TOP 10 SURVIVAL TIPS: TRAVELING WITH STRANGERS
Travelling with friends and family can be stressful enough but would you ever travel with a complete stranger? Our guest bloggers Charlie Grosso and Pam MacNaughtan have just met each other and are about to embark on an adventure of insane proportions as they drive their tiny car across the desert as part of the Mongol Rally. But before you attempt the same, check out Pam’s top 10 tips for surviving travel with strangers:
Travel has the ability to transcend your understanding of the world around you. Travel will test you on some days, and make your skin tingle with delight on others. When you travel, you open yourself to new experiences, people, and places. There is no hard fast rule on how you should travel, and that is possibly the best part.
When you travel solo, or with friends, you know what you’re getting yourself into. You know what to expect, and how it will effect your trip. Traveling with a stranger is, well, as unpredictable as the price and availability of gasoline in the black markets of Uzbekistan. So, how do you do it? How do you travel with a stranger, and still have the time of your life?
- Compromise – one of the hardest parts about traveling with another person – especially a stranger – is making travel decisions. Making travel decisions will seem easy at first, but if you haven’t mastered the art of compromising, things could get ugly after the initial honeymoon period wears off. Take turns picking activities, that way you’re both happy.
- It’s Okay to Do Something Solo - sometimes a compromise may not work out. You may really want to see a museum, and your travel partner may really want to chill on the beach. If you each have your heart set on completely opposite activities, take a solo travel day. This way you’re both happy, and nobody is resenting the other because they had to miss out on something they really wanted to do.
- Fight – I am totally serious. If you need to have a fight to clear the air, do it. Vent out your frustrations, be constructive, not cruel. Admittedly this could end your travel partnership, but most times it will merely clear the air, and make everyone feel better.
- Space – respect each others space. Most people enjoy a certain level of personal space. Be aware of your travel partners needs, and when they need some space to breathe, give it to them. You may be travel partners, but you don’t have to be attached at the hip. Yes, this means that following each other to the toilet all the time is probably not a good idea – unless you both really enjoy doing that, which is way weird and we shouldn’t really talk about that. EVER!
- Have Each Other’s Back – this is a good one for the ladies. Treat your travel partner, as if they were your best friend. If you’re in a club, don’t disappear with some guy and not say anything to your travel partner. That is seriously not cool. On the flip side, if your travel buddy is getting herself into an odd situation, but unable to see it for herself, jump in. You may fight there and then, but she’ll thank-you in the end. Traveling with a stranger doesn’t mean you should treat them like a stranger. Make sense?
- Sharing – sharing is caring, or something like that. When traveling with another person, it’s important to share. Share things like food, hostel/hotel, or activity costs. If you’re doing something adventurous – which takes some extra work – make sure you’re sharing tasks, this way everyone is happy – not resentful.
- There Are Limits to Sharing - some things really do not need to be shared. If you hit it off, and it’s like you were separated at birth, cool, but there are still some things that do not need to be shared. Over-sharing can get weird, fast. Don’t become the creepy travel partner by ‘borrowing’ a toothbrush, or underwear, or one night stands – and don’t get into things like bodily functions either.
- Be Yourself - should never change who you are, for anyone. Don’t try to be someone your not when traveling with someone new – or ever for that matter – as it won’t last. Trying to be someone you’re not can be exhausting. Don’t do it.
- Stay Positive, Look for the Good – this is a hard one. When you’re traveling with someone new, look for the positive aspects of your travel partner, their personality, and your travel situation. Keep happy thoughts, and stay focused on the good things. Being negative can be annoying and exhausting, and your travel partnership will not last long if there is a lot of negativity floating around.
- Keep an Open Mind – perhaps one of the most important things it to keep an open mind. Be open to new experiences and ideas. If you’re close-minded, your travel partnership is doomed from the start. Traveling with a stranger should be like traveling with a friend – many of the same rules apply – it’s just a tad more challenging. If you follow the tips above, there is a good chance that when your travel partnership comes to an end, you’ll be close friends – unless your personalities clashed too much. There is also a good chance that you may never see each other again, outside of Facebook. Traveling with a stranger can be challenging, but it can also be one of the best experiences of your life.