Didn’t you feel so remorseful when you asked a friend to join in on a weekend getaway that you had been meaning to take and had amazing plans with your other friends but he/she was too much of a wet towel? The constant nagging about the time, clashes with your idea of relaxation where you want to party all night and talk to strangers but they do not even want to step out? Instead, they want to stay in bed at (even) Comfort Inn and relax with pizza ordered in and some pathetic movie on TV.
Does it sound familiar when the travel buddy you asked to accompany you cock-blocks you when you want to flirt with that hottie with a gorgeous smile who, for once, seems interested? Darn, that was an opportunity gone down the drain! Do you not feel pinched when he/she borrows some money from you and promises to pay you back after the trip but in the end dodges the slightest dart aimed at them relevant to that moment in time?
Here are some pointers to keep in mind before you make travel plans with friends and acquaintances.
- Travel avatar.
Could they be Dora, Wild Child, Alice in Wonderland, Alan (Hangover), Liz (Eat Pray Love)?
Nothing makes you feel more accomplished as a traveller than having the right companion to explore The Blue Grotto; the streets in Sanfrancisco and to eat somewhere down the street in Delhi that’s opposite your hotel room. You need to have the right people with you to make it the best adventure! Depending on your travel plan, ask friends or people with similar tastes as you to accompany you. Now if you could all go to a Spa Tuesday morning and head out to Ladies’ night without anyone fussing, wouldn’t that be absolutely rejuvenating? Also, it is super important to be open to ideas too.
Would you be interested in going zip lining, skiing and mountain climbing if you were not too outdoorsy? Well, that REALLY depends, right? That is not a vacation option for you unless you are willing to hike up your adrenaline tenfold. This works both ways, if it’s not something you want to try out- don’t really opt in and vice versa.
- Travel plan (agenda)- To Do or Not To Do!
Look to do similar things and not polar opposites. Timings people can agree to in general. Spare time for everyone to do their own thing.
Now that you have gathered friends for your trip and have verbally formulated your travel plan, your next big task is to actually organize a travel agenda. It would be ideal to agree on making an itinerary inclusive of what is mutually agreed upon; or at least twinnziiiee like. The way I see it is, often you might not get to tick things off your personal checklist while in groups. And when that happens, friends start feeling like their opinions or ideas weren’t appreciated. Always keep a day or part of it free for everyone to do what they want. That way you get some space to yourself as well and everyone is happy.
- Money matters.
Pay now or later? Split cash? Take turns? Trustworthy?
Watch out for this one, fellow travellers! Even though people say money doesn’t matter, in this human kill human world, green paper is the one of THE MOST powerful and dividing forces. It is largely a necessity to discuss money matters for your trip. It does not matter if you are a group of friends who grew out of your undies together or you could trust your travel companion with your life. If someone does not owe up to their payment (as agreed upon), they are not trustworthy at all. It ruins relationships. Do discuss splitting cash expenses at the end of the trip, or before. You could take turns to pay and try to level the expense on mutually enjoyed activities. I would say don’t put your money where your mouth is. Be clear.
- (Where) Are you going to stay the night?
Preferences on stay- book together or not?
So, I learned this over a period of about 3-4 trips with friends that not everybody has the same bedding preferences. While some might prefer luxurious and over priced hotel rooms, some prefer basic rooms to sleep, shower and dash off. Moreover, booking amply prior to your trip is a huge pressure point. You do not want to risk living on the streets or at a dirty motel, crawling with roaches and no sanitation facilities. Another glitch is whether to make a large booking together or not. While booking a hotel room, make sure majority or all the people concerned are aware of what is being decided.
- Future-Add-and-favourite-vs-Delete-and-Block (Bonding).
“ Ugh! He is such a spoilt princess!! It’s raining now and we can’t even find a cab. I told you we shouldn’t have brought him along. He is ALWAYS late. “
“ Hey, listen! I don’t want to have to deal with talking to her or sitting close to her… could we please swap places at dinner tonight and possibly for the rest of the trip?”
That might ring bells here and there, yes? Personally, I dislike when I’m with a group of friends and some do not get along. But anyway, apart from that it turns into Chinese whisper, you know? Someone eavesdrops on someone’s comment (complaining) and then they either ask or talk about it and then the fire spreads and before you know it, KABOOM! You could be (a) mature enough to act civil or nice or (b) try to take the trip as an opportunity to get to know each other better.
- When you party like it’s your job you still play by a few rules.
What do you do to stay as a group and NOT break up on some of those wild nights you’ve got planned? Announce rules coherently. Some rules are meant to be kept. As a safety net (damn, that rhymed). For instance, if you are going out with a huge number of friends, chances are; there’s going to be some people doing things differently- they might look for partners to dance with and maybe go their own way, fight, stay in a separate group, get mindless… it could be anything. Do make it a point to re assemble at a common meeting place at least by the end of the night. If you decide you want to run away to another scene because the club completely nauseates you and you can’t stand a minute of it, make it a point to text at least three friends and/or personally inform two friends (just in case you know).
And what if it doesn’t work out, you may ask. Plan out two meeting points; say back at the hotel room or a friend’s apartment. It makes it so much easier for friends who decide to stray away a little to make it back without everybody panicking. You don’t want to be stuck at a roof top, as burned as a sunflower floret, for days and have your friends looking for you all around EXCEPT where you are, do you (guess the reference)?
- After Part-A(y) comes Part B (pun totally intended!).
Okay, there are only a few contingencies that popped into my head over this tip! Honestly, there could be various shortcomings at any point of your marvelous trip. Uhm, yes captain obvious, it’s a travel adventure. You ARE supposed to have impromptu changes in plans. BUT, here I am going to consider the little things that go a long way…
Take for example, Money. On a trip, make sure you have an emergency stash with you. Just in case your credit/debit card bail on you, or you end up requiring more than anticipated. Your emergency bank can do wonders.
Clothes- YES! You see those movies where women have stacks of suitcases when they travel, and that poor bell boy(s) at the back, literally dying with the weight? You know what that is? CONTINGENCY. Extras.
Okay, I personally would not carry three and four and five suitcases; hell, I would end up paying a fortune at the baggage counter… but you see, you DO need a couple extras- just in case your hiking outfit decided to shrink a little; the girlfriend hates that T shirt ; you look really weird in your evening dress with that horrible bloating belly because of the food; your white cargos got splashed on…
This one is as necessary as carrying your passport to the airport. Carry your Medicine kit with you. You never know when your body decides to act funny and the drug you usually consume decides to not be available in the country you tour. This goes a long way, friends!
It could be anything really!
- Rule 1: Have fun and capture your moments.
Most important rule.
So, with a lot of pressure on the details of your trip, needless to say, DO NOT! I say DO NOT forget to have an adventure worth remembering. Power up your cell phones, cameras and yourselves. Try to embrace everything that comes your way as a part of your life’s portfolio.
Travel. Enjoy. Capture. Reminisce.