Another glorious summer long weekend has passed, perhaps you were lucky enough to jet someplace fabulous, or pile into the car for a road trip. There is nothing quite like travelling to cement a relationship. The gloves come off, so to speak. When cramped quarters, jet lag or language barriers are factored in, true colours are unabashedly revealed.
Most travel let-downs can be quelled by discussing how you see things shaking out...
Arrange a pre-departure coffee or cocktail with your travel mates to chat about the big picture stuff. Will you share a room? Is the plan to travel together the entire time, or are you hoping to break off for a few days by yourself? Now is the time, well before the trip, to discuss these particulars.
Try to really, really relax. Hours cramped into a car or on a plane, lack of sleep, and the other less sexy elements of travelling take their toll on the most positive people. Take it easy on your companions, be the first to help them out and they'll do the same for you.
Resist the urge to over-plan a trip and keep a few things in mind that you can do alone. Throwing your running shoes into your bag can offer up a short reprieve and some time for yourself, which might be desperately needed. Inevitably, not everyone shares the same interests, and everyone relaxes in their own way.
Respect communal space. By all means settle into holiday mode, but be mindful of the spaces you share with your travel companions. The vanity isn't your own personal primping area. Your iPod isn't necessarily the soundtrack for the group. The teeny tiny closet isn't just for your belongings.
Lastly, avoid quibbling over cash. Don't fret over petty spending. A meal here, or a taxi ride there, isn't worth fretting over and will only put a damper on your trip. In fact, you might want to establish a convivial vibe from the start by picking up the first round of celebratory drinks.
Before -- maybe long before -- your trip, get together with everyone in your group and go over the basics: Will you all share one room, or get a few and split? Will you stay together for the duration of the trip, or will you part to do your own thing? Having these conversations beforehand solidifies the parameters of the trip before you're miles (or oceans) away from home, and gets everything out on the table.
Some of the best adventures are had by the seat of the pants, at the spur of the moment and completely unplanned. While making plans with regards to health, safety and budget in advance are always good ideas, don't feel you need to trace your road-trip route in indelible ink. Sometimes going off the beaten path leads to the best stories of all!
There's nothing worse than a travel partner who can't just chill out and go with the flow. Travel is messy, unpredictable and sometimes uncomfortable and all of these moments are only made worse with a whiner in the group. Sit back, take a deep breath and remember that you're on an adventure and it's all just part of the ride!
If you're on a road trip, don't bring your entire wardrobe -- other people need trunk space too! If you're sharing a hostel in Bangkok, don't fill the bathroom with all your hair products (why'd you even bring those anyway?) This one's easy -- just share, like you always have. And handy tip: Don't be the person who lags behind because they brought way too much luggage.
Travelling in a group means lots of meals, sleeps and drinks as a team, and it's not so friendly to divide the bill up down to the last penny each and every time. If you're low on funds, make sure you communicate that to your buds (maybe in that pre-game meeting!) so you don't end up doing activities out of your price range. Other than that, don't be a scrooge -- pick up a drink tab every once in a while for the sake of peace!
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