People will often ask me for travel tips or ask me if Kyle and I ever drive each other crazy camping in a van for several days together. To be honest, yes, we get on each others nerves when traveling together because we’re human. We also can drive each other nuts before hand during the planning process. We’ve gone a trip before where we were both not on the same page and have felt disconnected but we have still figured out how to enjoy little moments of it and have learned a lot so that the next trip is better and how we can improve.
One thing we have learned is how to talk about each of our travel expectations during the trip planning, during the actual trip and then reflect on it on our way back home. It’s a great way to make sure we’re both on the same page, stay present and in the moment and have lasting memories of our travels. It lets us truly disconnect from reality and enjoy the beautiful destination we’re visiting.
This goes for traveling with your partner/spouse, family, group of friends, children or even for solo traveling. Having this unrealistic vision of your vacation is only going to set you up for disappointment because, let’s be real, nothing ever goes according to plan when you’re traveling.
So, when you hear about how to stay healthy while traveling, you’ll often see advice telling you to drink more water, pack healthy snacks, still make time to work out, etc. which are all great, however, mental health is also important to think about. A big part of that, in my opinion, is setting and communicating your travel expectations. These are the main ones that have made all the difference for us and we’ve learned along the way, I am sure there are many more that I could add. And each trip is different and unique so you have to tweak things for each vacation as well.
Where are you going to go?
Let’s say, you and your partner/spouse or a group is throwing out the idea of going on a trip together. You have to all come to an agreement on the destination. If you are picturing yourself laying on the beach all day, but your spouse wants to be zip-lining through a jungle and hiking up mountains, you’re going to have some issues. First, agree on the place you’re going to and the things you may want to experience in that place. You may have to compromise and do a mixture of things. Get up in the morning for a hike and then spend the afternoon napping on the beach, for example.
What time of year do you want to go and for how many days?
Talk to everyone involved to make sure schedules allow and everyone feels comfortable with the amount of days. Booking flights and reserving hotels without double checking dates with everyone is a no go. If someone has a big project due at work, they aren’t going to be able to fully relax and let go on the trip. Or someone using up a huge chunk of their PTO when they really didn’t want to is going to leave them feeling resentful and no fun during vacation.
What time are you leaving for the airport/leaving town/for activities? No one likes to be on a tight schedule with every little thing planned out, it’s vacation after all. But you do have to talk about some of the logistics of getting places. If you’re someone who is always 15 minutes early and you’re traveling with someone who dilly dallies, there’s going to be bickering. Guarantee it. For example, be honest and explain how leaving a little early so that you don’t hit the rush hour traffic will help you feel more comfortable driving a car full of people and will reduce your anxiety. Everyone will be more understanding and easy going the rest of the trip. If you don’t communicate it in the first place, others on the trip won’t even know.
Where are you staying and who’s rooming together?
If you’re in a group or your partner is a little high maintenance and wants to stay in a fancy hotel while you feel more comfortable not breaking the bank, you need to speak up. There are so many hotel deals where you can find a happy medium. Coming back to stressing about how much money you spent is not the point of taking a vacation. You also need to feel comfortable about the part of town you are staying in and who you are sharing a room with if you are traveling in a group.
Are you going to do a digital detox & disconnect?
Talk about if you are going to be technology free, so no being on your phone or computer. Or talk about when and how long you can all use technology and when to shut it off. Fighting because you’re enjoying the moment and you look over to see your partner with his face in his phone are not the memories you want to have of your vacation.
What does this trip look like to you?
We all envision how our vacation is going to go. We paint this amazing picture out in our head and then when things go completely the other direction, it’s really upsetting. Especially when there are things you never communicated to others involved. You can get mad at them when they didn’t even know what you had in mind in the first place. One of the most important things that I have learned from traveling often is that you have to be flexible and adaptable. Things will not always go as planned, flights get cancelled, you lose camera lenses, you arrive at a hotel that looks completely different than what it looked like online. But you roll with the punches and laugh about them later on and you learn from those experiences.
These are the main travel expectations, while they may be broad, they’re the most important ones in my experience. I hope you have learned from my experiences and I’d love to hear about your tips when it comes to communicating travel expectations!