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The Art of Gallivanting
THE ART OF GALLIVANTING

Trip Tips: Best Practices for Traveling with a Companion

Heeding just a few simple principles while traveling with a companion can make a significant impact toward keeping personal relationships peacefully intact.

Trip Tips: Best Practices for Traveling with a Companion

While much advice has been given about getting along with travel companions (including discussing plans in advance, agreeing on a budget, and making sure you arrange enough alone time), there are also many important considerations that are uniquely applicable to an extended girls-getaway excursion. During the course of a recent 17-day, 3,000-mile mother-daughter road trip through six southern states, we came to the staunch conclusion that heeding just a few simple principles can make a significant impact toward keeping close personal relationships peacefully intact.


1)  Pace yourself.


From the moment we enthusiastically bounded out the front door to the time we begrudgingly dragged our exhausted selves back home, we were determined to squeeze in as much vacation fun as we could possibly fit into one trip. We had a very long 'let's do it' list, and our face-to-the-wind trip motto quickly became All the things! However, in most cases, you will likely find that jam-packing your day with a bunch of activities and then rushing to get everything accomplished will become completely pointless. You'll want to make the most of your adventure of course, but do resist the urge to over plan.


2)  Select a vice.


Almost everyone has their own particular set of go-to comfort rituals. Maybe you bring your own pillow when you travel, maybe you take a stress-reducing jog in the afternoon, or maybe you just enjoy a nice glass of wine before sunset. Whatever it is, work it into your travel routine. For us, we were very determined to eat properly and adhere to our own strict rules about staying hydrated ... however, our heart-to-heart philosophical conversations over ice cream cones became a necessary tradition almost every afternoon.


3)  Schedule down time.


Somewhat surprisingly, long road trips can be quite physically demanding, so be sure to set aside plenty of time to get fully rested and rejuvenated. Tiredness and exhaustion can eventually lead to sickness, stress, and short fuses that cause needless arguments which quickly put a damper on your entire experience. To avoid this dilemma, select quality overnight lodging venues that provide comfortably peaceful environments; and then hit the spa, run a bubble bath, or just snuggle up under the covers and order an in-room movie.


4)  Compromise and prioritize.


You won't be taking this trip alone, so plan to give and take. Speak up regarding the things that are most important to you, and willingly encourage your travel companions to do the same. Don't be shy about expressing, This is the #1 point of interest that I absolutely do not want to miss, and then ensuring that everyone else's missions are mutually accomplished. Try also to carry out conversations in a typical lather, rinse, and repeat type of style. For instance, feel free to put forth your own conversational insights, but then intermittently make the sincere effort to listen attentively to others as well.


5)  Stay cool.


The rigors of extended travel can be emotionally taxing for many. As a result, one's ability to maintain proper coping techniques often diminishes. So try to be as steadfastly patient as you possibly can and actively practice forgiveness when necessary. When problems arise, hash things out to the best of your ability and clear the air quickly. If tears are going to be shed, it would be much better if the catalyst was that overly-sentimental film they show at the Coca-Cola Museum where the soldier secretly comes back home and surprises his mother. Ahem, [sniff] we're just saying.


6)  Lighten up.


Relax, have fun, and refuse to take anything too super-seriously. Make a point to fully embrace the numerous giggle fits that are hopefully bound to occur. Crank up the music and have at least one uninhibited jam out session. One of the best and most cinematic moments of our entire experience was driving across the I-10 bridge over Lake Pontchartrain with the windows open while belting out an ethereal sing-a-long duet of Taylor Swift's Wildest Dreams.


7)  Plan to change plans.


This is possibly one of the most important keys to maintaining your personal composure while traveling. Energy levels will fluctuate, and you might change your mind about certain activities at the last minute simply because you're no longer in the mood to do them. You might find yourself routing around traffic or making alternative plans for Sundays when many museums and entertainment venues are closed. Keep an eye on the weather as well, but don't let it put a kibosh on your plans completely. When our scheduled beach day was met with a steady drizzle even after we tried waiting out the rain in a malt shop across the street, we simply donned our waterproof jackets and contentedly took a walk on the beach anyway.


8)  Expect some unexpected.


Something completely out of the ordinary will very likely occur as you venture along your way, and that is the wonderfully serendipitous icing on the birthday cake of life. We were left stunned as four huge fighter jets suddenly burst into the air over our heads as we drove along the Florida coastline, then our heartstrings were hilariously tugged when we spotted a mother goose and her five adorable little goslings marching their way right up a highway entrance ramp, and we abruptly stopped motionless in our tracks when two playful dolphins jumped up from a waterway right beside us which happened to be colorfully lit by what was possibly the most picturesque sunset we'd ever seen. And last but certainly not least, there was also the man in New Orleans with no pants ... but that's a story for another day.


9)  Think practically.


An enormous amount of planning goes into any major travel endeavor, so put forth a little extra effort beforehand so that you can enjoy every possible moment while on the road. We reserved hotel rooms in advance for the best options, downloaded audio books to keep us entertained on long stretches of highway, and kept a notebook handy containing important details such as addresses, office hours, and confirmation numbers. Don't forget to carry a stack of dollar bills for ease in tipping valets, bellmen, street performers, and other service personnel. And if you're traveling by car, learn a bit of automobile maintenance like how to change a tire just in case you should ever need to utilize those basic emergency skills.


10)  Capture the memories.


With any luck, your next trip will turn out to be one that you'll never ever forget. So, if you happen to be inclined, document your travel experience with photographs and video or even just a quick journal entry about what you saw or did. Sharing the wonderful stories and reliving our monumental adventures over and over again during the course of our lives is what keeps those epic tales brilliantly alive long after the fact.

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