How to Travel With Difficult People

September 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Travel News & Tips

We all, at some time or another, find ourselves in situations where we have to deal with difficult people. We do our best to minimize these situations and never is this more true than when traveling. Unfortunately, there are times when traveling with a difficult person is simply unavoidable. Whether we’re traveling with workmates or in-laws, it’s important to learn to get along so that no one gets hurt along the way. Here are five tips to help you travel with those less-than-ideal traveling companions.

Ideally, the number one way to travel with a difficult person is to leave them behind. I know it may be far-fetched but it does sounds good, doesn’t it? Really though, sometimes we do have control over who we travel with. Ask yourself, is it absolutely necessary to travel with this person? Travel can be hectic at times and you want to travel with someone who is going to help lighten those trying moments. You also want to take along a companion with similar interests and temperament as you. Beware of friends. Travel can bring out the worst in people and friends can quickly become enemies on a trip. Know your traveling partners well. If you have the option of traveling without that difficult person, leave them behind. If not, read on.

1. Patience, patience, patience. What’s that quote – “Patience is a virtue”? It really is a virtue when dealing with difficult people. Stock up on patience and keep your cool. Learn the serenity prayer and repeat it to yourself when you feel you’re on edge. If you feel that calmly speaking to the person will resolve the issue, do so tactfully and respectfully. If not, take deep breaths and smile. Smiling on the outside will help make you feel better on the inside. Call a friend who’ll make you laugh. When you’re able, step away for a moment to regroup and collect your thoughts.

2. Limit the time you spend together. You don’t have to spend every waking moment with a difficult traveling partner. If you’re traveling with family, consider taking separate flights and meeting your family at your destination. Stay in a different hotel or a hotel room that’s separated by 10 floors. Take separate meals. Engage in separate activities and meet together once in a while. Limiting time to small doses may make the time together more bearable.

3. Avoid being alone with your difficult companion. This may not always be possible but if there’s a group traveling, bring someone else along. Having someone else around can help take the pressure off of you. It’s easier to buffer comments and ignore friction when others are around to help distract you and fill in the gaps.

4. If one-on-one contact is required, bring things to keep you occupied. Read a book, watch a movie, or listen to music. Memorize Shakespeare or work on taking those perfect photos. Keep yourself occupied so you’re not reliant on constant communication to stay busy.

5. Spend time relaxing alone. If you need to get away, take a stroll or enjoy a few moments alone in your hotel room. Go to public places and meet new people. Taking time for yourself will help rejuvenate you and refill your patience meter to continue to deal with that difficult person.

Travel can be stressful in itself and having a difficult traveling partner does not make things easier, but stay calm and keep your cool. You can still have a good time despite the bad company.
Sima Kimble

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