Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How To Travel With Friends

Barbara: Since Deb and I and the boys just got back from our amazing trip to Costa Rica, I thought it might be fun to start a convo about traveling with friends. I mean, let’s face it: it’s one of those adventures that sounds appealing in theory, but often ends in quasi-comic disaster. We’ve all heard the stories of a group of friends heading off together to some distant land, only to find their dreams of sun-dappled rest, smart cocktails, and scintillating conversation suddenly morph into nightmares of personality clashes, mismatched expectations, and money mayhem.

First off, I will say this: Phil and I and Deb and Colin make EXCELLENT travel partners. When the kids were younger, we traveled together over several years to ski in Panorama, BC. My memories of those trips just burst with giddy laughter, silly game-playing, and sassy cocktail hours. 
2005: Zoolander was the movie theme for our first shared Panorama trip:
sun and wind whipped, that's right, we're supermodels... 
And the boys? Brandishing "Le Tigre" and "Blue Steel", of course.
So we knew going in that Costa Rica wouldn’t be ruined by unexpected conflict.

But why do we travel so well together? I’m afraid mutual love and admiration are not enough when you’re in close quarters. But here’s what does work:

1.     Let things slide. Go in with a come-what-may attitude and you will evade a LOT of conflict. This is rule #1 for very good reason!
2.     That said, do some planning ahead. Compromise is 9/10s of the law of travel. Like this:
3.     Agree on how to deal with money matters ahead of time. We split any bills we received (asking the server to accommodate this at the start of our meals) to avoid that clunky “my turn, your turn” quandary. We also agreed on how much we would tip. It may feel a bit awkward at first, but believe me, it’s way less awkward than suddenly realizing you hate those ungrateful-heathens-formerly-known-as-friends for taking such blatant advantage of you or for being such social idjits. Not that this has ever happened to us, but this seems to be the number one complaint in those nightmare-traveling-with-friends scenarios.
4.     Agree on what you’re going to do to some degree. Some people look forward to spending the week just lying on the beach, some prefer exploring and shopping, some a mix of both. If you plan ahead, even just a little, you can avoid the frustration of either being that guy who’s always bored and disappointed or listening to that guy who’s always bored and disappointed. The best part of this preemptive plan is that some of the divides occur within a couple, so now individuals can potentially enjoy more cake whilst also having it as people split off in diverse groups to do what most appeals to them. This rule applies to traveling with your kids too, btw. When we go on hot-weather holidays as a family, Stefanie and I prefer beach, book, and snorkeling, while Phil and Michele go for the diving. Not only does splitting the group allow for everyone’s tastes to be satisfied, but it gives you great re-cap talks at the end of the day over vacation dinner.
5.     Waiting for others can be a pain. It’s okay to agree to disagree about what time to get up, or eat a meal, or get a drink. This is everyone’s holiday. We would often let happenstance guide us in a “we’re sure we’ll bump into you at some point” kind of way. Even amongst the couples themselves. Phil might decide he wants to sit by the pool instead of waiting in the room while I shower and “beautify”. Deb and Colin might decide they want to get up early and sit by the lodge fire instead of waiting for us to get our sweet asses out of bed. That kind of thing.
6.     And last but not least—and this comes NOT from personal experience, but from sharing a resort week with guests and kinda getting to know them from afar—but try, please please try, not to bicker. Bickering is so … ugly. It sounds petty and feels irritating. It’s not the Muzak you want in the soundtrack of your trip. Every resort trip we’ve ever taken has included some version of the Bicker McBickersons. I don’t how they do it, but they manage to suck the light from the very equatorial sun itself. While these aren’t my own friends, I’ve felt sad and empathetic for the poor sods forced to travel with them. If you can’t say anything without bickering, don’t say….yadda yadda.

Now it’s your turn. Any great tips (and/or tales) to add to this list???

Deb: Barb, I think you pretty much covered it. All the potentially awkward things were taken care of and that left it open for relaxing, easy travel.

I do hate the deciding what time breakfast is on a trip, though. I love it, of course, when there is something planned and we can all meet an hour or so before said event to eat and chat with anticipation. But on the non-scheduled days, I love just saying, “See you at breakfast.” That way the early birds can go down for coffee and meet the later birds when they arrive. We did this on our trip and it was perfect. If one couple had eaten they would join the other for a second or third cuppa. No one felt pressure.

The only thing I do not enjoy on a trip—and we only had to endure it once (LOL)—is shopping with boys. Boys. Shopping. No. Now, in fairness, Phil is not too bad because at least he was interested in maybe getting himself something, although he did say, “Why are you girls going to the closest shop first? Why not do this shop at the end???”  Oh Phil. Poor well-intentioned Phil. The answer is that we must “scout”, boys! We must know what is nearest the hotel. In this case, the shop right outside the gates at The Harmony had all the treasures we could hope for. Had we not “scouted”, we would have spent our budgets before we even landed there. Rookie mistake, Phil, rookie mistake.

However, and I say this with love ... compared to my husband, Phil is one of the Sex and the City girls when it comes to shopping. My husband abhors shopping. Bless him.  And the beauty of him is, he does not try to hide it. We went into a very chic men’s shop and Phil looked around at a few things. Colin stood outside. When I poked my head out the door, this is how the convo went:

Me (holding up stunning simple gorgeous fabric T-shirt): “Honey, I am going to buy you this shirt!”
Him: “I don’t want it, thanks. I already have a shirt.”

And so it goes. 

59 comments:

  1. Really good advice on traveling well together. It's such a good idea to plan a few things out in advance which can take any stress out of the trip. I recently went on a trip with my three sisters.....family.....maybe in some ways harder than going with friends. We had not all been together in about 10 years due to geography. On the whole, I would say it was a great trip, but we were all a little tense about it beforehand. In some ways we became little girls again and frolicked in the ocean and on the beach, and on the other hand, some old family tensions were still there (under the surface)
    On the other hand, I have a dear friend who I travel with so easily. We don't even have to say anything, it always goes so smoothly. I just think we love being together and embrace the break and holiday.
    Wonderful advice Barb, and Deb, I'm with Colin....I hate shopping!

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    1. Yes, traveling with family (as Shalaka says below) can be even trickier than with friends. But I love that you sisters did it and that, for the most part, it went so well. And, you know, sometimes those tense moments can open up good dialogue too.

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    2. You're right Barb. It did open up great dialogue and we learned so much about each other.

      A trick I used on that trip is I brought my needle point, so that when we were all supposed to go out the door, I would just needlepoint so I wouldn't get stressed about waiting for a late sister. How my mother got 4 little girls dressed, fed, and out the door every morning for school seems like a miracle to me now. Lol

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    3. See! Now that's another GREAT coping trick: what to do when someone is always late and making you wait. Fight it or keep yourself distracted? (obviously, the first rule should be: If you've planned an event, don't keep your friends waiting!)

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    4. LOL yeah thats right...Traveling with family can be a pain in the ass (especially when you are the youngest....)...and its like...I had an experience .....I Like i said... am mostly sleeping :P we went on a trip and once Idk I was in the room I come out...I have no idea what has happened..I know they were having an argument....All i wanted is to SLEEP honestly...the weather was amazing and it was like 12.00 at night!!!! I look at my mom and go "SO DID YOU GUYS DECIDE WHERE I AM GONNA SLEEP..??" and she yells..."IS ANYBODY ELSE ASKING THAT.???....DONT TALK WHEN 'ELDERS' ARE TALKING" (thats a typical Indian average middle aged person's response which always means.."I DONT KNOW WHAT TO SAY")"...then i realized they had a fight about who is gonna sleep where (since we were at a cousins place)....WHO IS GONNA SLEEP WHERE.....how can someone argue about that....its barely even a TOPIC!!??!...I mean who is gonna sleep where....Just get a friggin place that looks comfy and yell "DIBBS !!!"...how hard is that ????

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    5. not hard at all Shalaka, I agree!

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    6. LOL yeah...its is tough when they pull off the "I AM OLDER THAN YOU...so shut up !!!" CRAP....
      Its so annoying....its all conditional...the very next minute they will even say..."You are not 10 anymore...you should know this stuff"
      Ill be like...ok decide amongst yourselves ....whether I am old or young.......until then...Ill take a nap...:D

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  2. Its true....unfortunately my trips have always been about ....others bickering...It was annoying really annoying...!!! But then I got a cellphone with atleast (500 songs)and a headset
    ....and a MP3 player...(just in case the cell runs outta juice :D) Ive never been on a trip with Friends....But it sounds great...and every thing you said Barb....really made sense...And I guess most importantly...not taking anything personally...(that screwed up a few of my family trips :P) It feels wonderful when its easy...and you feel comfortable when the trip partners....I on the other hand......spent most of my trips...Relaxing and Sleeping Like a friggin' DRUNKEN CHIMP !!!(Although Ive always had someone yelling at me to wake up early in the morning.) I am in my own little world ..that is why i can atleast enjoy it...!!!

    Love your ski trip pix...reminded me of the story when Deb accidentally tickled Phil...LOL!!

    And Deb you are right
    Guys.Shopping.EEEERRRRRHHH !!!!
    "I dont want it thanks.I already have a shirt" :D..Lmao !!!!!
    Poor Phil.....I felt bad for him...in fact for any guy who gets stuck with us when we are shopping :D...!!!

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  3. Shalaka!! Sleeping like a drunken chimp -- so funny!! Although I think your survival method of using music to drown out the bickering is genius.

    And thanks for reminding me about that old post -- I've now linked to it in the story (under "giddy laughter")!

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    1. LOL yeah...... trust me...if someone clicked my picture when I am sleeping I would even look like a drunken chimp......:D

      It really is....and its tough when like the earlier post "rewind..snap"..when nobody wants to hear....and everyone wants to prove they are right..... Its always best to drown in music....or jump off the window...!!! (thankfully I didnt have to use that yet...:P )
      Or LITERALLY DO THIS :
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5CSBZz3eOI

      Lol..Well Ive mostly had trips with my family.....But I really dont care....what they are doing...I am on a trip...and I am gonna dissolve ever grain of stress within me....no matter where I am !!!

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  4. yes drunken chimp made me laugh. Ahh yes the time when I...
    Mary-Jo, how lovely to have three sisters. Barb has two. I was laughing when I read it though. For although this post is called Travelling with Friends, for travelling with family we'd need a whole new blog, or maybe a book, or a mini-series!

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    1. Too true.....much more complicated Deb!!!

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    2. Hey Deb, you have to meet my new horse Milwaukee or "red" ..... he is delightful! If you can't find my email, just ask Chip. I will send you a picture of him.

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    3. Mary-jo, I would love to see your pup! I will look for your email. If I can't find it and you don't hear from me, ask Chip to forward you mine!

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    4. lol YEAH.....traveling with family....I could write a book about it !! I have so many memories...And lemme tell ya I have a typical INDIAN family....so its even worse sometimes....!!! because we have a habit of taking everything personally !! (Not me...I used to be like that...but now I just dont give a damn...) Like I said....they had arguments about who is gonna sleep where....I mean C'MON !!

      BTW thanks for your wish for good news !!!!! I am so Happy that you are happy for me...!!! I am really excited to paint you gals (and Colin) now...!!!!!!!! Will mail Barb as soon as I am done with it !!

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  5. I think the letting things slide rule will help in all other areas, but it can be the toughest! If there is a small argument at one point, letting go of it so it doesn't consume and ruin the whole trip is HUGE. Also, being aware that each person/couple will be more uptight about different things is important. Hopefully if you let something slide for your friend, they'll do the same when it comes to something you're less flexible about! Glad you had a great trip! christy

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    1. Thanks, Christy! Yes, excellent point!! Remember that we each have different priorities, and so maybe it's important to bow to that from time to time (and to not hold grudges)

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    2. Good points Erica and Christy. Yeah, letting go...letting go.

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  6. PS, everyone, today is a big day in the U.S. with the SOPA and PIPA protest taking place. These potential new laws purport to be about protecting copyright, but seem to be really about controlling the internet. I think the music and film industries do have the most to lose from piracy, but the ship has already sailed when it comes to access and I think we need to find new ways of thinking/working, and NOT handcuff the most viable communications network ever. Lisa Golden at That's Why has quoted a very good layman's article about it if you're curious/interested/angry.
    http://lisahgolden.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thanks Barb and thanks Lisa! Fabulous thought provoking article. I love when my day starts with learning something new!

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    2. Thats great....!! Atleast we wont be scared that people use our stuff inappropriately !!! That is actually why i didnt make an account of my work before coz its risky !!!!

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    3. Thanks for mentioning SOPA/PIPA. I want to protect intellectual property and copyrights (I have my content stolen and it's awful!), but the U.S. government is going to have to find a better way to do it.

      Now for the fun - this post is wonderful. I've enjoyed reading the travel posts and it's clear that you all enjoy each other's company. I think traveling with friends and family can be so much more fun than traveling alone. IF you do it right. Your suggestions are practical. And those photos above are great!

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  7. Ok so I have to admit that I do love go on road trips and Different places with my friends but I have to be truthful when I say that I do have one friend of mying that every time we go in a trip an stay together kinda gets to me. Because she like to just throw things around when we are at resorts and things. .she dose not put any thing away or anything and I have to have things organized. I am very neat and tidy. She is just not. That is the one Thing that bugs me when I go some where with her

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    1. Lynsdie Colin and I are so neat and tidy at home but we always joke that when we travel it becomes a pig sty. In London I was determined to keep it neat and I did but I really had to focus on it. Maybe next time you can say to her "let's make an effort to keep things neat" including yourself in the "let's" Maybe that would help.

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  8. Very good points, I've experienced great trips with friends or family and horrible "what in gods name were we thinking when we planned a trip with THESE people" kind of trip as well. One thing I've learnt particularly with family is plan time off from eachother. Our last trip with family went so much better when mid-way through our week a day was planned for each family to do their own thing. 4 days in we needed a break not just from eachother but from the big group of 6 adults and 8 kids. Another good thing to remember is to never ever, ever not in the darkest recesses of your mind consider renting a suite or cabin with one common room or thin walls. Not having a seperate space where you can vent your frustrations about travel partners can make small tensions grow. I recall ending up dunking my head in the lake on a trip like that once just so I could scream and rant and rave unheard by our travel partners. Felt much better afterward.

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    1. LOL sounds like one of my trips :D....I would normally just go scream into a pillow...because we ALL LIVED TOGETHER.... Ironically...returning home was the best part of most of my trips !!!!! and everybody were atleast 10 years older than me so they already gave me the "you dont fit in" expressions a lotta times......

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  9. Erin, oh my god, I laughed at that! Best coping strategy ever!

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  10. I didnt read all the comments so forgive me if I'm repeating, but:

    Me (holding up stunning simple gorgeous fabric T-shirt): “Honey, I am going to buy you this shirt!”
    Him: “I don’t want it, thanks. I already have a shirt.”

    That is just the kind of thing that would make me fall in love with your husband while being grounds for divorce from mine. Ah, marriage. But, seriously, too funny!

    Great tips, ladies. I actually will bear them in mind. I relived being pissed at how long it took a girlfriend of mine to get ready one trip... so much better to just go engage yourself and let them catch up!

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    1. Thanks, doll! And you don't need to read all the comments to add here -- we like all of them :). PS, yeah, if you have that late-bird always holding you back, go fly on your own. "let them catch up"!

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  11. Also, pick a country or place where you like to eat. I met a woman on a trip and we decided to take another trip together. I didn't really know her that well but I soon realized she was a very fussy eater and being in Japan it was hard to find food she would eat. Not me, I ate everything and was willing to go to dives to find new and unique meals. She had a really hard time with it. We had separate accommodations so that made traveling a lot easier in general. She also loved to shop and I didn't. I am a knick knack kind of shopper and she is a real shopper looking in all the fancy places. We decided when we could to do our own thing or find other people to hang out with for our particular personalities. As a single person I find it easier to sign up for a tour/trip and meet people that way if I have no one who wants to go where I want to travel. You can read some of my travel adventures on my blog for China, Japan and Eastern Europe.
    http://madgew-chinaapril2011.blogspot.com/
    http://madgetoursjapan.blogspot.com/
    http://madgetourseasterneurope.blogspot.com/
    Lots of travel stories and adventures if you are interested.

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    1. This is great, Madge! Thanks for adding this to the list. PS I did read your travel diaries and they are excellent.

