by
on September 11, 2015 on 9/11/15 from ,

How to Successfully Travel in Groups

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Malmö

Last weekend my friends and I decided to have a spontaneous 24 hour trip to Malmö. We did not plan any aspect of the trip ahead of time. We booked rooms at the hostel and the train tickets the morning of the trip. If you have ever tried to complete a group project for a class, you know how difficult it can be to work in a group. The only thing you have in common with each other might be the project itself, and everyone has an opinion on how to complete that project. The stresses of traveling can make this process even more exasperating. Here is my advice for traveling in groups after my trip to Malmö.

  • Someone must take charge of the group otherwise you may never leave your house
    • The leader must make concrete decisions to these questions if your group is indecisive
      • Are we going somewhere? Where are we going? When are we going? How long are we staying? Where are we staying? How are we getting there? Who is going on this trip?
      • We wasted valuable time debating these things without ever committing to a decision to these questions. Someone has to be the leader to get the group moving towards a common goal.
    • All other decisions concerning food and activities can be made spontaneously by the group or individuals.
  • Plan a group trip a few weeks in advance
    • You will get cheaper train tickets and hostel rates.
    • People will be mentally and financially prepared for the trip.
  • Don’t forget to utilize student discounts
  • Research the area and choose a few activities you might want to do or places you might want to see
    • If you have an idea of what you want to do, you will have a plan of where you are going. You won’t spend hours walking in circles looking for things to do like we did.
    • Ask locals or the hostel workers for suggestions of interesting places to go
    • You don’t need a minute-by-minute itinerary for your trip just some activity suggestions
      • We discovered a lot of interesting sights from wandering in circles.
  • Speaking of wandering around, make sure at least one person in your group has adequate phone battery and data or download a map ahead of time or purchase a paper map
    • Sometimes the greatest discoveries can be found when you are lost, but it is frustrating when you are trying to go somewhere specific and you can’t find it.
  • Respect the fact that everyone’s budget is different
    • Some people can afford a bus ticket or a taxi; others cannot. Some people can afford an extravagant traditional Swedish dinner; others prefer the fact that McDonald’s is universally affordable.
    • Let each individual decide for themselves what they are able to buy.
    • Factor the cost of your return train ticket to your budget if you haven’t purchased one yet.
  • Bring change: many public restrooms require you to pay with coins to use the restroom
    • It’s embarrassing to bum a 10 kr coin off of your friend every time you need to use the restroom.
  • Invest in a bus pass
    • We walked to most of the major tourist attractions in Malmö. The trip was no longer fun once my back and feet started to ache after hours of walking. I was amazed by how much we did and saw in such a short period of time, but my body hated me for it. I would have never been able to motivate myself to do so much if I hadn’t been in the group.
    • Also it was very cold and rainy at night. A bus ride would have been wonderful.
    • With a buss pass, you are able to do more activities, but I think we saw more of the city and its incredible parks on foot.
  • Don’t try to make everyone happy
    • Rarely will everybody in the group be happy at the same time. There will always be somebody who is hungry, cold, tired, annoyed, or needing to use the restroom. Let each person fulfill his or her individual needs. The group as a whole will function better and be happier if everyone has their immediate needs met.
    • Speak up and advocate for yourself.
    • If individuals do not take the time to fulfill their needs or advocate for these needs, they do not have the right to complain. It isn’t the job of the group or the group leader to take care of each member and make sure each member is fed. If you’re hungry, stop in a cafe and grab something to eat. There doesn’t have to be a group census on it. Just because one person is doing something, doesn’t mean everybody has to do it.
  • Split up
    • Being in such a huge city, I was really grateful for my friends. I have done very little traveling by myself, so I feel overwhelmed and a little scared in new places. There is a feeling of safety and familiarity in a group. On the other hand, everyone has different ideas of fun activities.
    • For example, three people in my group wanted to go to this dance club on a ship. Three other people including myself were not thrilled about partying. The group split up. My group stumbled upon the Midnattsloppet, a 10k race in the middle of night through Malmö. The race had live music, fireworks, and booths with free stuff. We lined the streets with enthusiastic Swedes and cheer on the runners. We learned how to count backwards from 10 in Swedish as the groups of racers started the race. It was a really fun sober night. I’m glad that we decided to do our own adventure instead of tagging along with the other group.
    • Similarly, the next day, one member of our group was devoutly Catholic and wanted to attend mass at a large Swedish cathedral. She went by herself while the rest of our group visited the Malmö Castle Museum. Both groups had an enlightening and enjoyable Sunday afternoon.

In conclusion, traveling in groups provides many opportunities to bond with new friends, learn more about each other outside of a school setting, share in each person’s joy of discovery, make inside jokes, become motivated by the group enthusiasm, and to discover a new place as long as you follow some simple guidelines.

 

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Malmö Castle Museum

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Kronetorps Mölla, very cool exhibit we stumbled upon while lost.