On my first experience traveling with a group we had one particularly pushy couple who always had to be at the front of the line.
While visiting a gold factory outlet in Italy they brushed by a woman in our group too closely. She had recovered from a stroke, but was still somewhat shaky on her feet. She put her hands on a case filled with gold jewelry to steady herself and the entire case crashed to the floor. It quickly became apparent that the best way to deal with this couple was to stay out of their way.
Since that experience I have learned a thing or two about traveling with a group. While I enjoy traveling with just a partner, there are real benefits in group travel. Here are some strategies to make it pleasant.
Meet everyone; try to learn your travel mates’ names and where they’re from. It’s easier to travel together if you know who everyone is.
Smile. Greet everyone with a good morning and say hello when you meet during the day and evening. You don’t have to be their best buddy, but keep things cordial.
Try to find people with whom you have things in common. It’s nice to have “friends” to sit with at meals and it makes the trip more fun to have others to share it with.
Find common ground with your travel mates by talking about – travel! You can learn some wonderful travel tips and discover other tour companies, destinations, key attractions, and more.
Use subtle ways to let others know their behavior is impacting you. When two couples were speaking too loudly for an extended period on a recent trip, we played music quietly from our iPhone to mute the sound. Without having to say a word or offend anyone, they quieted down which made it more pleasant for everyone surrounding them.
If you find someone is invading your space or making you uncomfortable, speak up tactfully. Use their name and ask them politely to give you some more leg room or space for your carryon. It’s easier to make requests politely when you are on speaking terms.
Avoid shunning people. Even if someone is obnoxious, dresses inappropriately, or is not to your taste, still greet them or nod hello. It’s never a good idea to be at odds with someone on your trip.
Be wary in what personal details you share with your travel mates. A trip is fun and no one wants to hear your personal problems while on vacation.
Keep realistic expectations when it comes to your travel mates. You are probably not going to meet your best friend traveling with a group.
Your mom always told you to play nice. If you are pleasant and courteous, you might just meet some lovely people that will enhance your trip experience.