If you're used to traveling solo or with a partner, then traveling with a group of friends (or strangers) might be a whole new ball game. And if that's the case for you, then you're in for an experience of a lifetime!
Traveling with a group of 20-somethings can no doubt be a ton of fun, and there are so many benefits that come with it. Some obvious ones: never dine alone; have someone to explore the outdoors with; have another human to bounce ideas and observations off of; have a friend to sip wine or chug a beer with; have a guaranteed buddy for a night out; and discover the beautiful world alongside another. If you're lucky enough to travel with a big group of friends (or want to seize your luck with new friends at FTLO this year), then here are some things to keep in mind to make the most of your experience together.
1. Keep an open mind. The key to maintaining good vibes throughout a trip that involves many people is keeping an open mind. When you practice flexibility and understanding, you give others the room to be themselves and to feel more at ease, which will help set a great tone for your trip.
2. Be nice to everyone. Back to the good old "golden rule" of treat others the way you want to be treated. This rule is particularly impactful when you're traveling with a group of people. Why? Because people tend to be tired, jet-lagged, anxious, excited or feeling many other ways that aren't always visible to the eye, so when you're nice to people, it helps offset any of those negative feelings. Additionally, if you're traveling with people you don't know very well, then being nice and respectful of others is a good way to start a friendship that could last a lifetime.
3. Consider everyone's wants and goals for the trip. Remember that everyone has invested a bit of themselves to be here (time, money, *dreams*), so you might not all have the exact same vision of what your trip should look like – and that's OK! For some, alone time might be important, while for others, connecting with lots of new locals might be a lifelong dream. Whatever the case may be, keep in mind that everyone is ultimately excited to be here and just wants to make the most of their experience, so again, practicing some flexibility or deciding to split up for a few activities is totally alright!
4. Be present. Being present is important when you're traveling for several reasons. For one, it improves safety when you're alert and aware of your environment, but aside from that, it just makes for better interactions between you and everyone around you. There's nothing worse than someone trying to have a conversation and the other person is on their phone, browsing the Insta. Your friends are here, now, in this moment...and there are memories waiting to me made. Your email can wait!
5. Be open to splitting up occasionally. When you're traveling with a group of people, there's no doubt there will be moments in which different people want to do different things. Everyone's energy levels and interests are different (we're human!), so there's no problem if some people are down to go to a bar, and others want to stay in an enjoy some wine from the comfort of their bed (yes). Splitting up for some activities is alright, and in fact, might give you some breathing space you didn't know you needed!
6. Communicate. Listen to the needs of others and also don't be afraid to voice the things that you're interested in doing. When you communicate clearly and honestly, it makes it easier for decisions to be made and for things to keep moving along smoothly.
7. Go with the flow. One thing any experienced traveler will tell you is that things don't always go as planned. But often times, it's for the best, or it's an opportunity to laugh things off and exercise your spontaneity. So when things aren't going quite as you had imagined, practice some flexibility and humor (if appropriate), and remember there are still a lot of good memories waiting to be made.
8. Respect budgets. Discussing budgets at the beginning at the trip is helpful so that you're all on the same page about what types of activities or experiences you'll be enjoying together throughout your trip. However, if there are moments in which you want to splurge and others cannot, then avoid guilting others into doing something they hadn't budgeted for, and see if maybe it's an activity you can try by yourself or maybe choose to forego the activity all together. On the other hand, if others want to splurge and it's not in your budget, then don't be afraid to communicate that you hadn't planned to budget that into your trip, and propose splitting up for the activity or finding an alternative that you can all enjoy together.
9. Schedule in some 'me' time. When you're traveling with a group of people, it's actually very important to schedule in some 'me' time. You might not expect it, but chances are you will benefit from having some time to just soak up the environment on your own, take a nap, or simply sit with your own thoughts for a minute. This also gives everyone a chance to replenish their energy and come back together in a few hours with more good vibes to give and memories to create.
10. Remember you're all here for a great time. At the end of the day, everyone is investing some time, money and energy to make this trip happen, and everyone is putting themselves "out there" for the goal of having a good time and building some great memories. So relax, enjoy each other's company, and you're bound to have an awesome experience that you can talk about for years to come.
Looking for new opportunities to travel and make new friends? Check out FTLO's upcoming group trips to different regions of the world and join us for an awesome adventure!