Travelling in Group: A Dictatorship of the Minority

I love travelling in every way possible. I like to think of myself as a very tolerant and easy-going person, but when it comes to travelling in a group, it can be quite difficult at times (most of the time, actually).

I am so glad I learnt this early in my life and have avoided a lot of hardship. I cringe listening to the horror stories my friends tell me, so I will unite their stories and my own to write this outline of travelling in group!

Maybe I need to explain myself. It’s easier to go through the entire experience from the very beginning.

  1. Organization Pre Travel

Everyone loves to travel! A lot of us love travelling with the family and friends, but it is hardly a smooth business. Deciding on where to go is easier with the friends, as usually we just want to find a place to have a good time. When travelling with family, usually a couple of generations are involved, so the interests can be completely different. I like to organize my own trip, look for the tickets myself, hotels etc. When travelling with family, everyone wants to take the easy way out: Package deals, have the whole trip handed to them. Nobody wants to take the time to organize something according to their taste, so a brochure with several destinations is picked and a they are sorted out for you. Ah well… there is no discussion. Usually the person who is unwilling to be flexible gets their way, so the destination will be set for you.

  1. Getting to the Airport And Boarding the Plane

Three hours before the flight. That’s the rule. Check-in and security queues, trips to the shops etc. Since we are travelling together, we all must go through these steps together also. Good luck with that! One person will always arrive one hour before the flight and everything becomes highly chaotic. Rushing through security, shouting to guards to let us through because the flight is about to leave. By the time we board the plane, a couple of people are not talking to each other already. The person who was late and caused all the problems ALWAYS says: “We made it alright, didn’t we? You worry too much”, as if the last hour of running and screaming didn’t happen!

  1. Arriving at Your Destination

Keeping the group together is an almost impossible task. Every 5 minutes, someone is lost to shops without letting anyone know. Before reaching the hotel, hours have been wasted just trying to get there. Everyone is hungry, but the need to tour every shop in the airport is much greater.

Hotel check-in done and everyone reaches their room, time to go and get something to eat! Everyone is hungry. Let’s meet outside the hotel in 20 minutes, shall we? Get a quick bite to eat and go for a walk. Then 20 minutes pass by, 30, 40, 60, 90 and usually the same person who arrived late at the airport is not down. What in the name of the Lord is that person doing? Straightening his/her hair, make-up, bath… then it is the job we know will cause problem: Who is the brave person that will knock on the door and tell the person to get on with it? Yeah, nobody wants that! Just another drama. During this time, the whole group decided to go to a particular, very well recommended restaurant for dinner. Finally, the person of the hour arrives and the decision goes down the drain. This is a daily occurrence.

This is when I, as an individual, throw everything out of the window and go my own way.

  1. Deciding Where to Go, a Daily Challenge

Usually being package deals, one may think that everyone will go to the same place. Since there are times set to go, noone will be left at the hotel. Ah, some people won’t wake up, but this time they will be left behind. You will be cursed for doing so! Because “real groups stick together”… but when together, these people just wander off into shops and expect everyone to say amen.

  1. Days Off: What To Do When Someone Didn’t Organized it For You?

This is a wasted day. Only the prepared will thrive. This is travelling natural selection at its best! As no-one knows what to do, everyone will behave like headless chickens and a consensus won’t be reached. This is the time I recommend everyone to just announce “See you guys later” and do your own thing, whatever that is.

  1. Conclusions?
  2. Why a Dictatorship?

    • The ONE person will get one’s dream destination;
    • Their behaviour is not wrong and fail to empathize;
    • The group abides to their rule to maintain the peace;
    • Their daily faults, in the end, will be YOUR fault somehow;
    • No-one is prepared for the future, when the system crumbles when the brain behind the operation deserts them.

Travelling with family and friends can be a very enjoyable experience with a lot of cool stories that will, in time, become funnier and funnier. Just make sure to pick out the bad seeds from the get go! Ignoring someone, sometimes, is not an act of selfishness!

Or just meet them on the road, going to the same place as you! That always works too!

Cua Dai Beach – Vietnam

Very close to Hoi An, in South Central Vietnam, there is a little beach. My friend and I had rented a moped the day before and before we had to leave to Hanoi, we still had a the entire morning and most of the afternoon to do something… why not go to the beach? My friend decided to pilot the moped, not an automatic though, but one of those 3-gear ones. He had never been on one, nevermind driven one. My God!!!!!!!! I saw my life flash before my eyes, so arriving in Cua Dai beach at 7am, still deserted, I thought that I had died and gone to heaven… and heaven was a beautiful sandy beach in Vietnam, with clear blue skies and cirrus clouds hanging overhead, some coconut trees and coconut water to drink until I’d had enough (Can you really get enough coconut water? Not me!). Well, maybe that’s what heaven is! Who knows? I loved the place, but as soon as lunch time came by, it got soooo busy, so many people bringing their food to the beach, leaving some litter behind, some floating on the water… maybe that was God showing what heaven could be like and what it really is… it is up to you how you want to see it!