How to Successfully Travel with Others

If you travel at all, you are bound to take a trip with someone else at some point.  Doing so can be incredibly rewarding and can result in great memories; but if you are not cautious and prepared, the trip can turn into a nightmare.
Here are some tips to travel well with others.

1) Pick your travel partner wisely.  Sometimes it is tempting to go on a trip just to go; but if you do not know the person well or they are not your favorite, think carefully before accepting the invitation.  It is important to travel with someone who has similar interests and likes to do the same things as you, to minimize disagreements. One of the most common causes for disagreements between travel partners is money.  If you and your travel partner plan to have similar budgets for the trip, you are much more likely to avoid conflict.

2) Plan together before you go.  It is important to discuss what you want to do on the trip with a potential travel partner before the trip, or you will end up in disagreements the entire time. If you both have long lists of things to do that rarely overlap, your trip will be one long argument. Likewise, if you love museums and your travel partner cannot stand them, you will have some problems.

3) Do your research. Some of the biggest problems I have had traveling in groups came from not being prepared. I have spent hours on some trips walking around trying to find a restaurant that had satisfactory prices for one group member, only to end up eating at a restaurant just as expensive as the first one we stopped at.
Create a list of potential restaurants to eat that you know are within budget, look up the hours of the attractions you want to visit, etc. The more prepared you are, the less likely something will go wrong and destroy the group attitude.

4) Don’t be afraid to break away from the group.  If you have different interests than your travel companions, don’t be afraid to go do these activities on your own.  You will regret not going to an attraction you really want to see just because your travel partners have no interest in it.

5) Large groups should split up.  Traveling in large groups is not recommended by most travelers. It is rare to get a group of 8 or so travelers to agree on anything.  Discuss splitting into smaller groups to see the things each member wants to do, or to eat at restaurants within each traveler’s price range.

6) Establish meeting points.  If your group decides to split up, never rely on technology to find each other again.  Establish a time and place to meet, then if anything goes wrong or you can’t get a hold of one another, you will still have a plan of action.

7) Create a group fund for shared expenses.  One of the things that has caused problems on past trips is when one traveler covers group expenses then never gets paid back.  If everyone puts a determined amount into a group fund before the trip, one person can hold it and always be responsible for paying for taxi rides, tipping tour guides, hotel rooms, etc. This way no one has to worry about getting paid back.

8) Prepare yourself with realistic expectations.  One of the most important things to remember when traveling with groups is that you are more than likely to have disagreements, it happens to the best of us. If you prepare for your trip thinking that you are going to have an amazing time and everything is going to go as smoothly as a movie, you are only setting yourself up for failure.  Be prepared for arguments and varying opinions so you can conquer them quickly and move on with your trip.