Dodging Bullets: Travel without hating each other

20161101_123042-1Travel, at times, seems to be the deciding factor in the longevity of a friendship or relationship. (This seems especially true when women travel together for some reason.) While it can be a challenge, it doesn’t have to end just short of killing your companions and tossing them to the wolves, never to circle around your wagon train again. You can travel with friends or your significant other and create a stronger bond through the adventure! Here are some of our tips for managing this (seemingly) monumental feat.

  1.  Prepare

    • Even if you are more the “fly by the seat of your pants” sort of traveler, it is important to prepare a tentative or loose plan for where you will be at various points of your trip. If you are going to several cities, plan on when you will be changing cities and make sure everyone knows this plan. If you decide to deviate from this as a group, then no problem. Knowing what to expect helps to alleviate any confusion and disagreements in the moment. So hash it out beforehand.
    • Know who will handle which aspects of the planning process, scheduling, confirmations etc. Consider setting up a community email for reservation confirmations, use Venmo or PayPal to get deposits paid jointly for bookings.
  2. Have a heart to heart

    • Have each person voice what they expect to get out of the trip.
      • When we went to Ireland & Scotland in 2016, I was traveling with my grandmother’s ashes because part of my motivation for the trip was to take her on one last adventure.  It was important to me to take her to a few specific places that she loved in Ireland and by making sure that Moriah and Katie knew these places were important, we didn’t miss any.
    • Talk about the things that concern you (if you have any) about personality conflicts.
      • No one likes conflict or to tell their friends certain things are annoying, aggravating or deal-breakers. The truth is, they exist. Being honest with each other from the start isn’t about nitpicking or belittling. The point is to say what you struggle with and work together to continue with communication throughout the entire adventure.
  3. Don’t be so sensitive

    • Especially at the very beginning when jet lag weighs on you and at the very end when post-travel depression and homesickness starts to set in.
      • Step back and take stock of your own physical, emotional and mental state. Are you jet lagged? Is your body aching from all the walking or from being cramped on a flight for 6+ hours? Hungry? Tired? Chances are the same can be said for your companions. Don’t take that snide comment so personally, let it roll off of you and if it still bothers you later, or they continue even after everyone is better fed and rested, then revert back to #2 and have a calm heart to heart.
  4. Step away!

    • It really is okay to take a day here or there (or even just a couple hours) to do your own thing. There is no requirement that says you have to spend every last millisecond glued to each other’s hip.
      • In Scotland, Katie went on a hike while Moriah and I stayed along the Royal Mile getting in some extra shopping for souvenirs and coffee before meeting up with Katie for dinner and some evening fun around Edinburgh.
      • In Ireland, we split up and quietly took in the National Museum on our own, each reflecting and soaking in the history at our own pace. We just met back up at the gift shop later. (We just make sure one of us sees the other walk to another exhibit so we can find each other later if we need to.)
    • Taking time away to do other things, reflect on your own or quietly read/write on a train, in your hostel or in a cafe can allow you to decompress and give each other some breathing room. Taking time away doesn’t mean you are sick of each other…it is self-care.
  5. Let go

    • Let go of the need to control
      • Things happen. Words are said. Schedules change.
        • Every aspect cannot be controlled and trying to do so will only cause hurt feelings, snide comments, and animosity. Go with it and let go of the things you can’t control.
    • Let go of the little annoyances
    • Let go of the hurt feelings and snide comments
      • Revert back to #2 if any of these arise. Everyone is human and we all need to have that heart to heart, apologize and move on.
  6. Remind yourselves & each other

    • Why did you want to do this trip together?
    • This is their experience of a lifetime too, let them have it.
    • Your expectations may be different than theirs are, remind yourself of what that is and encourage their vision too.
  7. Allow yourself and relationship to grow

    • This journey, no matter how long or short, is an opportunity to grow your friendship.
    • Take it in and let yourself grow from the experience individually and as a group.
  8. Forgive

    • Harsh words
    • Broken promises
    • Annoyed looks
    • Whining
    • Anal Retention
    • Stinky socks
    • Unwashed hair
    • Picky eating
    • Controlling/Micromanaging
    • Demanding/Refusing to compromise
  9. Hug it out

    • When feelings are hurt, talk it out and then hug it out.
      • Remind each other what you love about the other and how you value the friendship…then revert back to #5.
  10. Confide in each other

    • When you travel with more than one friend, it can be tempting to vent, unload and complain about the others. Instead of allowing this to turn to a gossip fest, go with the idea of confiding instead. Talk it out with the “neutral” party and get advice on whether you are just being extra sensitive or irritable or if it needs to be addressed with the other involved. Confide…don’t bitch…and don’t dwell or gang up on the other.

“Keep your heart open, a suitcase packed, and wonder often for the world is wide and adventure awaits.” ~ Emylee


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