_It always starts out so innocently. Someone you know is telling you about some amazing holiday destination and you mention how great you think the place is and how you’ve always wanted to go. Then it happens…“Why don’t you come with us?” What a great idea!! What could possibly go wrong? After all, this is your best friend, closest cousin, favorite uncle…
Traveling with friends, family, or even strangers can be fun. But words like amazing, great, and fun are subject to each person’s definition. And once the trip idea gets started there are other subjective words that are sure to come into view - like beautiful, quick, and expensive.
So in order to reduce conflict with the people you are traveling, here are a few points that will help eliminate unnecessary bickering.
Know before you go. Just like writing, WHO, WHAT, WHY, WHERE, WHEN will come in handy. Who is joining? Who is paying? Where are you going? What are you interested in doing while you are there? What are you NOT interested in doing while you are there? What are you contributing to the group? What happens if someone needs to back out at the last minute? Why do you want to go? Where are you actually going? When do you want to do all of these great things? When does everyone need to make a decision on the actual plan? When do you have to pay? And then there is the all-important HOW? How are you going to travel (on your own or with the group)? How do you plan to spend the time (every museum vs. never leaving the pool)? How are you similar and different from the rest of the group (go with the flow or need every moment planned out)? How are you going to handle problems (suffer in silence or punch your way out)? All good trips involve a lot of pre-planning, so make sure to do your part.
Houston we have a problem. But sometimes you know all this and then something happens in the middle of the trip. You know, like the time everyone was having so much fun and then that “last” bottle of wine was opened and the next thing you know ½ the group is running for cover because two people are at each other’s throats. Or maybe it is three of you traveling around having a grand old time but one feels left out. When a problem arises the best advice is to ask what is the real problem? Is Betty complaining again because she genuinely hates falconry or because she’d rather be sleeping with the pool boy again? Can the problem be solved? While the cancelled flight might be a major downer on your plans, chances are there isn’t much you can do about it. So focus on what you can do– rebook tickets, get hotel rooms, find a place to eat. One thing that most groups forget is to schedule time out for everyone. Not everyone likes to operate at the Lindsey level so make sure to arrange for down time. A few hours on your own before dinner? Or perhaps breakfast in your room instead of meeting everyone at 6AM.
Finally you are home! Maybe a situation happens on the last night when the bill is due and instead of a big argument someone is holding it all in and possibly ruining a friendship or causing a family rift. What are you going to do now? First, re-examine the situation now that you have had a few days to rest and regroup. Is it still a big issue? If not and you pulled a full-on temper tantrum, apologize for putting on your diva outfit. But if the issue is still a big deal to you determine what do you want to be done about the situation? Too often people start complaining and never state what they want done about the situation. Do you want someone to pay you back for your sinking your yacht? Or just apologize?
If none of the above sounds helpful, run over to the mirror. The problem could be you. At the end of the day almost everyone wants to have a good time on the trip but knowing what good means to each person is the key. So go ahead take Uncle Fred up on the week in Iceland what's the worst that can happen?