How Not to Throttle Your Travel Companions

by Rebecca on March 1, 2011

in For Travelers

This guest post is brought to you by Matt Carroll and WePay.com who, as you may remember, is a site we love using to split the cost of group travel.

Vacations are supposed to be a time of fun, relaxation, and recovery. You travel to escape the stresses of work, home, and the incessant demands on your time and energy. Your vacation, your trip; it’s all about you, until you hear…

“MOM! I can’t find my underwear!”

“Dave…I think I lost the passports”

“Laura, you better call the embassy. Mike got caught feeding the lemurs again.”

Oh right, your travel companions.

Vacations can certainly be more fun with friends or family but as the group grows so does the responsibility. Unfortunately, this can often fall to one person (you) who spends the whole trip buying the tickets, counting heads, and converting dollars to pesos in order to bail someone out of la cárcel.

If you’re the one booking your group’s rental on Inhabit Vacations right now, chances are you’re also the one your friends, coworkers, or family depend on to be responsibility-captain. At WePay, we believe doing things together should be simple, fun, and secure. By enabling groups to collect funds safely online (and send automatic reminders to individuals who’ve yet to stake their share), we help ease the financial headaches that plague those charged with the task of collecting funds and coordinating fellow travelers.

Of course, paying for your group vacation is only half the battle. You’ve also got to plan where you’ll go, what you’ll be doing, what kind of lodging you’ll require – all while trying to accommodate a diverse set of personalities. Never fear. We’ve got you covered. To ensure that your trip is worth all that saving, planning, and effort, follow these four steps:

1. To Escape Debate: Delegate

Being the principal organizer of a group is a little bit like being a Major League Baseball manager: No one notices you when things go right and everyone blames you when things go wrong. Help yourself to avoid the arguing and frustration by delegating some responsibilities. Give one person the duty of researching transportation and to another give the task of finding housing options. If you’re taking care of the entire destination planning for a family trip, assign someone else the job of all pre-departure arrangements. Not only will you have more time to enjoy your travels, your companions will feel that they have a say in the itinerary, too.

2. Flexibility Is Your Friend

People love options. Have you ever seen the size of the menu at The Cheesecake Factory? We can’t get enough of our choices. So while you may be forced to make many of your arrangements in advance, give yourself and your group some room to call an audible and switch the play (forgive the obligatory football metaphor, but it is Super Bowl Week after all). Besides, no matter the destination, you’ll learn soon after arriving that there’s only so much the guidebooks can tell you in advance. Beware the dangers of being married to your schedule. That rock formation may be fascinating and I’m sure the wine tasting is truly exquisite, but traveling can be exhausting. Give yourself, and others, some unstructured downtime to recoup.

3. Separation Is Natural

Whether going away for a long weekend or several weeks or more, it’s always great to have companionship on the road. But even the best of friends can begin to rub each other the wrong way. With maximum exposure to one another flaws and pet peeves become glaringly apparent; in the blink of an eye Sleepy, Bashful, and Sneezy can transform into Gassy, Moody, and “Oh-my-God-would-someone-please-get-him-a-Claritin.” Surrounded by tourists both familiar and strange everyday can wear a person out. Try to plan some time for people to pursue personal interests and have some alone time. It might just save your trip – not to mention your friendships.

4. Be a Traveler, not a Tourist

You’re already halfway there just by landing at Inhabit Vacations, which puts you in the heart of a neighborhood of your destination. Nothing against Holiday Inn or Marriot (except for the issue surrounding those towels they claim I stole – I thought they were free, okay?), but a sterile hotel room is basically the same wherever you go. Every city, town, and village has its own unique culture and identity. Why miss out on that? Hotels (and fronting the cash solo for your trip) are for tourists. Wouldn’t you rather be a traveler? Follow these steps and you’ll be on your way.

(Rebecca’s note: Thanks to WePay for the helpful tips and reminders about staying sane when traveling with a group!)

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