Most of my traveling experience has been with groups. From summer camp to mission trips and cruises, I would like to think I have some experience dealing with large amounts of people for long amounts of time. Some as large as 70 and others as small as 5 but, whether you are cruising, camping, touring or road tripping here are some of my survival tips to make the most of your trip. Also, please enjoy some very old photographs.
Avoid cliques and engage yourself with others
No, I am not a middle school guidance counselor but, even as I have grown older and traveled in groups this has become a problem. Be friends with everybody, it is so much more rewarding that way. Rotate who you sit with on the bus, who you sit with at the table, who you go exploring with and so on. I have watched and experienced some of the closest friendships grow over the years. I am thankful for the friendships that have formed abroad and then continued when we returned home.
This word speaks for itself. Just take a deep breath.
Respect smaller groups
Raise your hand if you and your friends have ever taken over a mcdonalds. My hand is raised and if I had 12 more hands they would be raised too. As a larger group, it is important to make sure that smaller groups are enjoying their experience just as much as you are. Even if it is a McDonalds. This past trip to Costa Rica we went on a snorkeling excursion. It was my group of 15 and then 2 couples on their honeymoon. I felt bad for the 2 couples, I really did. They are just trying to have a romantic boat ride and they got stuck with 15 college kids. I think we made a pretty good effort to respect them. We let them eat first, get on and off the boat first and we gave them their space. In the end I think they had fun with us but, I could only have imagined the nightmare that excursion could have turned into for them.
Share and Rotate
I have never experienced a more dramatic shower experience than I did while being a camp counselor. I think they all had themselves convinced that if they didn’t shower 1st they couldn’t shower at all for that day. OR, my personal favorite, if they offered to shower last they might slip by without having to take a shower. Even if you aren’t a group of 7th graders sharing cabin, sharing and rotating who goes first (or last) in the shower is important.
You do you
This was something that took me a while to learn but, after a long day, it is important that you do what is best for you. Everybody has different needs and routines. If you need cut out on a round of card games a little bit early or you need to take some time alone to read your book, do it.
My youth group friends and I could stay up for hours playing card games. On our last night in Puerto Rico we stayed up almost all night playing games (young and wild and free, right??) That next morning we had to catch an early flight so I had absolutely no sleep and it turned into one miserable day. Even though it was years ago, I have vivid memories of laying on the airport floor with a fever and throwing up outside of a gas station. When I got home that night I was running a fever over 100 degrees. My Mom gave me medicine and put me to bed. Luckily, all I had to was sleep it off and I was fine. I am no doctor but, the only thing I can assume was that my body was so exhausted it just broke down on me. I would never take back any of those memories but, had I not been going home that next day, what would I have done if I was sick in Puerto Rico? It is important to pace ourselves and know our bodies so we can have a great trip, no matter how long the length.
I hope that you have a great weekend friends! No matter if you are just heading out to dinner or snowboarding with a group, remember some of these tips for having the BEST experience!