August 15, 2012
Traveling alone has its advantages, of course. If you’re looking for maximum freedom to go where you desire, when you desire and in whatever way you desire, solo travel might be the right thing for you. But for many people, having someone along for the ride is indispensable. I definitely learned this while I was in Ireland, London and Spain last year with and without my brother Daren. Daren had planned a trip with his 2 friends for post deployment, the plan was for me to tag along on occasion. I did things on my own and even spent 4 nights in Barcelona by myself. I learned a lot about myself over the 9 days I was gone and while I look back fondly on that experience, I don’t think I will go without a travel buddy of my own again, or just Daren. Let’s just face it, it is more fun when you have someone to share it with.
But. Sometimes it is hard to travel with someone else. Very rarely in life will you spend such extended periods of time with people other than when you travel together. You will find yourself doing everything together, having little or no privacy and relying on them as they rely on you. You might spend more time with these people than you’ve ever spent with anybody ever before. You will need to prepare for this just as much as you will when you pack your huge suitcases. You could be a part of a large team or it could just be two of you, however, how you get along will make all the difference to everyone’s enjoyment and the success of the trip or expedition. Even your closest friend of 20 years, who saved your dog with mouth-to-mouth and donated a kidney to your sister (or vice-versa), can sometimes drive you to a stuttering rage while on the road. Day-to-day circumstances of travel can expose and magnify irritations and disparities you never knew existed. And that’s if you’re compatible. If you’re not compatible, sooner or later that corkscrew you packed may be used for removing things its designers never intended. Countless tent-pole duels to the death might have been prevented with pre-trip contemplation and dialogues. That being said, I read a post recently that inspired me to think of my own things that I do to make sure we all don’t end up wanting to kill our mom, dad, sibling, bff, husband, boyfriend, wife, girlfriend, dog or cat while we am on vacation with them. 🙂
1. Expect that you are going to get sick of them.
It is only natural. And it will totally make things less scary if you just say it out loud now. Plus, between the two of you maybe there are epic ways you can solve these annoyances as they come up. You are literally seeing them every day. Even married couples get breaks from each other while they are at work. Don’t think that this will not happen. It will and it is best to be prepared for it.
2. Don’t hold it in!!
Let it out! If you have already talked about that fact that you are going to get sick of each other then this is way easier. Internalizing anger can sometimes result in it seeping out at completely inappropriate times. If someone is annoying you, tell him or her constructively what is annoying you so you can try and resolve it.
Obviously you’re right and they’re wrong, that goes without saying, at least in my case. However if you give it some thought, maybe you were a tiny little bit wrong? Bad feelings can simmer over for an unnecessarily long amount of time. An apology can knock things on the head very easily. And you will likely be laughing over it with cocktails later.
4. Schedule some alone time.
This is necessary to keep yourselves sane. And I find that it gives you more to talk about after you feel like the conversations have run dry. Speaking over conversation…
5. Be ok with silence.
You don’t have to have things to talk about every second of the day. Don’t just think of things to fill the air. Be comfortable with each other’s quiet time. If it is awkward, maybe talk about why it is awkward so you can understand each other. But most likely, silence can be a good thing for the both of you.
6. Eat, drink and sleep on the regular.
For those of you who know me, omg this is HUGE. I turn into anti Dani when I am deprived of these things. I get HANGRY! It is best for all involved to keep me hydrated, stomach full but not uncomfortably full and let me sleep for at least 7 hours every night. This is really simple science, people: when you’re hungry and thirsty, you lack the necessary fuel, making you tired, which in turn makes you irritable. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do about this due to the situation. But if you can, make sure you stay hydrated, eat enough, eat well and sleep regularly.
7. Make other friends!!
If it is possible, make new friends!! I’ll be on a cruise ship in just a few days and making friends there is so easy – even with freestyle dining. I will be sitting down to dinner with a ton of new people every night and likely talking about what we all did during the day, getting to share your experience together with someone else is a huge benefit of being social when you are traveling. You never know, you might get some great travel tips, make a lifelong friend or meet your next travel buddy.
8. Lastly, don’t lose track of what you are doing and why you picked this person to travel with.
Whether it is the trip of a lifetime or just you local beach, don’t miss out on what is right there in front of you because you are festering about something your travel buddy did. You could be in the most beautiful place in the world and you can miss it because you’re too busy fuming over who drank the last of the milk. And that is just lamesauce.
To share a moment with someone when traveling is like no other. Enjoying that perfect sunset over Pamplona, catching a glimpse of a rare site or experiencing another culture is enhanced when you can share your excitement, laughter and opinions with someone. Better yet, you can re-live the experience once you come home for years to come. Having someone to share the journey with, keeps you from ever getting lonely. At the end of the day when the excitement is still brewing you have a sounding board that can relate to everything you say. You have someone by your side that cares about your opinion and what you’re talking about. So, by all means, take someone with you, but know these few things before you go so you can both enjoy it!!
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