Signed up for a trip with someone else? Your mom, your parents, your family, your friends, or even your significant other? Yes, we have all been on those vacations or trips that meant traveling with someone we may or may not have travelled with before. What may have started with good intent and wanting to have a great trip, can quickly turn to tense moments of awkward silence, undertone humor and not the best of memories.
This past month I spent two weeks on the road with my mom, traveling through various countries of Europe. We both have different styles when it comes to travel, what we like to do, and how we individually like to experience a city. We returned back from our trip, and can both look each other in the eye and say we honestly had a great time with each other. The trip had very few moments of tension (usually brought on by hangry-ness) and you'd think after two weeks with someone there would be more.
Looking to be pro-active before the trip, I realized we set up some expectations and boundaries around how the trip would go so both of us would come back feeling like we had a trip of a lifetime.
I wanted to share a few tips to having a successful trip with someone else. That someone else, can be anyone, even your spouse or best friend. Being on the road, there will always be curve balls and I think having a few of these tips in your back pocket will create success.
5 tips for successful travel with others:
This may be a "duh" moment, but yes communication is and will be everything for a successful trip. Before the trip, we discussed how we like to travel, and during the trip, when one of us was frustrated or needed a bit more time, we said so. An open line of communication sets up a platform to share when need be.
Before the trip, we went through each destination, making sure we wrote out what we wanted to do in each city. We both knew what each other's hopes were. For instance, my mom wanted to see the opera, and I wanted to go to Cesky Krumlov — so both were in the itinerary.
Expectations around money is another topic to always discuss before hand — we all have different budgets. Share this before hand before splitting a bill, deciding on a hotel or restaurant, this will help avoid the bitterness that can ensue when one individual feels like they spent too much.
I think the honesty comes in form of sharing how we feel. Example: my mother needed more time in the morning to get ready, and I love to be out the door by 7 am (primarily for photography purposes). So the days that I needed to get out early, I was honest and let her know I was headed out and I would be back to rejoin when she was ready. Be honest in your energy level, what you need, if you're hungry or tired — the last thing you need is a hangry-mess.
4. Quality vs Quantity
You don't need to spend each waking minute together. If you miss a lunch together, or one goes off to do something for the afternoon, you're not going to miss out on quality time. Often quality is rooted in smaller quantities, as extended periods of time are not always the healthiest. Pick and choose when to spend time together, respecting each other's need for space and time.
5. Let it go
This one is the hardest for myself. Let it go, it probably wasn't that big of a deal. I hate doing touristy things, and often will skip out on this. My mom wanted to go to the top of a tower at Wenceslas Square in Prague, the line was a bit long, and I dragged my feet and my feelings all the way to the top. I was thankful for her bringing us to go do this as it was one of the most scenic views of Prague we had seen all week. Don't sweat the things you don't want to do, and let it go.
Pictured below: Day 13, Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic