In the last thirty years, I have traveled with over twenty different people. I have been to many wonderful places, and had a chance to get to know my friends better with the time I have spent with them.
On two of these occasion, I am sorry to say, they have not went so well. There were mistakes made, ending with hurt feelings and I also learned, the hard way, that not only were they the wrong people to travel with, but also that the person was not who I thought they were. How disappointing. An expensive and heart breaking way to get to know someone.
From my experiences, I have learned to talk before you go. Here is a short list of how to make traveling a good experience for all included.
- Talk about the cost. Trips can be adjusted to fit budgets. What one person can afford to do, another may not be able to. Your basic cost like hotel, transportation and meals can not be eliminated. They may be adjusted, but where one stays, what they can and can not eat and how you get there need to be laid out clearly.
- Entertainment comes into the next part of cost. When you plan to go someplace and are sharing the experience, make sure that the parties are in agreement on what they would like to do. Adults can agree to go to someone things together or let the other party go to do something alone.
- Independent time. Some people like to be together all the time. Others need personal time and space. If you are a person who needs alone time, talk about it before the trip.
- The payment plan. Once you have agreed on your trip plans and what you will be spending, it’s time to talk about how it will get paid for. If you are booking and paying for your trip individually, you can pay as you plan to, but, if someone else is putting it on their credit card, which is the majority of trips, set up a payment plan. In all fairness, remember that the person putting it on their credit card is going to be paying interest on your trip. This causing the person more expenses. When you book this trip, the person you are traveling with is not expecting to carrying your cost burden, so make sure you pay for your trip before the time of the trip. If you agree to pay when you meet up, pay for your trip. Don’t expect your travel partner to pay for your trip and you pay later, unless you have made this arrangement before hand. Someone unexpectedly owing you money is a bad way to start off a trip. It will cause much resentment.
- Tickets to events. Many time event tickets will need to be booked in advance. If One person is booking those tickets, take into consideration what currency they are paying in and pay them back including the cost of currency exchange.
- Seating arrangements. Whether traveling by car, train, boat or airplane, people have travel seating preference. Some can be related to health or motion sickness. Ask these questions. The same can go by where seating is chosen in restaurants. Distance to bathroom, hearing and sight can make a difference where a person chooses to sit.
- Sleeping arrangement. This can be a major factor when traveling. You may only be able to sleep on your left side or right side. How many pillows do you need? Do you like the room cool? Others may like it warm. Make compromises, if you like it cool and your travel partner needs it warm, talk about comfort for both people, sleeping wear is adjustable. Don’t pack you wool night-clothes and expect the other person to freeze because you like it cool and vice-versa, if you get hot, wear lighter sleep-wear. Leave the thermostat in the room alone until you speak with the person you are sharing it with.
- Don’t make outside plans without talking with the travel partners. Making unexpected stops or visiting relatives should not be considered unless you speak with your travel partners. This is their vacations too. They have planned time and money to take this trip with you. As much as you love Aunt Susie, does not mean your friends care to meet her.
- The bathroom. When do you shower or bath? Does it make a difference? It does. It affects when a day starts and ends. Bring your own personal products. Personal products vary in cost and expense. Don’t expect to use your travel partners. They have packed for themself, you should do the same. Your travel partner is not your housekeeper. Leave the bathroom presentable when you finish with it. Flush the toilet, wipe off the sink and take care not to get their products wet. Pick up your own towels. Ask how many towels they need or use. If there are not enough to satisfy everyone’s needs, call housekeeping and get more.
- Talk about what you like to do and don’t, before you go. There is nothing more disappointing for fellow travelers than to find out when they get on the trip than to find out you don’t like to do the things they were looking forward to doing. If you get there and find out there is something they really like to do and you don’t, give them the time and space to enjoy what they like. Making them feel rushed or forbidden to do something also causes hard feeling.
- Plan for changes and emergencies. Don’t bring with you only what you will need to spend unless you bring a credit card for in case of emergency or change in travel plans. Things happen when you are away. Flights get missed. Family emergencies happen. People get sick or hurt. You can’t plan for each of these, but you must plan for a what if.
- Pay your share when you get there. Things like parking, gas, tipping at restaurants and hotel staff are shared expenses. They should not be left to one person to cover. Again, this causes resentment.
- Leave your problems at home. Your travel partner is not your therapist. No one wants to hear about relationship problems or money problems when they are away on vacation. They are there to enjoy and escape their own realty. It’s called vacation for a reason.
- Leave negatively at home. Open your mind and enjoy the new environment and experience. Nothing will be exactly as you planned. Somethings will be different. Accept it and go with it.
- Watch what you say and how you say it. Offending the person you travel with will not make for a good vacation.
- Communicate. Talking with each other will settle issues before they become one. Do that before and during your trip.
- And Mostly Enjoy the time together, learning about each other and the experience, after all, it is why you chose to go and why you chose to go with that person.