I am probably not the first to tell you this, but traveling in a group is NOT easy. It’s even harder when there are more of you in the group; so more ideas, more opinions, and maybe even more complainers (but for your sake, I hope not)! Even traveling with my family, there are five of us, isn’t easy… and we’re related! For me, traveling in a group is always fun. I always have someone to chat with, partake in an activity with, or share my dessert with. There are also harder things about traveling in a group that sometimes we overlook, it’s not all fun and laughs, especially when your group travels together for a longer amount of time. My first large group travel, aside from big family vacations, was to Guayaquil, Ecuador.
In Ecuador, there were 11 volunteers and one supervisor, making a total of 12 of us! We were all students at James Madison University, and volunteering for an Alternative Break. Those were probably the two things that we had in common before we embarked on our week long volunteer trip! Besides those two points, we didn’t know each other, we didn’t have the same friends, and I’m sure I had never seen any of my fellow volunteers around campus.
My second group travel was during Semana Santa in Spain. I had posted in the Facebook group for auxiliars, asking if anyone would be interested in traveling to Portugal with me for our weeklong “Spring Break”. Out of the few responses that I received, there were two girls who I really got along with, and the “#SpringBreak4eva” group was created! We started planning our vacation through Facebook Chats and Whatsapp messages, and never even met each other until we arrived at the airport for our first flight to Porto, Portugal! Yes, I willingly went on a 10 day vacation with two girls that I had met from Facebook. Yes, I might be a little crazy!
Both group trips that I went on were different and fun in their own way. Traveling in a group is no easy feat, and after a few days, everyone starts to get on everyone’s nerves. If you’re traveling in a group for the first time, here are some tips to keep yourself and everyone else, somewhat, sane!
- Be Honest, But Not Rude
I can’t say this enough! Before going on your trip (unless it’s a specific tour), talk to your fellow travelers about what you want to do and be honest with each other about your priorities and your specific goals for the trip. Remember, because you’re traveling with other people, it’s not
YOURtrip anymore, it’s also their trip, too. Be honest during the trip, but don’t be rude about it… The last thing you want is to be rude to someone during the beginning of your trip, and the next seven days are spent with a large elephant in the room.
- Be Flexible
There are “x” amount of you on this trip. That means, there are “x” amount of brains, ideas, opinions, etc. In a perfect world, everything would go as planned, no trains would be delayed, the hostel you booked would be perfect, and no one snores. But, sadly, this is not a perfect world… and I can guarantee that someone in your group snores. Be flexible with your plans! The more there are of you, the more time you’ll need to get ready, travel places, order food, etc. If your itinerary doesn’t match with the original plan, just go with the flow! That’s the best part about traveling, anyways!
- It’s OK to Break-off and Do Your Own Thing
Just because y’all decided to travel as a group doesn’t mean that when you get to the respective cities that you planned, you have to stay together. Sometimes it’s nice to go off and do your own thing, explore by yourself, or grab a coffee and rejuvenate your energy. Traveling in a group is hard, and sometimes it’s tiring to try and figure out a plan that everyone agrees on. I definitely recommend having a “me” day, or break the group into smaller groups, and explore the city. Plus, you can always reconvene for dinner or drinks! Alonetime is never a bad thing!
COMMUNICATION IS KEY! Voicing your opinion can be a good and bad thing (refer to point #1). Don’t be scared to be honest with your group. If you’re going to have a successful trip, communicating is one of the most important points. Also, don’t have one too many drinks and let that one group member know that they’ve been pissing you off all week… that’s just rude (again, refer to point #1).
Let’s face it, y’all WILL get annoyed with each other… And that’s ok! Y’all might get a bit testy and argue, and that’s ok, too! Traveling in a group is not easy, but with a little bit of faith, communication, drinks, and flexibility, it could really turn into an unforgettable trip with new lifelong friends! Goodluck, travelers! (: