How To Get Along With Your Travel Companions

by Steve Dodd

Traveling with companions can occasionally be as frustrating as it is rewarding. However, there are a few simple tips and techniques that can make your journey together as stress-free as it should be. So whether you’re volunteering abroad with your friends or family, going as a group or just as a couple, remember the reason you originally decided to travel together was because you like each other!

Happy and smiling volunteers
Friends enjoying the moment.

Communication

Before traveling, it’s wise to speak to everyone involved in the trip to find out what each person wants to get out of it. What are people hoping to do or not do? Where would everyone like to go? What is everyone’s budget? If you pre-agree on a destination and activities you’ll minimize unpleasant surprises and conflicts later on. Not everybody’s after the same type of trip. Communication both before and during a trip is vital to keep everyone positive and comfortable with the knowledge that there’s a rough plan of what you are going to do and how it will all fit together.

Compromise

Believe it or not, not everyone has the same viewpoints as you. The activities you enjoy are probably not universal, so be open to suggestions and willing to try new things and compromise when planning. By embracing things you might not normally consider, or by traveling with a diverse group you may discover a new hobby or awaken a new passion. Variety is the spice of life, and compromising with your travel companions will certainly offer variety. Just as consensus is important in everyday life, it is important when traveling with others. If every member of your group has the chance to contribute to the itinerary, then the chances are everyone will be happy and view the plans as fair.

At the Leshan Buddha

Do Your Own Legwork

It’s OK to drag an unwilling partner or group to a particular museum or attraction because you really want to go – after all it’s a part of compromise! But if you do, make sure that you do the legwork. Work out costs, how to get there, how long it will take, and state how long you would like to spend there. Hopefully, an unwilling audience will soon become interested and join you in your passion, but if not (and even if you don’t like it) be sure to remain positive. It won’t go over well if the trip you convince people to go on doesn’t go well and you are the biggest complainer about it.

Mix and Match

After the group has finished participating in your choice of activity, have a look around at what else there is to find. The group may be able to stop somewhere else nearby that appeals to the others. If you actively consider other people’s interests (perhaps organize something which a travel partner will enjoy) the gesture will go a long way and make the travel experience much more pleasant and relaxed for everyone.

Give In Sometimes

Making a concession may make someone’s day. Even if it is something that you don’t really want to do, agreeing to go along with someone else occasionally is a good idea. Even if that person knows you’re not excited about visiting the pencil museum, they’ll appreciate the effort and even a pencil museum usually ends in a good story.

Appreciate the Needs of Others

When travelling, it is worth considering the old adage that the world does not revolve around you. This is important in any travel situation, whether you are with friends or stuck with a group of strangers. So maybe that chatty passenger in the seat next to you on the plane is a bit of an irritation. Have you considered that they might be a nervous flyer and a little afraid? A ten minutes during take off may make the next ten hours better for everyone.

Waikiki beach

Relax!

Finally, don’t forget to chill out. You’re on a trip that took time and effort to plan. A new place and adventures are everywhere but won’t wait while while you have a nervous breakdown about the firmness of your pillow or argue with your travel buddies. Try not to let trivial matters disrupt what traveling is all about. While it’s fine to want a bit of time to alone, try to enjoy the company and be grateful you have someone to share it with. We often complain that we don’t get to spend enough time with our friends and loved ones, so enjoy it while you can – don’t argue with each other! 

Travel is best enjoyed with an open mind and a positive outlook.

Often our most memorable holiday experiences are those we haven’t planned, so stay upbeat, considerate and appreciative, and you’re sure to have the trip of a lifetime!

Start planning out your volunteer abroad experience now!