Having been on a few group tours over the last few years to Vietnam, Italy, Cambodia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Thailand, I reckon I know a thing or two about the ups and downs of traveling with strangers.
Fact: You can get lucky on a tour and really ‘click’ with one, some or most of your travel companions, making friendships that will last long after everyone has returned home. It’s happened to me and it makes the trip so much more fun and memorable.
But then there are times when the holiday experience is quite the opposite.
There’s nothing worse than being in a group and having to listen to that one annoying / difficult / inconsiderate person – the constant moaner who’s never happy with anything, complains about every element of the tour / destination / culture and seems determined not to have a good time.
True story. I was on a tour with a know-it-all who was only interested in talking about themselves, repeatedly boasted about being an experienced world traveller, spoke loudly and condescendingly to the locals without attempting to use any basic phrases, complained about the quality of every hotel, expected a warm plate at each meal, demanded freshly sliced lemon each morning for a cup of tea, moaned about the heat in an expectedly hot country and refused to participate in the included tour group activities, generally making life pretty tough for our very patient tour guide. Oh boy, recalling that experience is exhausting! Imagine having to deal with it for two weeks. ARGH!
Of course it’s bound to happen. Put a bunch of random people together 24/7 and chances are, not everyone will be best buds. No matter how chirpy you are, one negative attitude can bring a whole group down and when you’re on a group tour, there’s only so much you can do to avoid the one who is spreading bad vibes.
Rise above it! Don’t let that annoying jerk bring you down!
Instead of getting angry, frustrated or being baffled as to why that silly soul didn’t stay at home (right?!), take a deep breath and remember that it’s YOUR holiday, too.
Here are seven tips to help you find a little zen and get through your next group tour:
1. Know what to expect
Read the tour notes thoroughly to eliminate surprises. This will explain the type of accommodation, included activities and expected fitness levels you’ve signed up (and paid) for.
2. Research your destination
Spend time mapping out the types of places you want to visit, eat in or shop at so you’ve got a rough plan for each stop. Lonely Planet books are excellent resources for local information and tips.
3. Enjoy a solo meal
Being on tour doesn’t mean you have to spend every minute with the group. Don’t be afraid to go out for a meal with your good self!
4. Have some downtime
When the schedule offers free time, take a break from the group, ask the hotel for a map and go out exploring on your own.
5. Find your people
Stick with those you get along with and don’t feel obligated to hang out with anyone you don’t vibe with.
6. Chill out
Being on the go can be exhausting so allow time for the things that make you smile. A dip in the pool, an afternoon nap, a gym workout, reading a book, a massage or a scenic stroll can be hugely rejuvenating.
7. Move away from moaners
If someone is getting on your nerves, simply remove yourself. You cannot change them but you can change how you react. Resist the urge to get snappy – don’t sit next to them or engage in conversation that’s likely to bring you down. Smile, stay cheery and focus on enjoying your dang holiday!
Have you ever had a challenging travel experience? Do you have more tips to add to this list? I’d love to hear your advice, too!
Want a dose of vegeTARAian in your inbox?
Click here to subscribe to the weekly newsletter