How To Travel Well With Others (Part 1)
Sometimes, collaboration includes the element of travel excursions. For bands this could mean going on tour, for artists this could be traveling with an agent to a gallery opening across the country, for architects this could mean going to Europe to restore a historic structure, and so on. No matter who you travel with, it's important to travel well. This blog will explore travel dynamics and offer some tips gained from experiences I've had on the road.
A Little Planning Goes A Long Way... A Lot Of Planning Goes Even Further
Travel has a lot of variables;expenses, lodging, meals, luggage, equipment transport, and of course the most important element... who controls the radio and when!! The last one is a little bit of a joke, but it's also not... You would be surprised at how something so simple can unravel a trip.. been there, done that, seen it, bought the t-shirt. Planning.. it's not hard, it saves money, it reduces stress and uncertainty, and generally, it's a good idea. The success of a trip can often be measured on the planning that went into it. Did you know what you needed to accomplish?. Did you know what your intentions were?.. Did things go as hoped?.. Would planning have had any impact on all of these questions?.. Simplified it comes down to this; know what you and your team/companion/partner want. Know your collective intentions,and know all the steps that have to happen to see to it that the vision is manifested.
“Take The Wheel...”.. Many Hands Make Light Work..
Travel can be time consuming to plan and execute, as you can see above. A lot goes into it. So share the To-Do List!! In my partnerships we each handle aspects of the workload. If one person pays for the tolls and gas, then the other person drives; or even more equally still.. expenses can be split 50/50 as can the driving duties. This also helps to prevent that hypothetical radio control argument I alluded to. When it comes to planning, work with each person's strengths. Personally, I hate doing the logistical aspects like booking the flights, or price hunting, where instead I'm much better at collecting, sharing, and listing the addresses, phone numbers, and stuff like that. Know your interests and know your strengths as a team.
Now Let's Talk About That Hypothetical Radio Argument..
I keep bringing this up because it's a very real situation that can literally ruin a trip, or worse yet, even the friendships or partnerships. Why?.. and How?.. Ok, so here's the thing. It's all about Mutuality, control issues, open mindedness, and willingness to SHARE. I have seen married couples fight over this. I have been in arguments myself over this. I have seen business associates bicker over it. One person wants to hear the news and the other wants to listen to music. One person hates this type of music, and the other person hates that type of music. Someone gets upset over the other person hogging the radio. And then there's the old classic “Well.. it's my car” and that ladies and gentleman, is when the other fights start. It's not usually that a large fight just starts out of nowhere, its most often a build up of little skirmishes that then start to erode communication, compassion, empathy, and listening.. and once people start to feel invalidated, or unheard, or misunderstood, the path to ruin easily comes to be the next stop on the GPS. Remember, that you may have to spend long hours, days, or weeks with someone when traveling, so keep it cool and share. It can be very hard at times to put out a fire when there is no escape possible due to the limited size of a car, plane, train or boat or whatever.
Travel Checklist Part 1
Before you embark on your trip, make a To-Do list. Give yourself some time to let it breathe as well, otherwise a haphazard list thrown together the day before the trip will leave a lot of room for chaos to take root. The sooner the better; personally I like to plan for larger trips up to two months in advance. Especially if you are looking to save money, as prices usually go up leading to a flight or hotel on short notice. Here’s a little list to get you started:
How are you traveling? Driving? Flying? Crossing the ocean by boat?
Have you purchased your ticket?
Have you secured a ride to and from the airport taking check-in, security checkpoint times at mass transit facilities?
Have you weighed your luggage to prevent price changes?
Gas / Tolls / Other Travel Expenses:
Are there tolls? If so, how much are they round trip?
How many miles is the trip? Have you considered that gas prices fluctuate state by region?
Where are you staying?
Have you asked about AAA discounts?
Have you checked the rating of the accommodations?
Are there any negative reviews?
Do you have all required documents? License ? Passport? Green Cards? Work Visas?
If driving, have you verified that your insurance, registration and license are up to date?
If traveling out of country, have you prepared yourself for cultural, legal, economic factors?
Exchange rates? Uncommon laws? Permits?
Equipment And Supplies:
Are you bringing your own gear? Or is it provided for you?
Have you made a manifest of all equipment, gear, instruments, tools etc?
IMPORTANT: Have you documented ALL serial numbers, make, and model of ALL equipment?
Have you taken photos of all equipment?
Have you considered equipment insurance?
Do you have extras?: extra guitar strings, picks, batteries, pens, fuses.. Etc. - *crucial items*
Have you charged all batteries, phones, kindle, etc?
Hit The Road Jack…
Hopefully this blog gave some insight into the art of collaborative travel. At the end of the day, adventures are supposed to be fun, explorative, and exciting. So with that being said, AVOID disaster, catastrophe, and irritation by PLANNING. compromising, and sharing the burdens.
Travel well, adventurers!!