“Traveling. It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” ~IBN BATTUTA
Travel is a great experience; a new place to discover sights, meet people, be introduced to different cuisines and get acquainted with your inner self. There are a multitude of reasons to travel: rest and relaxation, education, adventure, to become one with nature, sightseeing, partying, as well as food and wine tasting tours are some to name a few. Although I recommend solo travel at least once in your life, it is great to travel with a buddy or a group with whom you have common interests in order to gain a positive outcome from your getaway. I’m going to share ideas on destination and travel buddy selection so that your dream vacation doesn’t end up a nightmare! Here are some things to take into consideration when choosing your destination so that your travel story is a happy tale:
- Location and weather: if you are a beach person, choose a coastal destination or somewhere close to the coast or lake so you can easily drive to a beach; check the weather for the time of year you choose to travel [some countries’ seasons are opposite of the USA such as winter (cooler weather) during our summer months, others are warm year round but have rainy seasons]
- What do you plan to get out of your trip?: if you love a party scene at night or during the day, you wouldn’t choose a secluded/rural destination such as a wine tour or countryside bed and breakfast
- Accommodations: hotel with maid service, all inclusive resort, a weekly/monthly rental (in most cases you do the cooking and cleaning unless you hire a butler and cook), also consider is this a family friendly or for adults only trip?
- Will you fly, road trip, cruise or take the scenic route with a train ride?– It may seem a silly question, but here’s an example: if you’re driving, you need a drive share plan, split the time behind the wheel, decide if you’re renting a car/van, etc.
Another task of equal importance is selecting your travel companion. Oh you may be work wives at the office, fellow mallrats, text buddies, phone chatters, you may even be perfect pub pals…BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE MEANT TO TRAVEL TOGETHER!! I personally have foodie friends- we dine together, night clubbing chicas- we get dolled up and go dancing, family fun outing acquaintances- who have children the same ages as mine or love to spend time with my children, fellow beach bunny divas- no problem wearing a swimsuit and laying on the beach for hours sometimes, theater and concert companions- we share a passion for the arts and international gal pals who are always ready to get that passport stamped! They may fall under one umbrella or multiple, but I know who to invite where according to our common interests. Have a conversation with your prospective travel partner(s) and ask everyone to list what they expect to gain or lose (such as their minds, back at home identity or clothes on a nude beach) from the vacation, for example: touring, nonstop partying, drunken fun, hedonistic behavior (I’m just saying), fine dining, casual laid back lazy days, power packed adventures, shopping, shows/concerts, spa, beach bumming it or dressing to kill at every meal. Trust me, these things matter! Your co traveling queen may have a completely different view of what their vacation looks like from your ideal trip. I will even go so far as to suggest you loosely compare wardrobe ideas: there could be jealousy/ insecure issues if all she packs are flip flops and maxi dresses and you have stilettos, hot pants and mini skirts. I’ve seen trips ripped at the seams due to lack of communication; I’ve also experienced great memorable trips by doing these things I’ve suggested (even if I did it unknowingly). Once everything is laid on the table, bring up spending budget including checked bag fees, tipping porters and drivers and estimated dining and activities ain’t nothing worse than having a few dollars come between you and ya girl. Going your separate ways during the vacation is an option which leads to the last tidbit of information, knowing if you have a clingy companion, this is tricky but you can subtly ask if they are okay if you wander off for some alone time or in the event that you make a connection with a hot hunk, will she be offended that you left her alone? Also know this of yourself- do you need to be joined at the hip with your homegirl? Must you share every meal and activity? I find it imperative to spend at least a couple hours of my trip in solitude: a sunrise, a sunset, a stroll, reading, journaling or a nap under a tree, to get recharged and reacquainted with myself; some may feel that you’re intentionally shutting them out if you don’t explain this beforehand. Communication is key! By having a talk and getting an idea of what is expected of the trip before it is booked and again as the dates approach, there will be little room for any travel faux pas once you arrive to your destination and lots of harmonious memories to be made! Be well. Be balanced. Be blessed. C’est la Vie: This is Life!