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  12. first of all, I must say that besides Gae's blog, I do believe I comment on yours the most. why? because I can relate the most. once of us needs to put your travel tips into practice so we can meet in person one of these days. now that that's out of the way, I also want to point out that I believe SOPA was postponed until the 24th. and it is vitally vitally important that we DO NOT infringe on our constitutional rights--this one strays seriously, uncomfortably close to censorship. so while there may need to be other solutions, they cannot involve the gov't deciding what information is available to us, and what isn't. ok, political rant aside: one more traveling with buddies tip (this goes a loooong way in family travel too--believe me, I've learned the hard way). maintain a sense of humor! (as evidenced by everyone's appreciation of Colin's wry remark: "I already have a shirt." and in order to have a sense of humor, one must be able to tap into their own compassion. we all are trying to get to the same place (inner peace/fun) but we do it in such different ways. one last point. I hope to God that we weren't the Bicker McBickerson's somewhere along the way. because another thing to keep in mind is, shit still happens, even on vacation. sometimes you just need to take a deep breath of the ocean air, and let momentary bumps in the path blow gently away with the tropical breeze.

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    1. Lori, I always LOVE when you comment because your comments -- like you -- are always sooo thoughtful and calming.

      I agree with you about SOPA (even though I am late to the homework on it). They are covering it quite extensively here in Canada now, but the general opinion here is that it won't pass. Fingers crossed.

      As for the Bicker McBickersons: I am sure you are not nor ever have been one of these folks. These aren't the complaining-for-a-good-reason pepes I'm talking about, but those people who can't find a nice thing to say about anything, and then lay into each other the whole time (dirty laundry should stay in your room, please!!!)

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  13. LOL!!! That is something Colin would TOTALLY say!

    These are some pretty good suggestions! Hopefully one day I will take an endeavor with friends of mine to a dreamy, far away place.

    Or maybe I'll just call them and they can drive 45 mins. to take me to their place for s'mores over their fireplace!

    P.S. Deb, when I was walking back from class, I SWEAR I saw someone who looked just like you! I had to do a double take!

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    1. Mmm, friends and s'mores. That sounds like a plan! (and so cute about sorta seeing Deb)

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  14. I've not travelled with friends before although my sister and I keep saying we are going to have a road trip one day. I think we are both ready to drive to Canada and find a cabin tucked away in the mountains somewhere and not tell anyone where we've gone. We would make excellent travelling companions with a lot of laughs and a lot of singing to The Monkees during the road trip.

    The Hubby and I are quite different when it comes to traveling and touring. I'm an early riser. He is not. I love touring things, visiting museums, and while not so much shopping, but I love looking at hand crafted items. My husband isn't interested in museums or hand crafted things. He might wait for me while I look at something, but I always feel he is annoyed with me while he waits, so I just rush through and then feel upset at being rushed. We are living near our nation's capital now and last weekend I took the kids to the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum. Hubby didn't want to come. I don't care, I'm doing this for me and the kids now!

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  15. I only travelled with two of my friends after passing our A levels (Abitur).
    We flew to Mallorca (Yeah. Great choice.), and the trip was like our whole friendship had been.

    Most of the time, my two friends decided everything. Whenever I wanted to do something, they disagreed.
    Because I'm a peaceful person and hate fighting, I gave in every time.

    I don't drink alcohol. I don't like going to clubs, staying up late. But of course I went with them, and even tried a free cocktail.

    When they wanted to go on a Jeep safari, I paid...although it was so expensive. And it was horrible (too hot, too "dangerous").

    At least we went to the beach every day.
    The only thing I did for myself was: getting up early, going alone to eat breakfast, and on the last morning: trying to watch the sunrise (which was a big fail :P).

    Nowadays I don't have friends to travel with. I meet with them for one day (go geocaching, visit an amusement park, watch a musical...), or a couple of days (which is kind of hard for me, because I'm a really difficult person, when it comes to finding some sleep).

    I like relaxing at the beach, going for a walk, enjoying the silence.
    But I also like visiting museums, castles, churches, stuff like that.

    Oh, and If anybody wants to come to Germany one day...I'll show you around. :P

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    1. My biggest hint is this: DO NOT GO WHEN IT'S ON-SEASON.

