Traveling with a group of four or five can be really fun, but it can also be a real pain in the ass. After my Scandinavian vacation with four other girls, I have a good idea of how to make a trip like this successful.
Unlike a trip with two or three people, a group of five can be a hard to reel in. And even harder to get a table for at a restaurant. Plan ahead so you have a good idea of what everyone wants to do. That way you’re not making last minute plans or missing out on anything you really wanted to do.
If you’re really interested in eating at a specific place, make reservations in advance. It’s hard to get a table at a good restaurant at the last minute with more than four people. The other option is to eat very early or very late and hope for the best.
Don’t be afraid to express yourself
If you don’t tell people what you want or need, you’ll never get it. That’s especially true on vacation. Be honest about your interests and what you want and don’t want to do. If you’re not, you’ll just end up doing stuff you don’t care about and being really resentful. Don’t be afraid to tell the people you’re traveling with that you don’t want sushi for dinner. But if you’re going to disagree, then have alternate suggestions. Don’t complain just to complain.
Even if you’re really good at expressing your needs, there are going to be times when you don’t get your way. Be flexible and open to different things. You may end up really loving whatever your friend dragged you all to do. But if you stay pissed all day about not getting your way, you’re going to have a bad time.
With flexibility comes the ability to travel without a schedule. Any attempt at a schedule is going to fail, unless you want to spend the whole trip flustered. So sit back and relax. Sometimes you need to sit down at a bar in the middle of the day and have three cocktails. The museum will be there tomorrow.
Learn to take it slow
Traveling with a bigger group is a lot like traveling with a baby. Everything takes 70% longer than a normal vacation. People will get distracted. People will have different paces of walking. People will enjoy museums at a different speed. Plan accordingly and adjust. You can’t rush five people at the same time. If you try, you’ll just end up frustrated.
Be open to splitting up
Whether you’re in a group of five or two, there’s nothing more frustrating than someone who insists on making you do something you don’t want to do. If you want to spend your afternoon shopping and no one else does, split up and agree to meet later. You’re not going to get anywhere by trying to convince people to do something they’re not interested in. But you shouldn’t have to miss out on what you want either. So agree to go your separate ways; then everyone gets to enjoy the vacation they want to have.
Even though it’s nice to do what you want, ultimately when you vacation with five people, presumably it’s because you want to spend time with them. Sometimes that means eating somewhere you’re not really interested in or spending an hour in a museum you don’t care about. But the best times on vacation are when everyone can enjoy each others’ company. So don’t miss out on that quality time together.
Stagger bathroom times
This one is for groups sharing one hotel room or apartment for the duration of the trip, which means you’re sharing bathrooms. If you have to wait for five girls to shower and do their hair in the morning, you won’t leave until lunchtime. At least two people should shower at night and the ones that take longest to get ready should always shower first.
Travel with the right people
There will always be disagreements, but if you travel with the right people, things will be right with the world at the end of the day. Travel with people that are flexible, easy-going, and fun. If you adjust your expectations beforehand, a successful trip will be had by all.