presse agent Karen Cleveland
there’s nothing quite like traveling together to accelerate a relationship. as the gloves can come off, so to speak, via jet lag, nick-of-time connecting flights, language barriers, and currency jumbles… true colours can reveal themselves in unabashed ways. particularly when traveling with a new boyfriend, girlfriend, or multiple mates. so i suggest some navel gazing on your travel etiquette, as well as taking an assessment on those of your trip companion(s), to ensure you all land on common ground.
set expectations in advance …most letdowns can be quelled with some discussions on how you see things shaking out. go for a pre-departure coffee or cocktail with your travel buddies to chat about the big picture stuff. will you be sharing sleeping quarters? if so, what is the set up, and who is fronting the deposit on their credit card? will you travel together the entire time, or are you hoping to break off for a few days by yourself? this is the time, well before the trip, to discuss these particulars.
be the most relaxed version of yourself …hours on a plane, lack of sleep, and the other less sexy elements of traveling, can deplete even the most chipper chaps and chicas. don’t take things too personally, and remember that the trip has an end date. take it easy on your companions. be the first to help them out and they’ll do the same for you.
do not overschedule …if there are places to visit, sites to see, or restaurants to eat at – that the group is collectively interested in hitting – plan to pepper them throughout the trip. if you are accustomed to traveling alone, leave some time for solo exploring. that way you can check out the things that your friends aren’t keen on doing, and simply meet up afterwards over lunch or dinner. inevitably, not everyone will share the same interests, and breaking apart for a day or two will make for some great stories over a bottle of wine when you do reconvene.
respect shared space …by all means settle into relaxed vacation mode, but be mindful of the spaces you share with your travel companions. the vanity isn’t your own personal primping area. your iPod isn’t necessarily the soundtrack for the group. the teeny tiny closet isn’t just for your belongings.
avoid quibbling over cash …don’t fret over petty spending. a coffee here, or a taxi ride there, isn’t worth quibbling over and will only put a damper on your trip. in the grand scheme of things, the cost doesn’t matter. instead, consider it a karmic deposit. in fact, you might want to establish a convivial vibe from the start by offering to pick up the first round of celebratory drinks. hopefully, your friends will pick up on this and one of them will get the next round. if not, fear not…you’ve treated some friends to a cocktail to kick off your trip. a good thing, right?
based in Toronto, Karen Cleveland tackles all things etiquette, from the traditional to the taboo. follow her on Twitter @SchoolFinishing and visit mannersaresexy.com
(First published for The Travel Press, June 2012)