      I've been to Disney World a few times. The first time was with three friends. We'd all just graduated from high school, and went as a graduation gift to ourselves. It was June. The world was there with us. The arguments over which ride to wait two hours in line for got ridiculous. Inevitably, we'd splinter off. This was in 1986=no cell phones=no way to get in touch with each other. "Meet me at "wherever" in 2 hours didn't work because, no matter WHERE we picked to meet, there were 4,000 other people who'd made the same plans. It was HORRENDOUS. We were barely speaking to each other by the end of the trip. The heat and crowds didn't help. UGH.

      Another time, I went with my daughter and my parents. She was 5 and they were in their 60's. At these ages, both groups have the same amount of stamina and also matching "I'm DONE" levels. Meanwhile, I wanted to go on everything else. So, we'd all go back to our rooms, and change. They'd head out to the pool, and I went to the water parks or a roller coaster or SOMETHING they had no interest in doing. It worked out beautifully.

      The other thing is to scout out your location before-hand. If you end up near the food court or the cool pools, the world and their kids will be all over it and you'll get no peace. Live without the view (how long will you be in the room, anyway?) and get someplace a little further away. Less convenient, maybe, but definitely quieter.

      These rules can be applied to any situation and any group, because if where you're staying isn't relaxing, the ability to agree or disagree calmly will be much harder to maintain.

      Been there, done that, ain't going back to it again.

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    2. I like Becki's idea of an ideal trip. And I bet those travel buddies will pop up in due time. Travel can be expensive and is often not a major priority for people in their 20s. It sounds like you came up with some excellent coping strategies for that trip.

      Speaking of which, Dawn, Oh. No. Travel Hell! But your tips to avoid it are excellent. And of course I love the perfect example of compromise-and-everyone-is-happy in your family trip. Too many people cling to the idea that a successful trip is everyone doing everything together. Uh-uh.

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  16. I've been reading about all of the trips people are describing. I'm so jealous - I don't think I've been anywhere of note for at LEAST ten years. And that includes nearby states.
    Also, I'm joining Colin on the "I Loathe Shopping" bandwagon. Hate it, hate it, hate it. The only thing I will voluntarily shop for is classical/opera music. So naturally all my friends and most of my family (including the guys in both cases) *LUV* shopping.
    Anyway, your tips seem like no-brainers, but I've heard far too many tales from more fortunate (or would that be less fortunate?) friends who have had disasters. Who would have thought? Lastly, I have to agree about (as you put it) the Bicker McBickersons. The Mall of America in Bloomington - MOA for short - is FULL of these people. I have to wonder... if they went to all the time and expense to come here from all over North America, don't you think you ought to have a decent trip?! Stop ruining it for yourself and everyone else!
    Rant over. Thanks for the post.

    May your life be interesting,
    Sarah

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    1. Totally agree about the McBickersons "rant" (we love those here, btw). And great sign-off!! I may have to steal that one...

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  17. Oh goodness!!! Deb, Colin is EXACTLY like my dad! lol. HATES shopping!

    Great tips. Perhaps when I become a real adult in a few months (without the comforts and securities of being a full-time student) I will have to embark on a trip and practice these tips! :D

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  18. if i may , seeing as this is off topic , quick update on my mom . she saw the orthopedic surgeon this afternoon . he is still concerned about the amount of swelling round her now confirmed as fractured clavicle . i got a shock when she took her coat off in a and e yesterday her shoulder and round her neck had puffed up like a balloon . they took the blood test for myeloma but it will be 3-4 days before the results come back . i don't know if mom will be kept in for that time or not . they may give her bed rest owing to her injured clavicle . it is all up in the air at the moment.

    by the way Deb i could have done with the loan of your husband today , for his cooking skills i hasten to add :-) i managed to cook a meal for dad and i when i got back form the hospital that consisted of 3 items none of which cooked at the same oven temperature or for the same amount of time . couldn't believe it turned out OK , that for me was a major success as i am not domesticated !

    your travel stories remind me of my worst trip to the canary islands with my Spanish friend and her mom . i ended up with a 24 hour trip to hospital as i had my 2nd epileptic seizure there (my local hospital here had misdiagnosed me after my first one , i was told my first seizure was a reaction to falling asleep listening to music) luckily enough the hospital suggested i visit a neurologist when i got back here and my epilepsy was sorted out .


    apologies for the off topic post

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    1. Thanks so much for the update, Linda! We were wondering. (no rules about "off topic") We're keeping good thoughts for your mom. And you -- as it sounds like you have/had your own health issues. (and congrats on kitchen savvy!!!)

