One of the best aspects about studying abroad is traveling abroad. Being in an entirely different area of the world, you are given new opportunities to go places that you would never be able to go if you were back home. Obviously, the first questions that you will ask yourself are, “Where will I go and how long can I stay?” You must decide whether you will go to a large city such as Paris or a hidden gem such as Cologne, Germany. However, sometimes deciding who you will travel with is more important for the success of the trip.

In both Australia and in Europe, I have gone on many trips with a lot of different groups. Hopefully this can serve as a guide on how to choose who to travel with:

Group Size
Determining how many people to travel with can be difficult. Some people prefer large groups because they like to be surrounded by a lot of people. It can be exciting to have all of your friends with you on a trip so that you can share the experience together. It can also make the trip more affordable because you can split the cost of housing between more people.

However, when it comes to large groups, it can be difficult to coordinate everything associated with the trip because of conflicting schedules and budgets. Some people enjoy going on trips with smaller groups because it is easier to plan the trip and decide what to do while at your destination. With fewer people, it is much easier to pick a date to travel and decide what locations you would like to see while there. It is also much easier to find housing for smaller groups than larger groups, but the options may be more expensive because you cannot split the cost as much.

Additionally, you will be with fewer people for an extended period which may make you sick of them. If groups are not your thing, it is also possible to travel alone. This can be frightening and expensive, but it is the one way that you can guarantee that you will do the trip the way that you want to. I think that it is very important to go on at least one trip by yourself if you are up for it.

Group Habits
Do you like waking up early or late? Do you mind spending a lot money or do you have a small budget? Do you want to stay together or do your own thing? Your answer to these kinds of questions can be very different from the people that you are traveling with. That is why it is very important to understand the traveling habits of the people you want to travel with before you buy your ticket. Disagreeing on a point or two can be fixed with a little bit of compromise, but when you disagree on everything, your trip can become a nightmare for everyone involved.

Group Wants
Similar to group habits, everyone in your group will have a different idea of what they want to do and see while they are in a destination. For example, when I travel, I like to wander around without a plan so I can find the hidden gems and feel like I am a local. However, I have gone on trips where people have a plan of every destination and every museum that they want to see during the trip. I am not saying that either is the better way to travel, but I have been in situations where people have returned home unhappy with the trip because they felt like we did not do anything while I felt that we did too much.

Group Makeup
The final aspect that should be considered is group makeup. A trip with the person you are dating is very different from a trip with your best friend. A trip with your close group of friends is very different from a trip with some random classmates. The dynamic of the trip completely changes when you change the makeup. By choosing the correct makeup of the group, you can help to alleviate the other problems that I have written about in this post.

Traveling is not as easy as some of us study abroad students make it seem. It takes a lot of consideration and planning for many of the big trips that we take. Hopefully this post can help you to navigate through the formation of the group you travel with so that you can focus on the other aspects of traveling.

The right people can make any trip better.


Daniel Haberman is a marketing major. He is studying in Nantes, France during Spring semester.

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