At the risk of starting this post off like a 4th grader….My two most favorite things to do in the whole wide world are eating out and travelling. I’ve always loved to travel and as an adult when I couldn’t find anyone to go with, I simply chartered the course on my own. In the last few years however, I’ve settled on a set clique that I would go anywhere with at the drop of a dime.
Travel has developed a somewhat undeserving reputation as an unattainable or at the very least grossly expensive luxury. That said, though there are many ways to see the world on a budget, when it comes down to it, travel still isn’t exactly cheap.
One of the things that makes travel affordable is also the thing that can make it the least rewarding. Staying in a $1000 a night suite, can quickly become $250 a person when 4 people go in on the reservation. Deciding who to travel with is as important as any other devised details. Few things are more painful than being in a beautiful place with difficult people.
I’m currently in the process of planning several trips, most of which will be taken with my regular travel clique. Through my planning, I was segued into thoughts regarding why it’s always so great/easy to travel with these girls. Here’s a list of a few key characteristics to assess when making plans for travel with friends.
Their Travelling Style
I’m the girliest of the girls in my group, which says a lot for our masculine temperent. If you’re not a true girly girl as none of us are, this business of waiting on someone to take 3 hours to get ready will grow tiresome really quickly. If you and your girls are all into primping then that’s 3 hours well spent. There’s no right way to do things but it’s easiest when you’re all on the same page. Some people like to stay in 4star hotels and pencil in spa days, others like to backpack off the beaten path.
Some people travel to escape the bustle of regular life and enjoy the splendour of simply resting. Others follow rigid schedules and lonely Planet their way through every popular sight. This could make the difference between needing a vacation from your vacation or coming back rested but missing out on some things. Neither of which are a bad thing, but can lead to an unfulfilling experience if everyone isn’t on the same page.
Bad energies can suck the life out of an entire vacation. When one person is easy going and the other one is ridiculously particular, it can impede the fun factor of any trip. Personalities will always have the potential of clashing but if the temperament of the group is more or less the same, the drama won’t persist. In Jamaica, there’s a popular saying, “see me and live wid me a two different things.” It means that you may think you know someone based on numerous short term interactions but when you live with them day in and day out, it’s a whole other experience. When you travel with someone, your essentially entering a short term living situation. Rest assured that temperaments don’t show until then.
Their Financial Approach
Budget is a very big part of trip planning. It sucks to make plans for a trip, only to find that once you’ve arrived, you can no longer partake in certain activities because someone wasn’t honest with you or themselves about their finances. I’ve had to pass up on several trips because I can’t afford them.
Finances often cause the greatest rifts in any relationship, so do yourself a favor and exercise fiscal responsibility with your friends. As soon as some kind of bill split is brought up we are all very good about forking up our share. I’ve never had to ask the girls in my group for money owed, even something as small as a $2 fare split for an uber. Never resolve that $2 is nothing (because 10 $2 rides do add up), instead always render your share and have your friend(s) choose to decline. A good work around budget issues is simply planning. Planning ahead gives an opportunity for everyone to save towards the trip. Take it up a notch and start a saving pool, paying towards your trip every pay period or month until you get to the budgeted price.
Transparency is also key in group planning. The girls and I have known each other for over 10 years and traveled together for just about 6 or so. We trust each other without question but we still share every major receipt. If the hotel cost is $500, you will have an email stating it is so. Don’t put your friends in a position to ever ponder if they’re being gypped.
Their ability to Compromise
Of all the pointers, the only thing anyone truly ever has to assess is the ability of their travel partners to compromise. That’s the hallmark of what makes any travel group click. I hate shopping, but one of my friends lives for buying stuff abroad. I love botanical gardens. Both of my friends think it’s a waste of time to go look at flowers, but every trip is planned with both shopping and parks on the itinerary and we’re all happy to give each other time to do the things the other enjoys. Travelling should never be a selfish experience. There will always be points where you’d prefer to do something else, but a lot of times, those experiences may very well end up fulfilling.
Before you take whatever you consider to be a big trip (for me, that’s an international flight beyond 5 hrs) with persons whom you’ve never traveled, consider the items above. Before you spend your whole pay check flying off on some exotic trip with your friends of a friend, perhaps take a smaller, less expensive trip. A local one, that permits you to assess the dynamics and get out of dodge if things hit the fan.