I spent four days in Cartagena with the kind of people who make you laugh until you’re clutching your abdomen, who share their food while placing their fork in your plate, and nudge you out of your comfort zone if the need arises. The three of us have a good relationship so it wasn’t surprising that our time together was pleasant and stress-free but my experiences have taught me that when traveling with people, good relationships will only get you so far.

IMG_5080.jpegI could use a little PATIENCE: Sometimes I’ll find myself agitated that someone is spending -in my opinion- too long at the shop stall deciding what earrings they want, trying to take the perfect photo, ordering a meal, or figuring out where they want to eat. My agitation then fills me with negative emotions that are detrimental to both me and the person(s) I’m traveling with; so I’m learning to simply slow down & be patient. For starters, I breathe deeply a few times- it helps to calm me down if I’m already worked up, then I see how I can involve myself because the pain of waiting for someone is often worse when I’m idle. Sometimes my intervention helps to speed things up. However, if I find that the person is simply being inconsiderate (say we have a time constraint they aren’t paying attention to), I try to hurry them up directly & politely. There’s no need to get passive-aggressive or aggressive-aggressive, it just makes everyone uncomfortable.VSCO Cam-3.jpgIt’s okay if we don’t do EVERYTHING together: If everyone agrees on every activity while on vacation, that’s great, but it won’t always happen, especially when the group is big. I’m that person that likes to keep everyone together because I think it’s nice to share experiences that we can talk and hopefully laugh about for years after the trip has ended, but it has to be organic. I can’t force it. While I lived in Ecuador, our entire group (at any given time we were always more than 5) rarely traveled, went out or did activities together. VSCO Cam-7.jpgIn Mindo for example, we split up based on interest. One group opted to go on a chocolate tour while another went to a butterfly museum. Now it’s easier to do this in a big group because there’ll likely be ONE other person who’s interested in the same things as me. However, if I’m in a group of 2 and my travel partner doesn’t want to be alone, we might decide to stick together but not partake in an activity together; I can chill on a boat or the beach while he/she parasails. Whether it’s party of 2 or 10, ideas will differ sometimes, this doesn’t always need to be a point of contention.VSCO Cam-1.jpgTravel buddies won’t always be familiar, and that’s OKAY: It’s an ideal situation when I can travel with people I know intimately, but it’s even better when I’ve traveled with them before. For the most part, I know what to expect and I often go in with the belief that we’ll make great memories. So it’s not a surprise that when I have to travel with people I’ve never met, I get anxious because I don’t know what to expect. Thankfully, both times I did this -the Dominican Republic ’13 and Ecuador ’17- I did not only create memories that elicit laughter or a smile when I recall them, I also met and befriended amazing people who I still talk to, reminisce & plan future trips with. VSCO Cam-1-1.jpgI have to TALK, not expect people to read my mind: My travel buddy might want to party on a night where I’m feeling exhausted but it’s up to me to let that be known instead of sulking about the fact that he/she can see I’m exhausted but still wants to go out, or worse, choosing to go out and sulking while we should be having a good time. It’s unhelpful and almost a sure-fire way to put me and my company in a bad mood. It’s important not just to talk but to do it politely and listen too. Unless I’m traveling alone, it’s not all about me.VSCO Cam-2.jpg

Finally, but most importantly:

The best person I can be is MYSELF: and I won’t alter that to suit person A’s expectations. Striving to be someone I’m not to impress or fit in with my immediate and short-lived company is not how I want to live my life and I’ve found that it’s easy to be sucked into that kind of pressure especially when traveling in a large group. If someone doesn’t like that I want to take out some time to journal or meditate, it’s not my goal to make them, the same way it shouldn’t be their goal to force me to do otherwise. There’s less disagreement and conflict when you appreciate other people’s individuality and allow them to express it. I can make compromises on where to eat or go dancing but I won’t fundamentally change who I am if it isn’t harmful to you. The best person I can be is myself, and I’ve learned that while people don’t have to like that, they definitely have to respect it. VSCO Cam-4.jpg

The best travel buddy [and the one I strive to be] is the one who realizes that a trip is just as much about their partner as it is about them, and is willing to compromise to make things work out in the best possible way. 

