Thursday, December 15, 2011

You Asked for It - Dueling Travel Personalities

Here's another reader-inspired post, and this one comes from Megan of Notes from the Bench. She asked the following:

Do you have any advice for traveling with someone who has a completely different vacation style?

I've only really traveled with two individuals that happen to be great travel companions for me: my BFF and Husband J. They both are relatively active sightseers like me. My BFF is way better for beach-ier locations since we both can read a book and lounge for the day rather easily. Husband J cannot do the beach for long without some exploring thrown in. Either way, I feel pretty lucky to have had great experiences with both of them.

What can I say about this issue, but that all parties need to COMPROMISE. I know that is sort of a no-brainer; but really what can you do but that? Here are some things that I think you'll need to think about when traveling with someone who envisions traveling very differently from you:

1. Pick a place that has something for everyone - If you're a beach bum, and your travel companion(s) love active sightseeing or adventure activities, sitting on the beach in Anguilla for a week is probably not going to fly with them (no pun intended). Pick a destination that's going to square well with all of your individual interests. Maybe instead of Anguilla, try somewhere like Belize or Costa Rica, which offers pretty beaches but also everything from zip lining to ancient Mayan ruins. Now if you have a particular destination in mind, then.....

Luckily, there were places to take Husband J in Antigua. He gets antsy at the beach.

2. Do activities that you'll both enjoy AND be willing to expand your idea of fun - The key to travel is flexibility. That means that if you're traveling with a group or another individual, then you may need to do an activity or see a sight or two that may not be a priority for you. Adjusting your expectations will be key. Even if the activity is not up your alley, you may find the experience something that you didn't think you would enjoy. Surprises are fun, and traveling is about being open to new experiences anyway.

3. Communicate - I feel as if I'm giving relationship advice here, but if you're not having a good time, tell your travel partner(s) in the nicest way possible. Depending on the type of relationship you have with said person(s), honesty is still better than stewing and being a sourpuss. Most adults I know appreciate knowing if their companions are having just as much fun as they are. One of the main reasons you're not traveling solo is probably because you want to experience this place TOGETHER. Talking it out while you're there will only help make the trip better.

At Niagara Falls

4. Don't be afraid to do things by yourself. Are you the hard charging walk all day type while your travel partner(s) want to take a nap or lounge at a cafe for an afternoon? Depending on where you're traveling, feel free to once in awhile take a break from each other for an hour or two. It's okay. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. :)

This isn't an exhaustive list or really that earth shattering, but I hope this sheds some light on this issue. You could also just travel solo, which has its own rewards. :)

Have you ever gone on a trip with someone who liked to travel very differently from you? How was it? What did you do to make the trip more enjoyable for everyone involved?


Lauren said...

Great tips! While I could probably lay around and read on vacation, my husband does get bored with a lot of relaxing. When we travel, I try to plan an excursion or two based on his interests to mix it up.

lobster said...

I like this question a lot! The hubs and I do have different travel interests. I think doing your own thing is a great tip. Then you have stories to swap when you come back together!

The Less Than Domestic Goddess said...

Great post! I really enjoyed reading it, and particularly agree with tip #2. Flexibility and compromise are keys to traveling with people with differing interests! I get stubborn sometimes, but I need to remember to keep an open mind. :)

Also, I love the photos of you guys. Beautiful!


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