What could be better than sipping piña coladas in Puerto Rico, skiing in the Alps, or scuba-diving in Thailand? Going with your friends! Imagine living your dreams and having your crew there to experience it with you. Those are real #friendgoals #crewgoals #travelgoals. Group travel sounds like a blast! Especially with everyone posting pictures with their friends, the age of social media has not only popularized travel, but popularized group travel. When we consider going on extended trips with our friends we seem to focus on all the potential fun. Don't get me wrong, I'm a truly positive person, and so I ascribe to this tendency. Before embarking on my first #grouptravel, I daydreamed of laughing on beaches, taking pictures underwater and enjoying the company of those closest to me.
While this left me counting down the days, I wish I would have taken some time to consider some of the implications of this trip. I wasn't too worried, I mean friends always make everything better...right? What could possibly go wrong? Haha...Where do I begin?
Let's start by mentioning that the people you choose to travel with can either make or break your trip, so make sure you're confident in your choices. Whitney the whiner, yeahhhhh....you might want to leave her ass at home. Negative Natalie might also want to sit this one out along with inconsiderate Isabel. The point is to create the vibe that you want. If you want laughs and flexibility don't bring the anal Amy of your crew. If you want structure and planning then tell whimsical Wade he can come through next time. Create the space that you wish to live in.
Moving forward, you're going to have to prepare to ask yourself some questions. These are all questions I wish that I would have considered before agreeing to go on my group travel experience. Hopefully they get you thinking about the implications of galavanting with your gals and guys.
How many people are in your group?
When you're thinking of how many people you want to be with you at your destination, how many do you picture? Two, four, seven, or even seventeen? The choice is yours, but if I were you, I would stick with the magic number. What is this magic number? It's 4! I believe to get the most of your trip you should invite three people, and when you include yourself, you have four, the magic number.
- Taxis and Ubers
There are many countries that charge you extra, even in vans, for more than four passengers which is an inconvenience and annoying as hell. I'm all about saving that paper. Get hip or get lost. Also, four people fit together perfectly in a taxi in just about any country. Four is the perfect number.
When you're hungry and roll into a restaurant with a crew of hungry hippos, the last thing you want to be doing is waiting. People get agitated, HANGRY (a deadly combination of hungry and angry which I've been diagnosed with numerous times), and are not usually in a good mood when they are required to wait around for a table. And guess what you'll be doing if your group is over four people? Waiting. Sure, not always, but the 'hole in the wall' magical realms are usually small and can only accommodate but so many. For the best chance of immediate seating, zero hangry fits, and 'hole in the wall' acceptance, go ahead and choose that magic number: Four.
Four people gives little room for drama, although depending on your friend group, it is always possible. The more people involved in the trip, the more cliques tend to pop up. She doesn't like her, and he doesn't like them and their energy doesn't flow, and vibes are off. Do yourself a favor and stick to the magic number. With a smaller group, it is easier to reconcile arguments and come to conclusions. Also, with a group of four, you can tailor the type of energy and vibe you want for your trip.
- Hostel/Hotel Rooms
Most hostels and hotels have rooms that accommodate either two or four people. If it accommodates four, you can all share the room and split the costs. If the hostel/hotel accommodates two, you can split up and still end up splitting the costs. This buddy system has never let me down and ensures everyone is safe at the end of the night. Issues begin to arise if you have an odd number of people or too many people. You may not be able to find a place to stay if it wasn't pre-planned, and who wants to be constrained by a schedule? Keep your life simple and find you a nice group of four to split costs with and stay safe with!
Are you ready to be frustrated?
No matter how many people you bring or leave at home, get ready to be frustrated. I don't say this to dissuade you from traveling with others, I say this to be frank. There will be a discussion about everything, which sounds great, because "communication is key"...NOT. Before every meal there will be a "so, where should we eat" conversation. Three meals a day = three times this question will be asked. Multiply that by the number of days you're vacationing and that equals too many damn times.
"Where should we go?" is another common one. If not everyone in the group has the same travel style, then some could leave without getting what they wanted out of the trip. There are party-goers and culturalists and adventure-junkies and historians and those who want to eat crickets and others who want to stay in the hotel/hostel by the pool. Make sure that the group you're traveling with has a good mix of people who are interested in multiple things so that everyone can at least do some of the things they anticipated doing.
Are you ready to compromise?
What it comes down to is that you are not going to be able to do everything you wanted to do on your trip. You can plan from today until tomorrow through next week and you will still not be prepared for all the curveballs that group travel throws you. If you travel with someone with the same travel style as you that might make things a little easier, but it is also great to get out of your comfort zone and try new things.
You may be outnumbered by your group in terms of food choices, parties to attend, or landmarks to see. Learn patience, something that I mention many times throughout this blog. You will have to compromise, there is no getting around it. Compromise is hard for a lot of us (myself included), but remember that you're the one who wanted your friends around. Whatever happened to #friendgoals...not feeling it so much anymore?
WANDERLUST TIPS ON GROUP TRAVEL
- PATIENCE, it's a reoccurring theme.
- Go with the flow, don't let things get to you.
- Leave the group if you're not feeling it, no one is forcing you to hang with these people.
- If there is something you really want to do, but you're outnumbered, do it by yourself.
- Learn to breathe.
- Don't take anything they say drunk seriously. Let that shit roll off your shoulders.
- Remember that you love these people (most of the time).
- Drink lots of tea, it sort of fixes everything.
So, while you want to post all of the #friendgoals #grouptravel #meandmyfriendstravelandyoudont pictures available, you might want to consider the consequences of a group trip. Your friends are amazing people, and you love them dearly, so of course you want to see the world with them. Just know that it's not all shits and giggles. For all you "I'm not with the shits" individuals...get ready for the shits, because it's a lot of shit. Enjoy!
Have you ever traveled in a group? What was your experience like? Where did you go? Let me know in the comments below!