Mu­sic lessons: The key to san­ity when roam­ing with 100

The Washington Post Sunday - - TRAVEL -

Af­ter their China trip, Choral Arts mem­bers sub­mit­ted tips for group travel, and the sug­ges­tions be­low have been col­lated and edited from their ad­vice.

Don’t hold up the group. Set two alarms, make sure to check for any up­dates to the daily itin­er­ary and try not to be the last one on the bus. Part of the joy of group travel is hand­ing over the minu­tiae to some­one else, but the deal is that par­tic­i­pants have to take se­ri­ously the lo­gis­tics that some­one has care­fully planned.

Go with the flow. Pace your­self to the group and save in­di­vid­ual speed (zip­ping ahead or stop­ping to shop) for in­di­vid­ual tours. Un­der­stand that ev­ery­thing takes longer in a group, glitches will oc­cur, and try to have a sense of hu­mor about it. Af­ter all, most glitches are small things. If they aren’t, you’ll just have a bet­ter story later.

Make time for your­self. Plan to break ranks and take care of your­self by sched­ul­ing din­ner for one or sim­ply wan­der­ing the city. This might mean pay­ing for some­thing that has al­ready been cov­ered in your group fee, but it’s worth it to main­tain san­ity. Learn the ba­sics needed to ven­ture out alone: the clos­est sub­way stop, ele­men­tary phrases in the lo­cal lan­guage and your ho­tel name writ­ten down to show a taxi driver.

Find your peeps. Even if you’re gung-ho about group travel, hang­ing with 100 peo­ple sim­ply isn’t pos­si­ble. Make a smaller group within the big group so that you have a nim­ble three- or four­some for din­ners and at­trac­tions.

Meet new peeps. In­ter­act with other group mem­bers and lo­cals when­ever pos­si­ble. Even if you’re just ges­tur­ing or com­mu­ni­cat­ing with pic­tures, these hu­man con­nec­tions will be most mem­o­rable. Don’t for­get that ex­plor­ing new cul­tures is one of the rea­sons you left home.

Be kind to each other. Even the best-pre­pared tour leader can’t an­tic­i­pate ev­ery prob­lem, so keep crit­i­cisms to your­self. Look af­ter fel­low trav­el­ers — some are more vul­ner­a­ble to ag­gres­sive street ven­dors or ex­treme con­di­tions. If you’re a helper-type, carry Pep­toBis­mol (some­one will need it) and ex­tra cash to lend when mer­chants don’t take credit. If you’re prone to snor­ing or hog­ging the bath­room, spring for the cost of your own room rather than sav­ing money with a room­mate.

Be kind to lo­cals. Rec­og­nize the ef­fect that a large group can have on the pop­u­la­tion you’re vis­it­ing. Be sen­si­tive to that, and em­brace the lo­cal way of life and tra­di­tions.

Let go. Many Type A Wash­ing­to­ni­ans are used to be­ing in charge, shar­ing opin­ions, micromanaging sched­ules and trou­bleshoot­ing. Leave it at home; you’re not in charge. Be a team player and trust that the coach has your best in­ter­est in mind. Re­lax, un­der­stand that you’ll be ush­ered from place to place and, as much as pos­si­ble, live in the mo­ment.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.