Tips For Traveling With A New Group Abroad
So You Think You Can Travel Abroad.
Traveling can be stressful. Normally your parent or guardian takes care of the planning process and deals with directions. In a group with several alpha personalities, sometimes it’s hard to figure out the group dynamic. It’s even harder to decide who is more willing to handle directions to and from attractions. If you’re not from a city with a metro, it can be discouraging to have to learn to maneuver one in a foreign country. Actually, learning how to get around in general can be a lot to handle. Try some of these tips to keep a level head, and keep the group in a happy state of mind.
Before you leave:
Once you arrive at your destination, it’s easy to get caught up in the romance of it all. A new place with new experiences waiting for you is pretty exciting. Before you leave, sit down with your friends and make a list of priorities. Find out what you MUST see, and see if it matches others. It’s okay for your group to break into separate groups in order for everyone to see what sits at the top of their list. Divide and conquer, right? This will make it easier to understand what others consider fun. But, compromise is also a serious part of being a part of group. Try to be understanding of what everyone wants to see!
Let your pride go:
We are all prideful in some sense. Some more than others, but still, we all possess the ability to let our pride stand in the way. When you’re a Type A personality, it’s hard to give up the reigns to someone else. Keep in mind though, that everyone has different strengths. Just because you aren’t the expert navigator, doesn’t mean you’re not beneficial to the group. You could be the best photographer, or the most optimistic. Figure out who you are within the group setting and roll with it!
Communication is key:
Whether your traveling buddies and yourself have been friends since Day One or met yesterday, communication is key. If you ever feel uncomfortable doing something, or your feelings are hurt, speak up. You will be with this group for quite some time, so it’s better to speak now, than let the emotions build up until you’re a ball of misery. We all have boundaries and our own way of going about situations. Keep in mind, everyone has different personalities, and it might take a while to become accustomed to someone else.
Asking for directions isn’t scary:
Learn how to say “Do you speak English?” in whatever country you choose to visit. The program I went on was in Paris did not require students to know the language because our professors spoke English. Therefore, learn how to say the phrase listed above. It will make it easier to ask for directions if (most likely, when) you get lost. Asking for directions isn’t scary either! I mean, would you rather be lost?
Don’t forget to be positive:
Positivity goes a long way. Every group needs at least one person to be the source of positivity. When things become too stressful or when tensions run high, that person will be able to step in and lighten the mood. Their light-heartedness or ability to crack a joke will bring some much needed “chill” to the group. Don’t take this person for granted. Being the positive can be the best and the worst! Take it one scenario at a time.
Remember where you are:
Emotions can run wild sometimes, and you have ever right to feel a certain way. Remember though, you are in a foreign country experiencing something you never have before. Sure this stress is killing you now, but will it matter in 10 or 15 minutes? Probably not. Enjoy the time you have with your old or new friends and build memories you can hold to forever.