It isn’t only your trip, and it isn’t just theirs either, so work together here. When traveling with a companion, work through differing choices and opinions on what to do for fun. Bringing your individual identities to the adventure will enhance the overall feel of the trip.
Enjoy the negotiations
Embrace the experience of planning a trip with someone else as an adventure. Plan your perfect trip (and know what is negotiable for you) then come together with your traveling partner and weave the two tours together. I always do this with my children. We each choose 1-5 things we want to do, see or experience on vacation. Then we work as a team to put those things in order of importance, see where there is overlap and see if someone has an idea that is even better than ours. I have a strict policy that a trip is a success if it’s a five-day trip and you get to three things on it. Be sure everyone has this attitude. I make sure that each person gets to experience at least one thing on their list.
Take me time
If traveling without children, be prepared to go it alone to something of interest for you. You don’t need to drag your companion along to swim with the wild pigs in the Bahamas. You can do it with a tour group if you want companions, and they can have a lovely day doing whatever isn’t on your list of experiences.
Don’t forget the R&R
Take care not to pack every day so full of tours and adventures that you come back more exhausted than you left! Not everyone travels alike. Some like to go non-stop morning, noon and night, while others want to sit on the beach, watch the waves and nap for seven days. Make sure your traveling companion(s) match your style or are willing to go it alone when others don’t want to. I’ve taken trips with go-go-goers where a highlight was the end of each day, toasting the sunset and sharing our stories. It was like getting two vacations in one.
Keep the end game in mind
In the end, remember why YOU travel. Follow that. If it is for rest and relaxation, then plan for it. If you are all about adventures and tours, then go with a group that goes non-stop. Be ready to meet new like-minded friends who will be ready to jump on the next adventure with you.
I blend my relaxation with my observational experiences. I love walking through a new place to find a gem of a restaurant, café or boutique hotel off the beaten tourist path. My best days occur when I have made a wrong turn, or when I’ve followed my curiosity to see what was down that little road. I have stories about finding the best wine bar in Birmingham, Alabama, the coolest rental in Ladyville, Belize, the best small hotel in Tamarindo, Costa Rica and my favorite AirBnB in Culver City. For me, the fun is in the experiences and the people you meet along the way.