A couple of months ago, I was asked by someone I met in my Vietnam trip if I find it hard to travel with a big group of people and I said yes. In the past 14 months I’ve had 14 trips – 3 with my husband, 1 trip by myself & a couple with our son – but most were with friends. Traveling on my own would probably be ideal but of course I would always prefer to travel with my husband. And after all those trips with different people I can honestly say that among all of them (besides family of course), I can travel comfortably with my college friends. Because of those trips there are a couple of things that I will remember from now on:
1. I CANNOT TRAVEL WITH EVERYONE
In my personal opinion, this is just the same as saying that I cannot go into business or live with every single person I know. I don’t find it offensive if someone would tell me that they can’t travel with me because that’s just the way life is. I have my quirks, other people have theirs and some just aren’t bound to match. I’m very impatient and I like the pace that I’m used to and that won’t always work with everyone. I am definitely not perfect especially when I travel, so it’s silly that some people think they are. I find it foolish to think that some people assume that traveling with a big group of people is easy-peasy. It doesn’t make me like someone less, it just makes me not want to travel with that person because it’s just like a break-up waiting to happen.
2. ALWAYS SET EXPECTATIONS
One thing about traveling with my closest college friends is that we try to be organized (try is the operative word, we sometimes fail but we still do it). During our planning stages for our first trip last year, we would literally have “meetings” and figure out what we really want to do. We expected everyone to pitch in and help out with whatever they can. When we bought tickets, my friends went to work for only half a day so that most of us would be there to choose and purchase our tickets.
3. HAVE SOME SORT OF PLAN
Have a plan not to the point of total exhaustion but at least have a list of things that you want to do. We came up with an itinerary that was only followed during our first day but since we had a list of the places that we wanted to go to, we knew that we had to keep going and not spend too much time in one place.
4. WHEN ASSIGNED A TASK, FOLLOW THROUGH.
Warning: major rant ahead. From the get go, one of the recent trips that I took with friends was utterly disappointing to the point that I didn’t want to go and didn’t want to help out to avoid getting into confrontations. I don’t appreciate that they went behind my back and told my husband that they felt I was being too conceited because I was saying I was busy when they knew daw that I wasn’t (“wala naman siyang ginagawa diba?”) and didn’t want to help out and expect I wouldn’t find out. It’s not my fault that I have more time on my hands. I like my time and I love being a housewife and mother and I love planning other more important trips that I had. You tell me, if you had 4 trips in 1 month and one of those trips was a 3 week long trip around 5 countries that you had to take care of and one of the other 3 was supposed to be taken cared of by someone else what would you do??? Prioritize a trip that wasn’t supposed to be your problem in the first place? HELL NO. It’s not my fault that though it would’ve been very easy for me (yes that’s the conceited me talking to the person who said it!), planning that trip was NOT (not not not not not!!!!) in my agenda. And I don’t lie, if I say that I won’t help with something that you people said you’d do yourselves, I WON’T. I said NO at the beginning because I knew the tasks that I had to finish and you shouldn’t have expected me to do otherwise. After 2 consecutive trips that one of the girlfriends and I planned, I WAS DONE. And if you knew me as I assumed you did since I assumed we were friends, you’d know when I really mean something (like when were were in Macau and I was b****ing and you guys felt like I was kidding until you saw it in facebook- I don’t joke around and my face is an open book, my friends know that). Anyway, I don’t appreciate people saying that they are taking care of something when obviously they aren’t. I’d rather they say they weren’t and fix it because there is always a way. I’ve crammed for so many things in my life to know that there will always be a way. And don’t fix something for the sake of getting it done without thinking about the overall plan. Research, plan & execute. Don’t say “ok naman lahat ah! (everything is fine!)” when obviously they aren’t.
Whew. Sorry about that but I just had to get that off my chest.
5. SET A FEASIBLE BUDGET
My husband would always tell me, don’t buy something you cannot afford. When it comes to traveling it’s the same thing, set a budget that you and your friends can work with. Discuss how much each of you are willing to spend and compromise. Do not force the majority to go along with what you want to spend. When I went to Hong Kong last year, I was the most picky about the hotel because I was apprehensive about Hong Kong hostels. I was fighting against it. I’d rather spend than stay in a hostel but due to budget constraints of the others we all decided to stay there and I was pleasantly surprised – not only was it cheap (though very small) but the location was perfect.
6. BE FLEXIBLE & BE WILLING TO COMPROMISE
I’m all for planning but when I travel I know that I should always make room for change – there are delays (no- several, long 20 min. bathroom breaks are not considered delays because they shouldn’t happen in the first place), I’d get lost, I’d get sick, etc. And I believe that when I travel with a big group, it doesn’t always mean that we should be together every single minute of every single day (except of course when you’re at the beach or in one resort just lounging around for days). I don’t think that’s possible because there will always be something the other person would want to do that I don’t. The best compromise would be to split up when needed. With my friends, no questions asked, we know we need around half a day to spend away from our partners. It’s fun and it lets us do the things that we want without having to worry about other people having to wait.
It’s never really easy to travel with friends- that fact is clearer now more than ever. But I am truly glad that I found people I can travel with. Pleasant travels everyone! 🙂