There’s something incredibly exciting about the initial spark of inspiration that compels you to dream about traveling somewhere new. Even if you never end up going, it’s still incredibly fun to imagine yourself traveling on a perfect vacation. We’ve found this to be especially true when we can share this wonderful new dream of ours with someone special. Everyone starts throwing out wild ideas and exuberant plans with the best of intentions. Excitement is palpable and enthusiasm soars; you exist in a temporary state of euphoria. Before you know it, you’ve agreed to embark on this journey together – giving no more thought with whom which you’ve chosen to travel. Sadly, some people will find out far too late that even the best of friends can make for lousy travel companions. That doesn’t mean they are bad people – it’s a compatibility issue. It seems like most people believe they can travel successfully with whomever they wish. But finding the right travel companions can make or break your trip.
We’ve learned the importance of good travel companions – having been on countless trips with different people over the years. In the following few paragraphs we’ll discuss ways in which you can evaluate the people you travel with. We will also cover how you can and should adapt to your companion’s personality, habits, and quirks while vacationing together. You’ve spent an incredible amount of time and money on your vacation, after all. So it’s in your best interest to think about the people who will be joining you and the effect they can have on the success of your venture.
Where do you start
Traveling successfully with other people means first evaluating yourself – as with all important moments of growth in life. Start by asking yourself what kind of traveler you are.
- What are your strengths and weaknesses
- How do you handle stress
- How do you treat others when you are stressed or frustrated
- What are you fearful of
- How well do you get along with others
- How accommodating are you
- Can you easily adapt to various situations or are you rigid
- How well organized are you
- Are you always on time or always late
- How much sleep do you require
- How often do you need to eat
- Do you expect a certain level of service and comfort
- How well do you handle extreme activities
- What does your personal ideal vacation look like (R&R or lots of exploring)
Be brutally honest with your assessment of yourself. Don’t sugar-coat your answers to try to make yourself feel better about what type of person you are. Take the time to understand your emotions and driving factors and you will be better equipped to handle changing situations and tough circumstances. Having a clear understanding of what is most important to you strengthens your decisions. Try imagining various hypothetical scenarios and think about how you would react. You might be able to come up with solutions to problems that could play out years in the future. Isn’t personal growth fun!
Take mental notes of the above questions and apply them to your travel companions, or ask them directly, and try to adapt yourself as best you can to their weaknesses. Look for people who you would be compatible with – same enthusiasm, similar sleep schedule, ability to adapt to the situation, similar pace, etc… The last place you want to be is in a stressful situation with companions who lash-out at one another when frustrated.
Situations to avoid
Over the years we have developed a keen eye for situations that have yielded bad vacations. We have seen firsthand how these scenarios affect friendships and familial-bonds after returning from trips frustrated, annoyed, and put-out. Learn from our mistakes and avoid these missteps as best you can.
Avoid traveling with large groups
We’ve made the mistake of traveling with too many people and wound up doing next to nothing. No one could agree on what to do or when. Also, finding places that can accommodate 20 people can be a daunting task that will eat up your precious time.
Try eschewing negative people
Actually, this is just great advice for general life! Negative people will wear you out and drag you down with them no matter how positive your personality is. Sometimes, however, they can be difficult to avoid as you often can’t control who friends or family bring as their “plus 1”. Couples come as a package deal – if you want to be with one, you’re going to have to deal with the other. Adapt as best you can to their…. personality. Good luck.
Be careful if someone wants to pay for everything.
You could easily find yourself in the backseat of a vacation dictated by whoever holds the purse-strings – doubly true if you are someone who doesn’t like to rock the boat. Try and divide all the costs as evenly as possible to avoid resentment but don’t expect someone with a smaller budget to afford everything you have planned.
Leave lazy people at home.
Resentment can fester if one person refuses to lift a finger while everyone else is pitching in on something. Divide tasks amongst all group members based on knowledge, talents, and skill. If someone is great at navigating, researching, planning, or decision-making then they should be actively taking on that role for the betterment of everyone’s experience. Everyone should be contributing to the success of the trip.
Lead by Example
Remember that this whole traveling thing is a two-way street. You should be the kind of companion you would want to travel with. Don’t be a control freak and try to force your partner to only do the things you wish to do or to spend every waking second of their time with you. Try to always be positive, avoid negativity, and contribute to the success of your trip. Be decisive if others aren’t, and don’t shoot down others’ ideas immediately – create a list of all the ideas and then talk through each to find the best solution. Also, Don’t just give in to what everyone else wants to do – remember that this is your trip too and you are entitled to do and see the things you want, otherwise you may go home disappointed.
Tips for Dashing Conflict
It’s inevitable that if you travel enough you are going to find yourself in a situation that breeds conflict. If you’re in the midst of a trip hating your companion’s very existence then chances are you have been spending far too much time together. In this case, it’s favorable to split up for as much time is needed for the feelings to pass. Allow personal time for unshared interests and to unwind and detox from each other. You don’t need to be attached at the hip.
Learn how to be a problem-solver and come up with creative solutions to mitigate the idiosyncrasies of your partner’s personality. Don’t pick and poke at something that you know is going to irritate them and set them off just because you are irritated yourself – that doesn’t make you look very good. The name of the game is to adapt and learn from your experiences.
If you keep running into the same problem with the same people over the course of multiple trips then it might be time to give solo traveling a try and discover why it’s so rewarding. We hope this has opened your eyes to the importance of choosing the right travel companions as well as how they can affect your trips. And while this article may come across as overly negative, we hope that by pointing out the negativity you can find the people that bring out the happiness and positivity within you.
So, do you have any traveling horror stories? We would love to hear them and allow you to vent. Tell us all about it in the comments below, or drop us an email!
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