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  19. Sharon(I'll Go No More A-Roving)ReineJanuary 18, 2012 at 10:10 PM

    Totally agree w Dawn about NOT In Season- not neccessarily OFF season- cos there usually is a reason it's "off" but the shoulder as it's termed. I usually travel solo- what can I say? everyone I know is a couple or too poor w time/money to go any where. Cuts down on the arguments- tho u do hafta increase the organization. ( I have been sick in many of the worlds capitols and coped BY MY SELF- which means nobody blamed me for ruining their trip)
    Did a tour group to Israel and watched 2 friends disolve w being forced to share a room ALL THE TIME. (I paid single supplement) That being said I usta sail the Carribean on large sailing ships that would "match" u up w another roomie to save $. There was the roomie who used the BR w the door open, the roomie who chased every guy she could, the roomie who wanted to sleep on deck but it was so cold she ran down to the cabin every 30 mins to pee. Did I mention the sleeping part? or the NOT sleeping on BOTH our parts??

    I actually LIKE the Bickersons- as the single person who gets pitying looks, it gives me a real sense of superiority- Yes u have someone to eat with every night but it's someone who's table manners u critisize EVERY SINGLE MEAL!!!
    Who's a lucky lady?
    There hafta be comprimises & boundaries- I went to Key West w a friend, the last time we travelled together was more than 15 yrs ago- it took THAT long for us to recover and try again! We took seperate B & B's- and that worked quite well- she could chat up the concerierge at her's and I could drink champers in my hottub- I could have the AC on and she could keep even the ceiling fan off. Had we been togehter well, I DID notice an alligator crossing on Route 1 that might have helped w body disposal!
    TOTAL aside- Barb were u at the Penelopiade today? Thought I saw u but mebbe jest another pretty blonde thespian>

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    1. Sharon(Shop Til Ya Drop) ReineJanuary 18, 2012 at 10:21 PM

      Oh and Deb- Ya KNOW I am w you on the shopping thing- plan, scope and SCORE! I tried to explain it to a guy once- "it's like u r on a hunt, your quarry is out there, hiding, camaflaouged w exspensive but cheap things trying to lure u off the scent, it's out there laughing at u saying u can't find me I'm too elusive- but u have your mad skills- sizing charts, tape measures, directions from secret guides,exchange rates,material blends, customs & duties and BLAM! there she is hanging on your wall- um closet-" He actually got it.

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    2. Oh my god, Sharon, you make me laugh! (and I love your ever-changing handle). I think the travel alone modus is very compelling. I've only done it for work (so it doesn't quite count because some of your day is occupied), but there is something thrilling about being out there all alone, with only you to please (see Deb's London diaries...)

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  20. Busy day but I made it!
    First for Colin, I feel for you. I avoid shoping at all costs. And agree if I have a working shirt there is no reason to get a new one. : )
    I haven't had time to read through all of the comments here so forgive me if any thing repeats.
    So most of the traveling I've done has been with my family. Usually every year my whole family (including all my cousins ranging in age from 3 to 27 this year) go to Myrtle Beach, SC.
    One thing we have learned over the years from traveling with 10 children, who are all cousins but bicker like brother and sister, is to buy a new game or two before we go.

    These games have proven vacation-savers!
    We get a new game so that it will keep all of the kids' attentions and not be something we got bored of years ago. And we have grown used to looking forward to seeing what kind of game the adults picked out!
    Also these games are great for when the children are ready before the adults and just have to hang in the room.
    Any unexpected bad weather makes for wonderful game time!
    We even broke out a game one year on the drive down because we were stuck in traffic for hours. It helped pass the time : )

    I am gonna go read everyone's helpful hints now!

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    1. Games, yes!! A wonderful suggestion that I LIVE by but forgot to add. Favourite memories of sitting with my dad and step-mom, with my sisters, on a holiday trip and playing games. Deb and I brought some on this trip ... but never had the time to play one. But then again, we never got cranky :)

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  21. I need to copy/paste these wonderful words of wisdom to save for my next trip with friends. Thank you for such awesome advice that I know I will need to be reminded of.

