Travel is such an incredible experience, and nothing is better than sharing that experience with other people. I've traveled in all sorts of group formats - with my sister, my mom, groups of friends, friends of friends, and roommates. Each trip had its own unique set of challenges. For example, my mom LOVES to talk about feelings, me not so much. I walk everywhere, and she gets tired easier and has back issues. I've had both good & bad trips with my mom and what we've learned works for us is to leave the feelings talks back in Wisconsin and take transit or Uber if one of us is getting tired of walking.
I've written previously about how to plan a group trip and pick travel companions, but what happens when you’re traveling, and things start to go wrong? You can't just leave your mom at the airport and continue without her. Travel is difficult, it's not always perfect, and everyone handles that stress differently. Understanding this is key to coping with whatever gets thrown at you.
My biggest piece of advice is to level set before you start traveling. Do you have something that is guaranteed to upset you? I know for me I am always hangry after a long flight. On my end, I pack snacks, but I also level set with my travel companions that I need to know where that first meal will be. Another challenging but critical topic to discuss is how much money you are willing to spend. Misaligned expectations on finances can lead to some tense moments on a trip. Be upfront on what you want to pay for accommodations, transportation, meals, and if there is anything that you feel is splurge-worthy.
So you're on the trip, and things start to go wrong. Someone feels sick. Someone said something hurtful. Someone wants to spend an uncomfortable amount of money on an expensive meal. The list goes on and on, but no matter what it is the only way to resolve things is to talk about it. I was recently traveling with my sister Emily. When we were in Riga, Emily started to feel ill and did not say something about it to me right away. Long story short, she got irritated with me, but once we talked through how she was feeling the day went much smoother.
Although most tricky travel situations can be resolved through good old fashioned honesty, there are always going to be those cases where you can do nothing. I think the hardest trips to take are with friends and their friends. You never know what the group demographic is going to be like. When I'm on a vacation that isn't going steller with people that I don't know well I find the best way to make the best out of a bad situation is to find me time. Wake up early & take a walk. Temporarily break off from the group if there is something that you really want to do. Do what you need to do to maintain your sanity & and do your best to enjoy the trip.
The person (or people) that you choose to travel with can make or break your vacation and how you handle situations when they aren't going perfect determines if you have a great or terrible time. It's easy to get caught up in the moment when you're traveling, but you can mitigate the chaotic unknowns of travel by being upfront, honest, and understanding your limitations.