• Lisa Marie

How To Travel With Another Couple or Large Group

Some ladies love shoes. Others love purses. I love travel. I want to see Florida, the country, and the world. Ask me to go on a trip anywhere, and 9 times out of 10 I'll be the first one in the car or on the plane. My husband and I really enjoy each others company. We've been married for 10 years, so we know each other better than anyone else. He's my favorite travel buddy, and I would like to say that I'm his. However, maybe you should ask him. : ) For years, we have gone through a mental checklist to see who would be our next choice for traveling buddies or a cool traveling couple.

Traveling with a group can be the best or the worse decision of your life. A group trip can create memories of a lifetime that can strengthen family bonds and friendships. However, it can also cause a strain or even end relationships forever.

Rule #1: Make your expectations clear

Before going on vacation with another couple or group, make your expectations clear. Do you plan on relaxing on this vacation? Or do you plan on being adventurous? Do you plan on being on a tight schedule? Or do you plan on going with the flow? Do you plan on doing everything together? Or do you plan on meeting throughout the day? Do you plan on enjoying the night life or enjoying the day life? These questions should be discussed before the trip so that nobody is left surprised. It can be uncomfortable to discuss this once the trip has already started or after someone is upset.

I don't consider myself a night owl or a morning person, but I went on an amazing girls' trip with my cousins to Georgia last year. I woke up every morning around 8 am to start the day, but they slept until eleven am. So, every morning I tiptoed around the hotel room and started my day on my own. This wasn't a big deal for me, but if I had known that they were late risers I could of made plans to explore Atlanta on my own during those hours instead of waiting around for them to wake up and get dressed.

Rule #2: Don't be Afraid to Discuss Finances

Sometimes you may have a higher or lower travel budget than your traveling peers. So, you don't want to be in a hotel that you cannot afford or staying in lodging or dine in an establishment that you wouldn't normally go to. I've been in situations that I bought a plane ticket that was higher than I would normally pay for because I already committed to a group trip. I've also been in situations where I was a part of a large traveling group and deciding on a dinner location was very difficult because some people had tighter budgets than others.

Rule #3: Try To Pick Places That Cover Expenses Before You Arrive

It is not always possible, but cruises or all-inclusive resorts make group travel so much easier. On a cruise ship, you can get a room as low as an indoor cabin or as high as a suite on the same ship. This is helpful because everyone in the group can feel comfortable. Cruises and all-inclusive resorts take away the stress of splitting the bill or choosing restaurants that may leave some feeling financially uncomfortable.

Rule #4: Go away with people you like.

This may seem like an obvious rule, but you may be surprised by how many people have to or choose to travel with people they don't like. When you are traveling with people you genuinely like, it makes you look forward to the trip even more.

I've actually been in a situation where I planned a girls' trip with a friend (no picture will be provided of the friend). We planned the trip about six months ahead of time, but we had some struggles in our friendship along the way. She was planning on waiting until we arrived at our destination to discuss our problems. Hello! Vacation is the last place that I want to discuss any problems. So, needless to say, we canceled the trip because I refuse to be uncomfortable on vacation. If you're going away with family, you may not be able to cancel because of one person, nor should you let one person have the power to disrupt your trip. However, the best group vacations involve people that don't force you to mutter comments under your breath or roll your eyes when they are not looking.

Rule #5: Try to go away with friends or family that you know

The friend you go away with should be your friend for at least 6 months to a year. Some people may argue with this rule because they make friends quickly or they have a close connection that nobody understands. There are definitely exceptions to the rule, but you should know your friend(s) enough so that they don't surprise you on vacation. Does your friend have a temper? Do they drink until they are drunk? Do they treat other people well? You just never know who some people really are until you travel with them.

Rule #6: Bring patience

There are many different personalities on a group trip. People are different from you and they may behave differently than you. Take a deep breath and try your best to have a great time!

Rule #7: Take advantage of the large travel groups

As a large group, you can get cheaper accommodations and group rates. Better rates is the beauty of group travel so take advantage of these opportunities. You may want to contact a travel agent to be in charge of all of the deposits so that one person does not feel financially responsible for the group.

Rule #8: Plan, Plan, and Plan

As advantageous as traveling in a larger group can be, it can actually take twice as long to do everything. Plan well to avoid delays. Discuss how much luggage can be brought, attire needed for activities, details of the itinerary and departure, and any other details that pertain to your trip.

My husband and I went on a trip with our parents to Mexico. We surprised them with the trip and only told them to bring summer clothes , their passport, and spending money. Even though we provided them with what we thought was enough information, my father-in-law still did not bring enough pants and could not get into dinner restaurants that mandated that dress pants be worn.

Another important item to plan is alone time. Sometimes, you may just need a minute, an hour, or a few hours by yourself to recharge. Take the time to allow yourself to do that because it will allow you to be a better person for yourself and the group. I like to plan a massage on my vacation where I can be silent, alone with my thoughts, and forget about the stress factors in the world.

Rule #9: Be Safe

If you're traveling alone or in a big group, always think of your safety. Don't run off by yourself and leave the group. Stay in contact with the group and prepare a plan of what you would do separated.

Rule #10: Allow room for mistakes and Have fun!

When you're planning a trip, people will forget to bring essential items, others will become irritated, and things will happen beyond your control. Either way, try to get back on track and make the best of the moment.

The picture to the left was a family vacation that we took to Orlando, FL. We had an incredible time, but I had to take deep breaths many times throughout the trip. As you can see, everyone was supposed to wear a white shirt and blue jeans for the picture. Did that happen? Did everyone know? Of course not. However, you take the picture and keep the party going!

The vacation is short and you could waste meaningful minutes being upset, but those are minutes that you won't get back. So, enjoy each other and yourself. Solo, couple, and group travel can be stressful, but these are memories that you will never forget. Share your travel stories with us at contactus@thefloridapalatecom.

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