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    1. And thanks for stopping by, Lana! Travel with friends CAN be fun if, like a Scout, you prepare.

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  22. Glenda Arlene from Costa Rica..Shopping TRIP ..guess that counts!? Alone or with someone or a husband maybe? I hate shopping with my husband. He makes me nervous!! Today I had a shopping trip. I told my husband as he parked. “You can drop me off at this new boutique while you fill my prescription and do other errands. Take your time. I have my cell, call me!” I had all the time to look and try on numerous items. I even had a conversation in the fitting room with a lady who spoke perfect English and perfect Spanish. She introduced herself and said she was in theater and wardrobe. She gave me good advice about hair, earrings, what looked good on me and what did not. Lately everyone I have met is in theater, a writer or an autor!? Anyway, WE and our sales ladies had fun. She asked “You live here!?” I said. “Yes, 43 years.” She said. “Ooh, then you married a Costa Rican.” I said. “Yes!?” She said laughingly… “YOU are braaave!” We both laughed. I felt understood. She KNEW what a challenge that is. Then in walked my husband and the conversation and shopping trip came to an end . I walked out not only with a shopping bag but a refreshed spirit . We were girls of different ages, ( 20 to 65) from different walks of life and none of that mattered. We were one and we laughed and helped the other. Of course, we were only together for about and hour . I even got a “not asked for” discount.!

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  23. Glenda, best shopping adventure ever! I LOVE when that happens. Your experience does sound a bit like our Harmony Hotel experience -- the boutique outside the hotel called BAZAAR had exactly that same kind of personal, caring, fun vibe. Shopping should be a fun trip!

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  24. Traveling with someone can be highly enlightening. I tell my unmarried girlfriends that if they really want to know if their boyfriend could be a good husband, go on a trip together for a week. Somewhere far away, like another country. Oh, and make sure you have money saved up for a plane ticket if you find out that you are really incompatible. One of my BFFs got into a fight with her BF while they were on holiday in London and it turned into a brawl with fisticuffs (one must use the term "fisticuffs" when referring to someone in London). She came home with two shiners, and he almost ended up with my foot up his....ahem... Anyway, she said when he hit her the first ... okay second thing she thought of (after *expletive*) was what I had said about needing to have plane fare or an escape plan.
    Yeppers, you truly don't know someone until you've been on a trip with them.
    Oh, and trips with family members as adults? Aw HELL naw! My middle brother and I still hardly speak to each other after a trip across Texas together with his wife and my mom about 6 yrs ago. I wish I had made a list of taboo topics of conversation before we left. The whole mess could have been avoided. Immigration is NOT a happy ho ho holiday thing to talk about, especially when you know ONE of you would like to have an impenetrable forcefield (of stupidity) covering the entire US, Alaska/Hawaii (screw Puerto Rico..his words). Yep, never talk politics, immigration, religion, abortion, or anything heavier than Kim Kardashian's enormous posterior or what Snooki got tattooed on her Chihuahua's ass, or you're begging for trouble and possibly a car wreck. The people who wrote National Lampoon's Vacation were enlightened geniuses. :)
    HUGS,
    Karen

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  25. P.S. LOVE LOVE LOVE the photos of you gals together and then Colin and Phil together. LOL. I don't like shopping myself unless it's at home on my computer, with me barefooted, dressed (somewhat), and having an alcoholic libation within grabbing range. Drunken shopping is fun as long as the store has a liberal return policy, and you haven't ordered a live hyena or an iguana. :)
    Hugs repeated,
    Karen

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  26. You gals would so enjoy the podcast about men, women, and shopping on the CBC Radio show "Under the Influence." Your description of your husbands' approach as opposed to your own is EXACTLY what the studies have looked at, and explain the reason for. Link's in a recent entry on my blog, and of course on the CBC Radio website. If that show doesn't win awards, it should. Fascinating stuff.

    I'm just catching up on the last days of your trip and your homecoming, so chiming in late. Very much enjoyed the blogging participation of your gentlemen, too; what sweeties they are.

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    1. SJG, you know we LOVE you (and always better late than never)!! Thanks for the heads-up re the CBC show/link -- will check it out. And, yes, the guys are true sweeties (Phil says "yes, we are," so that must make it true...)

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