Friendcations: Having Fun While Keeping it Real
This is the scene: I am in New York City for a mini vacation with five of my closest girlfriends. The six of us have chosen to walk to a restaurant rather than take a cab so we can enjoy the heat and take in New York in the summer. Two of my friends are nearly a block ahead of us, fast-talking and not stopping to look back as they make their way to dinner. Another friend is a few paces behind them, keeping up but continually looking back to make sure the rest of us follow. Two more of my friends are nearly a block behind me, stopping at each little sidewalk shop to admire the window displays and take a brochure.
Someone once told me that there are two types of travelers: the tortoise and the hare. The tortoise likes to enjoy the scenery, stop along the way, and soak everything up. The hare likes to get to the destination quickly, see as much as possible within the given time frame, and take very few pit stops.
Vacationing with friends can be a blast, but it can also be miserable if you don’t take a few things into consideration first. For the most part, I’ve always enjoyed taking trips with friends. There are more activities to partake in, more people to talk to, and all around more fun. There has, however, been an instance or two when I said, “Never again!”
These are my tips for what to do and what not to do when taking a trip with your friends.
DO choose your friends wisely. Make sure you’re compatible with the friends you are planning to travel with and that you have similar interests and tastes.
DON’T plan your trip last minute. This causes extra stress, which can create tension amongst your pals.
DO appoint a vacation planner. It’s best for one person in your group to be responsible for sharing dates, times, and vacation details. You don’t want too many hands in the pot, but you do want to know what’s going on.
DON’T over plan your vacation. Planning is great, but make sure you also leave room for a little spontaneity and flexibility. It often makes the best memories!
DO be straightforward with your friends. Be up front about what you want to do while you’re away, what your must-see sites are, and what you don’t want to spend time (or money) on.
DON’T spend all day/night together. Make sure you take some time alone or with your spouse if you planned a couples’ trip. It helps keep your sanity in check!
DO decide on a budget. Most vacation arguments center on either children or money, so make sure you and your friends know who is responsible for what, and how you’re going to divide and conquer. Things to budget for include groceries, parking garages, eating out, cleaning supplies, tips, resort fees, park admissions, and event tickets.
DON’T let your friends do all the work. No one person should do all the cleaning, cooking, wakeup calls, etc. Take turns and share what needs to be done.
DO be clear on sleeping preferences. Are you and your friends early birds or night owls? Plan sleeping arrangements accordingly.
DON’T go to bed angry. If, by chance, you do get into an argument with your pals, try to sort it out before bedtime and end each day still enjoying each other’s company. Never let the sun set on your anger.
DO consider your children. When vacationing with your children, they will usually be your first priority. You will find kid-friendly places, activities, and seek out family fun. If your friends are also bringing their children, you’ll want to make sure you consider how their ages, dynamics, and interests will interact with those of your children.
DON’T forget why you went. Remember to relax, have fun, and enjoy the company!
Keep in mind that some of your friends will be tortoises, while some will be hares. And some, like me, will be right in the middle. I like to take my time and relax when I’m on vacation, but I also don’t like to be the last one in line or take so much time at one place that I miss out on something else.
Note: The trip to New York with my girlfriends was one of my favorite trips ever. Even though our preferences varied from tortoise to hare, we were so happy to be in one another’s company that we worked out any differences we had. And we all agreed that the six of us should never travel together longer than a three-day weekend!
Enjoy your summer!