I can honestly say that I don’t travel that well with others and before you think it’s them and not me, your wrong because I am pretty sure it’s me. When I travel, I like to do and experience things in a timely and orderly fashion and although I get that isn’t for everyone, it’s me, and I know others can relate. I have this grappling need for control and hate it when people are inefficient with their time and mine. So I came up with a list of 9 things you must do when travelling with friends or with a big group of people to stay sane. Because travelling is hard sometimes and travelling with people is harder and you want to keep your friendships.
With that all being said, the concept of “travelling with friends” or in a group is something that always comes up and sounds super appealing. Even though personally I know I would have more fun if it were just me and my favourite travel buddy the idea of travelling in a group sounds way more fun. Like would you want to go with your favourite travel another buddy to Europe or go to Disney World with 10 of your closest friends? Some of you reading this might think the favourite travel your favourite travel buddy trip is more fun and I do too but I always convince myself that the bigger the group the more fun and I
#1 Do Research on The Destination
You need to curate a list of things to do where to eat and cheap and free activities to do for the group. No one really likes to do it but someone needs and it’s probably going to be you because you know it matters. Lucky for you have resources like Pinterest and Buzzfeed, even Google has really stepped up their game and made it super easy to find out more on a popular city destination – just try searching “things to do in Paris“. Also, there is Instagram where you can just look through the pinned location and look for local places. Honestly, a couple hours of research can save hours later of trying to decide where to go and what to do.
#2 Create an Itinerary
Be the person that went that extra mile and make a day to day itinerary, it doesn’t need to be hour by hour but a rough idea of what to do each day will do wonders in group environments. Sure you all can just go to Europe, but what are you planning on doing every day? Yes, you can go with the flow but that can quickly become a vacation time waster if the majority of the time people are just asking “what should we do now?” There are so many complete itinerary guides online these days, it should be super easy, I happen to have some on hand if you were headed to any of the following cities:
If you are headed elsewhere do a quick Pinterest Search for [Location] + Travel Guide and you will probably find a rough itinerary for any city you are looking for.
#3 Don’t Decide By Committee
How far have gotten when you ask someone “What do you want to eat?” Now, imagine doing that all day every day but not just for food but all the activities you are going to do too, the entire span of your vacation. You should tell people where the happening spots so that you can give people 2 choices of where to eat. The more choice you give people the more confused people get the less you get done. Also, since you took the initiative of looking and picking the choices make sure you a bit selfish and pick it to be something you really want to try or do.
Worst case scenario is split up, friend A, B, and C want to eat at a chain restaurant you have at home, let them you and friend D can eat at the happening amazing place you looked up and you guys can meet after for drinks or dessert.
#4 Carve Out You Time
This is so important, you need time to recharge and get away something, this is a vacation. Especially if you all staying in one room, it can start to feel really cramp, really soon. You can proactively schedule in you time without offending people by:
- Go to the Gym, cause really who actually hits the gym on vacay
- Go on a Run, cause again who going to want to join you
- Go to the Pool, just say really causally and go super quickly
- Grab a coffee, I would get ready before everyone else and say that ill meet them at the closest coffee shop
- Pretend you need to make a call and go for a short walk
- Grab a book and hang out in the lobby
- Tell them you just need a quick break
In Berlin, we stayed at the Moxy hotel, 3 of us were in a tiny one room with 1 small looking bed for three people. It was a really nice room but it was cramped for 3 people (I actually ended up sleeping on the floor) BUT the Moxy Hotel did have an amazing lobby space complete with computer and board games so I fully took advantage of that.
#5 Go to Cheaper Places but Rent Bigger Spaces
If your budget allows for it, rent a bigger space. In May when we to Berlin and Budapest. Staying in Budapest was significantly cheaper than Berlin, therefore, we were able to get a bigger place, we stayed in a 2-floor loft in Budapest and single room in Berlin. Meaning when we were in Budapest we weren’t on top of each other, meaning people had more personal, meaning we weren’t as mean to each other cause we all had room to spread our wings. So yes I would say if budget allows for it, get as big of a space as you can, you won’t regret it.
#6 Don’t Be Afraid to Stand Your Ground
If the group agreed to be ready to go by 10 am and it’s 10:15 and you know that one person still needs another 30 mins of getting ready time. Leave them. Honestly, if they were a good friend they would tell you to go ahead (which you should) and if they get mad, they can keep their own inconsiderate butts company. Because really, you just shelled out X amount of dollars to wait on someone who couldn’t keep their word? No, you didn’t, so leave them. You waiting and trying to “be the better person” will just leave you resentful later on the trip. That person dragging their butt? maybe they secretly don’t want to go and are hoping to be ditch to have their own private time.
#7 Keep People Accountable
Call people out on their shit. Yes, it’s everyone vacation but no you should have to wait forever for everyone and no you shouldn’t be expected to hang out with people that spend all day on their phone and not enaging with you. You aren’t a babysitter and you shouldn’t have to be. So call people out, you deserve better.
#8 Talk Openly About Budgets
Be real with everyone going. Let people know what you can afford and what you can’t and be respectful about it and open. If you can’t afford certain activities tell the group BUT don’t try and persuade the group not to do said activity. Just because you can’t afford something doesn’t me you should stop others from doing it and vice versa its everyone vacation.
It’s not the end of the world if you guys don’t spend every second together. It’s important to remember that you should be doing the thing you want to do not the things you feel like you have to do. Can you imagine going dipping into you saving to eat somewhere you don’t even like cause your friends need to try that Michelin star restaurant?
#9 Always Stop for Snacks and Water
Being hangry is so real it’s insane. Always stop for snacks and make sure you are hydrated and well feed because not all mean things can be blamed on hunger.
Sidenote: I sometimes wonder how many arguments could have been avoided if everyone was always fed.
#10 Don’t Be Afraid to Split Up
If all your best buddy wants to do is shop all day, and you don’t. Don’t be afraid to say, you do you, but let me do me. Same to say if your friend wakes up at 12 pm every day and you are a ray of sunshine at 7 am, don’t be considerate and waste the day waiting on the friend that wasn’t considerate enough to wake up and explore the new city. You can always meet back later, like at 12 when the friend wakes up.
If your friend has separation issues or doesn’t think each of you should be exploring the city alone then each of you should look into getting a cheap sim card and promise to check in with each other. If you went to a bustling city there should be wifi spot everything to check in. Also don’t feel bad about it either, you paid to go somewhere so you should live it up as best you can.
At the end of everything, remember it’s your vacation too, so be a little selfish, take some you time, cause you deserved this and shouldn’t settle for anything else. At the end of the day, being mindful of who you are going to spend your vacation with because it’s going to be you and them for the next few days or weeks, so you if you a history of not always seeing eye to eye it’s probably best to do a solo trip.