As always,

Thank you for reading!

Same Footprints, Different Sands

14 thoughts on “ Traveling with People Taught Me… ”

  1. Such key things for traveling with friends/others. I’m always surprised when I hear so and so no longer get along because they had a huge blow out whilst on holiday. Like, you paid hard cash to go to some new place to fight!? I find that everything is heightened on holidays , people are more emotional about everything as such everyone just needs to remember if you’re homesick or feeling grumpy the other person prob is as well. Cut each other some slack! Nice post 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, I know right? it’s honestly not worth it but you’re right, I think sometimes people expect things to go rosy and perfect on vacation so when there’s conflict, they don’t deal with it properly. And yes yes, cut each other some slack is right. Everyone is their own person. Of course, it’s not everyone you can travel pleasantly with but sometimes we don’t even try to be accommodating, and that’s necessary.


  2. Love this post. I agree with most of the points mentioned. Especially, we do not have to do everything together. I find that traveling with one other person is a lot more manageable in this regard, but when it involves 3 or more people, it can get difficult keeping everyone happy without compromising too much. But, it is always so much fun traveling in a group. Travel buddies are so crucial and it’s important to at least try to get it right. Great post.

    – U.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re definitely right. I think a lot of aspects of travel are more manageable with one other person. That’s why I try to allow a wider berth for compromise when I’m with a lot of people, without totally ignoring what I want as well. It’s important to at least try to get it right is a FACT. Thanks love!!


  3. These are all some really good points! The first one hits home for me and its why I prefer solo travel. I admittedly like to do things my way when I’m traveling. I’ve changed my mindset when traveling with others to remember that it’s not completely about me & what I want to do. It’s important so that we aren’t agitated & in a negative mindset.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks girl! I’ll admit I like solo travel for that first reason too. Being able to stay or go without needing to coordinate with someone else is definitely a welcome perk. But like you said, adjustments are necessary when it’s not only you.


  4. This was an interesting read – thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience. Besides coworkers and family members, I’ve not done much travel with other people in recent years. In fact, I’m finding that I really enjoy solo travel although there are definitely advantages to traveling with another person. I’m curious about your travel experience with people you’re not familiar with – was it a deliberate choice? How did you deal with the anxiety you experienced about being with people you did not know?
    – Loriade // http://www.lorikemi.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Loriade, thank you for reading! I definitely enjoy solo travel as well. Regarding my travel with people I wasn’t familiar with, yes it was deliberate. They were health-related volunteer trips, so different people from schools all over the U.S congregated in one country to work for a certain organization. So while it wasn’t necessarily my choice to be with unfamiliar people, the nature of the job called for it. Honestly, I just reminded myself to be myself and not worry about how I would be received, so long as I was not being offensive. Not thinking about that allowed me to shed a lot of anxiety about meeting the new people. Also, my most recent posting was for 2 months so it gave me time to adjust, and very quickly my travel mates stopped being strangers.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This was such a great read. I could relate to every point, having traveled both solo and in a group before. I think organized group tours are easy to manage because there’s usually an itinerary that everyone agrees to. So there are no ambiguities.

    For my unorganized group trips, luckily, my travel buddies have all been great. On a recent trip, we agreed to do some activities together and everyone had time to do their own stuff afterwards. I think a level of maturity and understanding is key here.

    At the end of the day, you couldn’t have said it better – the trip is about your partner(s) as it is about you. Finding the right balance keeps everyone happy and less miserable! – I hope I can take this advice for my upcoming trip with a slightly familiar travel buddy! Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much girl! Oh yes I definitely agree with you regarding organized tours and maturity and understanding – those last two are especially KEY. Haha, I’m sure you’ll be able to. Have a great trip!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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