I remember about 5 years back when I first traveled internationally with one of my dearest friends on the planet. I had already been friends with her for over 15 years, so surely we have had plenty of time to know each other’s personalities and likes. But traveling with someone is different.
Why wasn’t she in more of a hurry to get down to breakfast before it was over?
When was she going to realize that my internal itinerary that had outwardly been expressed as “no real plans” was being thrown off?
How come she wanted to spend SO MANY HOURS inside a museum?
I have nothing but the fondest memories of our time spent in Cologne and Prague that summer. Melanie is probably one of the easiest people on the planet to travel with because she is so easygoing and up for anything. Sure, she likes spending time in museums more than an average person should, but nobody is perfect! I learned an important lesson during our trip though. It’s not that difficult to travel with someone who has a different travel style than you if you prepare for it. Sure, if you want to hike Machu Picchu and they want to lounge under an umbrella at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, you might have some issues.
Here are some practical tips that will hopefully allow two different travel styles to blend perfectly in the same trip.
SPLIT YOUR TIME
Some of my favorite trips are when I make it a point to combine two different styles into one trip. Case in point: I went to Belize about a year and a half ago with an adventure junkie that probably hasn’t opened a book for enjoyment since college. In my mind, relaxing in a hammock while the breeze swayed me from side to side with a good book sounded like paradise right about then, but it wouldn’t have been enjoyable for both of us if that is all we did. So we spent the first half of the trip at a jungle lodge doing all these incredible activities. We kayaked down the river, we hiked, we explored caves, and we had an incredibly fun—albeit busy—time. We then made our way to Ambergris Caye and I found my hammock.
It’s super easy in a lot of destinations to combine adventure and relaxation.. city life and beach.. romance and culture.. whatever the case may be. Taking the time to plan and strategize ensures that both people get to experience what they’re after, and also is a way to expand on an already great trip!
SPEND TIME ALONE
Yes, you are on a vacation with another person, but that really doesn’t mean that you must be joined at the hip. I realized a long time ago (probably in Prague), that I have a very low museum threshold. Whatever the guidebook says is the time you should allot, I probably need about a quarter of that. But if the person I’m traveling with wants to hear a guide go on and on for hours about the brush strokes in a certain masterpiece, they should be able to do that. And I should be able to people watch at a cafe down the street. If you love to snorkel, I will join you once and then I will let you and and the sea creatures hang out all on your own.
Small group tours are also an excellent way to be surrounded by people interested in seeing and doing the same thing as you, and allow you to not feel “alone”. I do this when I actually am traveling alone and when I’m not. It’s never weird if there are 7 people in the group instead of 8.
I lived in Arizona for 5 years without ever thinking of going to the Grand Canyon. Sure, the pictures looked pretty but what was it that people actually spent time doing there? As crazy as it seems to me now, I used to not be that interested in outdoorsy type stuff . Besides a cool few pictures, the appeal was not that strong.
But then I went. And to this day, it is one of my favorite experiences traveling within the U.S. I loved everything about it. From my non-luxury rustic cabin accommodations, to waking up before the sun to watch it rise over the canyon, to hiking down into the canyon and experiencing that different viewpoint. Up until then, I could count on one hand the times I went hiking, and because of experiences like that it’s now one of my favorite hobbies.
Sometimes opening yourself up to things outside of your norm or your comfort zone allows you to find different things that you love and appreciate.
In planning travel, ,there is often two or more different types of people I need to keep in mind. I want the experience as a whole to be good, and for everyone involved to enjoy themselves immensely. Sometimes that takes a little strategy, but I think in the end it’s worth it. We are all individually inspired and motivated by different things when we travel. Keep that in mind, and contact me to have my assistance in mapping out what that looks like for you and your travel partner!