To be honest, I’ve never understood why some people can’t stand the idea of travelling alone. Having done it in Kyoto and Hiroshima, I had an incredible time and would totally do it again! I love that whether you speed through attractions or take things slow, it doesn’t matter. After all, there’s no one to please except yourself when you’re going solo.
If you ask me, the real trial lies in travelling with a group, which I discovered on my recent trip to Japan and Korea. Don’t get me wrong – I love my friends and all. But realistically speaking, it’s not normal to see your friends every second of everyday. When you’re suddenly thrown into that situation, it’s no surprise that even the closest of friendships are tested! With this in mind, here are some tips for travelling in groups:
1. Choose your travel partners wisely.
A good piece of advice is to pick people you know well, and have travelled with before. But obviously, this can be quite tricky if you’ve never had the chance to do so! It may be worth going on a weekend trip first, just to see how everyone gets along.
Also, don’t ignore any potential red flags in a travel partner. Do they instantly kill the mood when they enter the room? Are they moody? Picky eaters? You might be able to tolerate these things to a certain extent, but it’s a different story when you’re travelling together. As long as you listen to your gut, you should be fine!
2. Schedule in plenty of extra time.
Getting from A to B isn’t so straightforward in a group setting. It’s inevitable that people will lag behind, wander off, and get distracted by shiny things along the way. Even the most mundane of activities can take twice as long, so plan accordingly! If you only schedule a few of things to see per day, you won’t find yourself rushing between places.
3. Learn to compromise
Remember that in a group setting, it’s not always about you. A trip to that obscure museum might sound like your idea of fun, but your friends could have other ideas! Learn to compromise, and try to settle on activities that you can enjoy as a group. Which leads me to my next point…
4. Split up.
Some people might say this defeats the purpose of travelling together in the first place. But in all honestly, it’s the only way I was able to stay sane during my three week trip! If you split up, people won’t feel forced to do or eat things they’re not so keen on.
If you don’t like the idea of being apart for an entire day, organising checkpoints and meeting up for food works just fine. Doing so allows you to take a breather from your friends, and is a total godsend for introverts like me. And another upside? The conversation can die out really quickly when you’re together 24/7. At least when you split up, it gives you something to talk about at the end of the day!
5. Make sure everyone’s involved in the planning process.
Finally, I can’t stress this one enough! Get everyone involved when planning the trip, whether you use a spreadsheet or meet up in person. Organising a trip is already difficult enough as is, so it’s only fair that everyone helps out in one way or another.
When you plan things together it also helps manage expectations, and ensures that everyone’s must-see thing is scheduled in. Take it from me. There’s no use waiting until you’re actually on the trip, to bring up something that requires tickets way ahead of time! In the same vein, I recommend taking turns when it comes to navigating. After all, if you’re not willing to help out it’s best to hire a travel guide, instead of dumping the responsibility on your friend.
Are you a fan of travelling in groups, or do you prefer to go solo? For me, both have their pros and cons. However, one thing I do miss when travelling alone is having someone there to share the memory with! If you ask me, that alone is worth dealing with the hard parts of group travel.