There are few things more exciting for me than researching, planning, and preparing for a next trip. I can feel equal parts excitement, fear, anxiety, and gratitude. However, all the preparation is part of the travel process for me; something that brings me great joy and eases my worry. For others, this planning may be an aspect of traveling that brings too much anxiety or is a detail that others can do without. Knowing and understanding how your unique travel approach, and those who you are traveling with, can be a great asset in preparing and having the best experience on your trip.
Step one – figure out your own travel style.
Are you a planner who needs to have the train routes and tickets ahead of time, meals and attractions researched, and a strict itinerary? Are you more free-spirited and like to see where the day takes you as long as you have your ticket to get there? Or, are you somewhere in between?
There isn’t a “wrong” travel style – it’s understanding how you operate! Knowing a little more about yourself can be helpful to predict how your trip may go, regardless if you are traveling with someone new or an old friend.
Take some time to learn how you plan things, and how you may react when things don’t go as planned. Or, on the flip side, if you need to do some planning and can’t be as spontaneous as you’d prefer, how can you manage having that structure?
Step two – take into account others that are traveling with you.
If you are an avid traveler, you may have already experienced traveling with others who don’t have the same routines as you or very different personalities. Differing goals and expectations of a trip can cause frustration and resentment between your travel companions if not addressed ahead of time.
Understanding your expectations and how you handle travel stressors can help you to communicate them more effectively with others.
One way to avoid this, can be to have a quick meeting beforehand to plan what each member of your travel group wants to achieve during the trip, how they each would handle any crises that arise, and how they want to structure each day. For example, if one adventurer likes to be up and exploring from sun up to sun down, this would be helpful for someone to know who may want to sleep in and have a slower exploration pace.
Step three- navigate misaligned travel approaches
There are many ways to navigate mismatched traveling styles, such as finding ways to compromise on how many sites are visited, or how much down time to allot.
Another option is to see if either of you are comfortable separating individually or into smaller groups for a period of time to do things that meet each of your needs. Even if you’ve traveled with the same people in the past, depending upon where you’re going and what the purpose of the trip is, the expectations may not always be the same.
Likely, if you have a love of traveling, you are at least somewhat prepared to handle the unexpected. Things can go array regardless of how much or little is planned. Worrying about how you well you’ll get along with your travel partners doesn’t have to be an additional stressor!
While traveling with others who “travel” differently than you can be stressful, naming the expectations ahead of time can prepare you more readily for your adventure. Best of all, remember that even if you are traveling with a group, it is still YOUR experience – make it what you need it to be!