“Travel is not a reward for working, it’s an education for living.”Anthony Bourdain.
Wanderlust is a sneaky, persistent little bug. It is a nagging ache; rendering you utterly unfulfilled and incredibly parched for something you can’t quite put your finger on. Is it a lust for a vibrant, unfamiliar culture? A destination far, far away from accountability? A place where you won’t be recognized? A craving for an authentic Chimichanga, Hurricane, or Lobster Roll?
It is one thing to fantasize about travel, and another to make it happen. The logistics can be incredibly unsexy. Finding the balance of an ambitious yet realistic agenda can be maddening. Requesting the PTO is often defeating. But, selecting a travel partner? That’s the secret sauce.
Being chosen as a travel partner is the ultimate compliment. It says; not only do I enjoy sharing my day-to-day routine with you, but I’d also like you to be by side when I have ugly airport face and have no idea where the dangerous part of town is. The best travel partners can be friends, lovers, teammates, co-workers, etc.
Travel requires you to expand your comfort zones, compromise sleep, and indulge in a vast variety of vices. It’s important that you return home with feelings of enlightenment, restoration, and graciousness. Sharing these experiences with the right people ensures that they’ll keep you on track, even when your life at home is in shambles.
Continue reading for the Top 10: Baecation Tips to ensure your next group trip doesn’t go awry (a word I just learned how to pronounce, so you know I gotta try it out)!
Build a balanced agenda. Depending on the length of your trip, everyone should get to choose one group activity and one group meal each. Work around others’ boundaries for things they aren’t comfortable doing by saving those things for solo activities instead. Keep in mind, everyone on the trip has dedicated significant time and money to the experience – and they all deserve to reap the fruits of their labor. Maybe I should have considered this before I made everyone wait for two hours to watch the mass bat-exodus from the Congress Bridge in Austin, TX (pictured above). Long story short, we were all starving and coated in bat p*ss.
Focus on local recommendations. If you treat a local uber driver like a real human, they just might share fantastic live music venue, historical museum, and authentic food recommendations. They also might be wielding an ax in their lap, but that’s a topic for another blog. While the trendy, must-see spots are always Insta-worthy… it’s so important to expand your understanding of the local culture too. That’s the only way you’re sure to leave with the education Anthony Bourdain so wisely endorses.
Emotional support. No matter how many miles away, no matter how many planes, trains, and automobiles – your home life will always follow you to your new destination. It inevitably rears its ugly head when you’re one too many tequila shots deep. This is where the quality of your company is most apparent. They should be willing to pile in bed with you in the morning to cry, reminisce, and laugh until you cry again. They should be the first to hold your clammy hands when the plane ride becomes a little too turbulent.
Build in alone time. No matter how outgoing you may be, travel has a funny way way of draining your resources at an especially rapid pace. It is important to schedule time with yourself to run swim, journal, etc. If you’re traveling with couples, give them their space for a night. If you are the couple, make an effort to designate one evening as a slow pace, romantic evening. If you don’t slow time down to process some of the beautiful moments, they can be lost forever.
Stay true to your own values. Everyone knows what happens in Vegas, sure AF doesn’t stay in Vegas. Just ask Ed Helms. While on a camping trip in Role Models, Sean William Scott explains that he’s only loyal to his fiance “within the area codes of Greater Los Angeles”. While modern cinema pokes fun at the rampant commitment issues in today’s age, vacation is not an excuse to abandon your values. Keep yourself and your friends accountable to your moral codes. If not out of an innate desire to ‘do right’ by the person you have waiting at home, do it because you’ll be found out anyway. Bonus points if you choose to remind your partner at home how much you love them instead. Being left out is hard enough.
Absolute hilarity. I’m not kidding when I say all of my friends are pee-your-pants funny. Traveling with us is like traveling with a troupe that is prepping for the next great celebrity roast. We’re like a blasted ball of sunshine, doing everything we can to get strangers involved in our hi-jinx. We spend our time crying laughing about ridiculous hula-hoop contests, narrowly escaping stalkers, riveting dance-offs, and borderline bartender abuse. We feed off of making each-other as uncomfortable as possible, and we’re eager to find more people like us. We found one in Austin, TX when blackout-me asked the bouncer, “Hey, are there any scary white men back there?” and he said, “No, I think they all just left. Come on in!”.
Be generous. Venmo has made it culturally acceptable to be an absolute cheap f*ck. Take turns buying rounds of drinks. Buy your friend a cute souvenir. Bring home snacks. And, for God’s sake, do it without asking for a refund. This should empower everyone to stop transacting pennies and focusing on fairness. Lend from abundant generosity instead!
Boost each others’ egos. One of my favorite things about my friends is that we are all secure enough to share an absurd amount of compliments. We introduce our Albanian friend as a European soccer player. I explain that my friend’s massive boobs are holding the bar in place, and that is one of the many reasons we should get free drinks. My friend gasses me up to a bartender until he tells me “I’d like to shake your mother’s hand!”. Life is far too short to play down anyone’s beauty or radiating energy.
Adopt ‘Mother Goose’ behavior. I’m the mom friend. And if you ask me, this behavior has saved all of our lives at least 100 times. No matter how far gone I am, I have an incredible Spidey Sense for when things are turning sour. In case you don’t have these instincts, always remember: never drive drunk, never take drugs from strangers, always take a buddy to the bathroom, never stay in an uber with an ax murderer, make sure your friends wash their new tattoos, and stock the kitchen with carbs and bottles of water!
Dance, dance. To borrow a line from Camille Kostek, stay “never not dancing”. Try a video bar, and break it down to all of the hits of the late 1990’s and the 2000’s. Don’t pause once the promoters come around with their cameras. Check your friend’s pants for splits. Throw a couple celebratory “OOO, this is my song!”s out there. Go and brush your shoulders off. And, ALWAYS request Pony by Ginuwine! Dance like you’re getting paid for it. Bonus points if you do.
Growing up, the idea of travel was always intimidating (and frankly unrealistic). I feel very lucky that my current lifestyle allows me to travel so frequently. I will never lose sight of that.
From the West Coast to the East Coast, Midwest to the South; dancing in the streets of Chicago’s gay-borhoods, to the sidewalks of Naples, FL… my friends have embarked on a mission to see more of the world with me. They’ve made the tequila more crisp, the coffee more rich, and the crab cakes just right.
While I certainly value my alone time, I’m forever indebted to my friends that have supported me while growing into the woman I am today. I’m also forever in debt to Discover. So there’s that.
“I wish I had done everything on Earth with you…”F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby. 1925.