Traveling with other people can be a fantastic experience.  The pictures, the memories, the fun!! But many times, the idea of a travel companion is more idealic than the actual experience.  The best hopes and intentions sometimes can result in a definitive  “never doing THAT again”. 

So, how do you travel with someone who you have never travelled with before? Simple: set expectations right up front.  Whether it is a good girlfriend, a group of guys or your new spouse, making sure that you talk about what you want to do and what you want to see beforehand will ensure that there are no surprises or disappointments.  I have heard many stories from my friends and family about times that things didn’t go so well.  When there wasn’t significant planning, trips that were supposed to be vacations, turned into more effort and stress then if they hadn’t gone at all.

I know from experience that if you haven’t talked, and haven’t planned, things can go awry pretty quickly.  I’ve travelled a few times with girlfriends, mostly when I was in school, and for the most part, things went okay.  I can advise it was probably due to a few things:

  • I talked a bit about some of the things that I wanted to see and listened to what my friends wanted to see or do
  • If we travelled as a group, I made sure there were a few of my friends that were like minded before I committed to going
  • If it was just two of us, it was with someone that was a good friend and who I had spent significant time alone with
  • I never went on a trip simply to go.  If we all were in the same position (ie: all single, mostly couples, or all bringing kids), then we would all be likely to be doing the same things.  I would never go on a couples trip alone, but would definitely do a spa weekend with some girlfriends.

I love to travel, but it is exhausting and tiring during the best of times that with conflicting ideas and varying personalities, traveling with other people can be even more upsetting.  Before you even go anywhere, let your travel partners know what you’d like to get out of the trip.  You don’t have to submit a full agenda or itinerary to everyone, but a simple chat about what you may want to see or do, and what they would like to see and do, will set the trip on a positive note.  You cannot assume that everything will be a blast because you always have so much fun when you are out together.  A night on the town does not compare to delayed flights, lost luggage, inclement weather, fatigue, hunger….well, let’s just hope none of that happens.

You also need to be realistic about the personalities of the people you are traveling with. If there is something that irks you in every day, there will definitely be something that irks you on your trip. If there is a group of you, plan things to do separately with those that share the same interest as you.  If you are traveling as a pair, really think about whether you can travel well with that person. Can you spend tons of alone time with them without getting irritated?

The bottom line is this. Having the ability to travel is one of life’s great pleasures. It comes with irritations already built in, so adding unnecessary aggravation and irritation will only make you angry with yourself for even going. Plan to travel with the right people, talk about what each of you would like to do, set expectations, and stay true to yourself and what you want to get out of the trip and you will have a fantastic time. Bon voyage!


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