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Ditch the Fam: The Benefits of Traveling With Friends


We all love our families. They’re wonderful, supportive people who enrich us every day. But on a vacation, sometimes it’s better to leave them at home. Don’t feel guilty! Getting away from it all makes us appreciate what we have at home all the more once we return. For your next trip, get a group of friends together, instead. You’re sure to bond with your buds, and come back happier, healthier, and have heightened confidence, which are all beneficial for your loved ones, too.

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Flying

Eighteen diaper bags, three sacks of stuffed animals, and the best of intentions when, alas, all you really needed was an iPad and a power converter – sound relaxing? What about Mom’s wheel chair excursions through the airport? Chances are, you’re carrying both your bags and her bags, because she’s getting older, and its Mom, so you want to take care of her. You’re not a monster; but how much better is it to just arrive at the airport and, you know, walk directly to the gate with just one carry-on bag? Plus, if it’s an overnight flight, you need to sleep so you don’t suffer from jetlag. When you’re alone, no problem. If you’re traveling with children, you’re going to have to contend with the plane’s in-flight entertainment options in exchange for slumber. Good luck.

Local Delicacies

One of the best parts of a vacation is trying all the new foods local to your destination. A group of your closest pals is going to choose a cool, trendy restaurant, or something really authentic with a strange local delicacy you just have to try. Travel is sensory, and tasting a new destination is as satisfying as seeing it.

The trouble with children and the elderly alike, is they don’t want to eat anything, well…weird or different. With your family, you need to try to find things that resemble home. Children require this because they’re in a strange place, and a grilled cheese sandwich is a lot more comforting than escargot. Older people lose their sense of taste as they age, so foods that are reliant on bright flavors won’t please your parents. Again, comforting standbys from home tend to go over better with the older crowd, which means you may miss out on an authentic meal.

Mobility

Small people and old people need to rest. They need naps. They need a park bench. They might not be up to climbing 300 steps up to the top of Oia’s caldera in Santorini. Family vacations mean never straying too far from the hotel, and maybe even spending a night in, to rest after a busy day. If you’re traveling to a beach resort, this could be just fine, but if your dream vacation requires a lot of exploration, it’s probably better to leave your loved ones at home.

With your friends, you can run up the Acropolis, hike a mountain, whitewater raft, or just walk for hours on end. Cities are much more accessible when you aren’t reliant on taking care of someone else. Plus, you don’t have the stress of worrying about everyone around you – this trip is just for you, and only you.

Points of Interest

What are you looking to do when you travel? Some vacations lend themselves to the whole family, but more often than not, on family trips someone’s making a concession for someone else’s interest. That means you get to see less of what you want. It’s fine to take your child to a carousel in the middle of a city, but you may prefer to be in a modern art museum instead, or maybe Dad really wants to visit every single cathedral in a city, while you might be more interested in going to jazz in the park. Someone’s losing in this scenario.

When you put a trip together with a group of friends, you can choose your group based on common interests, so everyone is excited to see the same sights. It makes it easier to improvise as well, since these friends have the same tastes. If everyone likes jazz in the park, there’s no question you get to go.

Spontaneity

It’s unfortunate, but sometimes you arrive at new city and it’s not all that great. Not every place in the world is wonderful, and when this happens, it’s a terrible disappointment. Travel is a huge commitment, so since you’ve already begun the journey, it makes sense to try to find a new place to visit. Changing plans like this can be difficult with family. Accessibility, food options, things to do and see, all these things are different for each generation. The task of reworking your vacation is challenging at best.

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A group of similar aged friends can pick up and go rather easily. There are a lot less parameters to be met when choosing a city, and without the hassle of massive baggage and rerouting more than one ticket each, being spontaneous is a snap.

Leaving it all behind is the truest way to engage in something new. Vacationing with a good group of friends is a fun and simple way to get out of your comfort zone. You love your family, and sharing your trip through pictures and occasional Skype sessions keeps them with you. Just don’t forget to bring home a souvenir.

How do you feel about traveling with your family? Have you had any fun adventures with a group of friends?


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Ditch the Fam: The Benefits of Traveling With Friends

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