According to popular culture, people fall into either one of two categories: those who enjoy spending time with and being around other people and those who don’t. Of course, the truth is much more complex than that, and many genuinely do enjoy hanging out with others, but only up to a certain point. For those kinds of people, deciding on whether they should say yes to vacationing as a group or not is not as simple. On the one hand, doing anything like exploring new places is much better experienced with others. But on the other hand, small issues can easily cause friction among the group and potentially lead to the whole trip going sour. Even if you’re not a fan of group trips, there will eventually be unavoidable situations when you have to be in one anyway. To be better prepared for such occasions, here are the top tips on navigating the social dynamics of travelling as a group.
1. Align your expectations early on
Regardless of what you want to call it – a social contract, pre-trip counselling, or something else – it’s important to align your expectations and agree on the why of the trip to solve any structural divides that may occur on your journey, then go from there. You could invite everyone over for a meal and have a fun conversation about what you want the trip to be.
Another often-overlooked issue is the group’s general decision-making. Establish the rules on how to go about making decisions, like consensus-based decision making. For instance, everyone could go with the choice of the most tired person or perhaps the one who is willing to foot the bill for the group. Play around with these ideas and see what works best for all. For more serious issues, it’s best to have a group leader who can take the lead, as we’ll cover more later.
2. Mix up your planned and free days
Some travellers prefer to plan every second of their trip, while others are fond of the spontaneous approach and just go wherever their mood takes them. Balance out your trip by mixing a bit of both. For example, if you’re going on vacation for five days, you could spend a couple of days as downtime or leave them unscheduled and let the planners do their thing. This ensures you can have some free time without letting others feel like you’re not keen on being around them.
3. Appoint a group leader
Although organising everything as a group sounds nice, this arrangement may prove difficult in practice. Having an official leader allows the group to have a go-to person that they can rely on for all important travel decisions, information, and planning that still needs to be done to ensure nothing gets missed.
If that does not work for you, consider playing to everyone’s strength. If there’s a foodie among the group, it may be best to let them take charge of all matters relating to your food and drink on the road. Others could handle accommodation, transport, budgeting, and so on. Of course, discussing matters together and having everyone on board is still important, but assigning roles beforehand keeps things organised, gets things done fast, and avoids wasting precious vacation time.
4. Confront social issues head-on and with honesty
Avoiding conflict just to be polite is a recipe for disaster in group outings. Even if it’s resolved superficially, it will only lead to ‘unhealthy peace’ that should not be allowed to fester. Thus, the best course of action is to defuse the tension sooner than later by being frank and talking things out. When there’s this kind of peace in the group, everyone will usually pick up on it. So don’t be afraid to bring it up by cracking light jokes or simply checking in to see how everyone is feeling.
Troubles and quarrels can break out when travelling in a group, even when everyone is on the best of terms. Thus, setting some ground rules, resolving conflicts quickly, and, most importantly, being flexible are vital. With the tips shared above, you should now have a good idea of how to navigate the challenges of group travel and keep the peace for the whole trip.
If you’re going somewhere with friends soon, consider protecting yourself and the rest of the group against potential accidents by arranging for a medical evacuation in Singapore. As a reputable service provider of air ambulances in Singapore, we at EMA Global can assure you that you will receive the medical assistance you need wherever and whenever you need it on your trip.