Group Travel

Lessons learned about group travel

There’s no doubt that travelling in a group of strangers brings a special set of rewards, and risks! There’s another section on this site that discusses group travel.  So this section is about the lessons I’ve learned on the many group trips I’ve taken.

Outside of school trips, my first group travel experience was in 1989.  I was 19 and went to Russia on my own, but in an organised group.  I think I was the youngest one there.

Since then I’ve been on lots of group trips, most times arriving on my own. I’ve sailed, skied, dived, hiked, biked, driven, rode, walked, and swam with strangers.

overland_travel_group_travel
The group I travelled with for 6 months. We had our moments, but we were a good group.

Here are a few of my observations:

  • If you travel in a group of more than 6 people at least one person will be very annoying.  If you can’t work out who it is, there’s every chance it’s you.
  • Being the annoying person isn’t necessarily a permanent post, we all take turns at wearing the annoying hat. Sometimes for longer than we think.
  • If you can’t find at least 2 or 3 people you can get on well with in a group of 10+ people, you need to look at yourself, not them.
  • For the moment at least, these people are your friends.
  • Space, it’s all about how much space you and your belongings take up.
  • In the words of Bryan Ferry, “Loneliness, is a crowded room . . .” We all have days where we hate what we’re doing and curse the day we chose to do it.  Invariably it passes, so cut people some slack when they’re feeling like this.  One day it will be you.
  • People who leave a group meal early and leave ‘their share of the bill’, invariably don’t.  Don’t be this person, add the tip and remember that extra drink you ordered.
  • If there are chores to be done and everyone does a bit more than they think they should, everything will get done.  Most of us believe we do more than we actually do, and I include myself in that.
  • Learn to pee in front of people, it’s a time saver.
  • Be ready on time. That’s all.  Be on time. 
    Be patient. It takes time for people to gel. You won’t all like each other but you might well find life long friends. Try to be part of the group. The more you put into the trip. You more you will gain from the experience.
  • Accept that some people need coffee/tea/vodka to kick start their day.  It’s just how they are.
  • If you need coffee/tea/vodka to kick start your day, come prepared.
  • Don’t always be the group drunk. Give someone else the chance.
  • Get some decent headphones, otherwise people will hate you the moment you listen to your music. Even better, ask if people can hear what you’re listening to.  Nothing like on the ground feedback.
  • Channel Gandhi, and be the change you that you wish to see.
  • Shhh….let someone else speak.

Seems a good place to stop my list, for now.

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Much of the information and advice expressed on this website is the personal opinion of the writer. If you choose to follow any advice you do so at your own risk with no recourse to the writer or Adventures in Overland.

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