I was reminded recently of a perfect example where "opposites attract" can prove tricky. We can be very different from our dearest friends. About 20 years ago when we first traveled with some of our dearest friends, I was surprised to see how many different directions I was being pulled. Being friends for 10+ years, you would think that was plenty time to know each other's personalities and interests. But traveling with someone is quite different.
Why were we touring Carlos & Charlie's instead of the Mayan ruins?
Why stand in line for hours to be first off the ship?
We had so much fun on that trip, we are still laughing at so many things from that trip! These friends are easily the most flexible, fun people on Earth. Sure they liked to tour strange places more than the average person should, but nobody's perfect. I learned an important lesson on that trip though. It's not that difficult to travel with groups of friends who have a different travel style, but one thing is for sure, you must PREPARE. Unless of course, they want to ski Banff and you want to bask in the sun at an all-inclusive resort in Exuma, there may be some issues.
Here are some practical tips that we learned for the next 8 years we traveled together. Hopefully these tips will allow several different travel styles to blend perfectly for future travels.
Some of our favorite travel companions are those that speak up & say "We want to see this, y'all are welcome to join us" and they really mean it. For instance, we toured the Mayan Ruins the next time, some chartered a pirate ship, some shopped, etc. It was so much fun to gather at dinner and hear what everyone did that day. It also gave us great ideas for future years on that same cruise.
COMBINE YOUR INTERESTS
Another example on a recent Italy trip, the girls wanted to catch all of the local iconic sites and the guys were all about no plans & relaxing. So we planned some excursions each morning and left the afternoons to leisurely walk around, get lost (you know how men DON'T ask for directions), long casual dinners. Another great idea was the first 7 days of our trip were hopping city to city, each day pretty planned out & the last 3 days were in Positano to relax and recharge before our return to the real world. This was hands-down my favorite trip of all time!!
Whatever the case may be . . . city exploring and wine country immersion, culture and romance, adventure and beach. . . regardless of the destination, with some planning and strategizing, each person can get the desired experience. In many cases, it may make a good trip a great trip because you experienced a different type of travel.
SPEND TIME ALONE
Sure, you are traveling with good friends, but that doesn't mean you can't steal some alone-time. I realized a long time ago, we love to be with our friends, but it's just as important that we spend some quiet time together before returning to the real world. So we split up one or two nights and explore a little and have dinner on our own. Funny enough, we did that in Italy and ended up walking in one restaurant when our friends were walking out, how funny is that? They recommended an awesome appetizer and snapped our pic, (great example of choosing the perfect friends to travel with).
Sometimes we may want to do some of the things others are doing, but we may opt out of the 2nd part of their day and do something different.
If you are the only one in your group that wants to enjoy a specific experience, small group tours are an awesome way to be surrounded by people with similar interests. I did this recently on a river cruise, when my son & I split up for the evening, and experienced a great night of baking baguettes with some awesome NEW friends.
We have traveled to many beautiful places over the last 30 years, sometimes we chose iconic tours over experiencing the culture. As crazy as it seems to me now, my husband wasn't a great fan of extreme adventure, and with our crazy, busy parenting lives, I was OK to sightsee then chill.
Now that our children are grown and we live a little slower pace, we do seek out adventure. Sure it takes time away from our relaxing, reading and beaching time, but because of experiences like our recent zip-line and hiking, I'm quite anxious to plan our next adventure trip.
Sometimes opening yourself up to things outside of YOUR norm allows you to find different things to appreciate, and sometimes love.
These are the many reasons we ask SO MANY QUESTIONS when planning travel. I want the experience as a whole to be great, and for everyone involved to enjoy themselves immensely. Usually that takes a little strategy, but it always proves to be a worthy cause. We are all individually inspired and motivated by different things. If you and your friends are ready for an awesome travel experience, but you you are not crazy about taking the lead, I would love to help you and your friends begin mapping out what your dream trip looks like for you and your travel partner(s)!