Having just finished (and survived) two girlfriend trips, I thought I’d discuss some of the things that make a group trip fabulous and some that turn it into a waking nightmare. Group travel definitely isn’t for everyone. Let’s face it, as strong independent women, we march to the beat of our own drummer. My drummer happens to be Animal from The Muppets.
Many of us travel well with one or two people or just by ourselves. However, there’s nothing like the fun and camaraderie of a getting a group of crazy girlfriends together for some rollicking good fun. You know the typical dinner scene: multiple conversations going on at once, bursts of cackling, booze flowing freely, cameras flashing, more food on the table than an army can eat. When things are going well, the energy is amazing and makes the soul feel light.
Keep in mind that everything I’ll be talking about; I’ve been guilty of. I’m one of the biggest offenders I know. I’m not pointing the finger at anyone else as much as I’m pointing the finger at myself – primarily the middle finger when I’m acting like an idiot. So hang on tight and get that grain of salt ready!
WARNING: Massive amounts of head-slapping sarcasm ahead! Proceed at your own risk.
1. Make sure to take your time.
You are important! So what, if everyone else is sitting in the car waiting on you. You don’t need to get up early to compensate for the fact that it takes you eons to get ready. You are special!
Guilty as charged! I’ve actually missed a bus and almost missed a train because I was piddling around. I’ve started getting up about thirty minutes before everyone else because I like to take my time getting ready in the morning. It doesn’t help that my ADD is very effective at keeping me chasing my tail in the morning, so it’s not uncommon to see me walking around with mascara on only one eye, drinking coffee, and looking through the refrigerator while checking my email at the same time.
2. Make sure to keep your own counsel.
If someone asks for your opinion about what to eat, where to go, or anything of that nature, make sure to say you don’t care instead of voicing your opinion. That way you can whine about it later.
Guilty as charged! Typically, I pull this silliness when I’m hungry, tired, or bored from waiting in line. Having been on both sides of this situation, it’s definitely better to put in your two cents. If you don’t share your opinion, you may wind up being unhappy with the meal, the activity, or the destination. On the flip side, I’ve been incredibly frustrated when my friends don’t communicate with me, and I find out later they were unhappy with my choices.
3. Allow others an opportunity to feel helpful.
Girl, you are a princess! You don’t need to lift a finger or do your share of the work. That’s what all the other girls are there for.
Guilty as charged! I will admit, I’ve taken advantage of the fact that there are others in my gal group that will pick up my slack. I’ve been known to let a few chores slide, knowing that someone else will finally give in and do them. However, I was so hurt when I overheard one friend tell another that I wasn’t doing my share of the work, it really made me take a step back and think about my behavior. I’ve gotten much better at pitching in, but I do backslide from time to time. I’m still a teenager at heart!
4. Allow others the opportunity to be charitable.
Your luggage space is valuable, so don’t pack travel essentials. Your travel companions don’t mind sharing with you. It doesn’t matter if they won’t have enough for themselves.
Guilty as charged! Generally speaking, if I have to borrow something, it’s because I’ve forgotten to pack it. However, my girlfriends aren’t walking Walmarts. It’s perfectly fine to suggest a detour to a shop, pharmacy or grocery store, especially since I’m usually not the only one who’s overlooked an item or two during the pre-trip chaos. To help ensure I bring everything I need, I created a general packing list that I can customize for each trip. Even so, I forgot to pack contacts for my right eye before leaving for Italy. D’oh!
5. Never deviate from the plan.
Who cares if the situation has changed, and it’s now inconvenient to do what you want to do. You’re a diva! Everyone should be working around you and your schedule.
Guilty as charged! Yes, I’ve pouted my way from one city to the next because I didn’t get to do what I had planned. Turns out the world doesn’t revolve around my plans, and sh*t happens. You’re traveling in a group. That means people get tired and hungry at different times. That means something more interesting to the group may pop up, and your gal pals would rather do that than stick to the original plan. Time to start making some lemonade. The good news is, now you have an excuse to go back and see what you missed!
Despite all the things that can go wrong, when group trips go right, they are amazing experiences that you and your girlfriends can laugh about for years to come. I’ve shared some of the happiest moments of my life while traveling with my kick-ass friends. I wouldn’t give up my girl trips for anything. The memories we’ve created together are precious treasures that I’ll have with me forever.
So what terrible travel etiquette transgressions have you been guilty of? Come on, fess up!