BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

A Girls Guide to Traveling

Posted by egehl on December 9, 2009

If someone offered me the choice between a plane ticket and a pair of diamond earrings the answer would be easy: plane ticket, please.

While some people splurge on fancy cars and flat-screen TVs, I spend my money on travel. For me, it’s an essential part of life. Travel forces you out of your comfort zone and opens you up to new experiences and people that enrich your life in so many ways.

Traveling has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.  While growing up, my dad was a travel agent and as a child I would give him a different stuffed animal for each of his trips to keep him company. My animals ended up in countries all over the world and I always wondered where they were going.

It’s easy to get hooked on traveling because there is no better way to escape, feel exhilarated, challenge yourself, enjoy a sense of wonder and surprise, put your life in perspective, learn new things, understand different cultures, meet new people you would otherwise never encounter, and gain a greater understanding that there’s life beyond our backyards.

For many women, one of the best ways to travel is with a female friend. Women traveling together takes the fear out of exploring the world and forms new bonds of friendship. For women who are single, divorced, widowed, or perhaps their partners aren’t interested in traveling finding a female travel partner can make all of the difference. And then once you start traveling you will meet other like minded women along the way with the same travel ambitions you have. I have formed many wonderful female friendships in my travels abroad and have a special bond with each of them because of our unique experiences together.

A getaway with your girlfriend can be a wonderful thing, as it gives you a lot of quality time together and an increased level of comfort while traveling. However when two friends spend 24/7 with each other inevitably moments will arise when you will have to compromise, work out your differences, lift each other’s spirits, show support and most importantly have a hearty laugh.

During my last trip I got to thinking about the many intricacies, challenges and joys that happen when traveling with female friends. I realized that there are some key elements to having a good and safe trip.

After all of my traveling, and much of it with friends, here are some thoughts to keep in mind when embarking on any trip:

1. Trust: You must trust the person you are traveling with. Without solid trust your trip and friendship could be ruined. Does she have good instincts? Do you like to do the same things? Is she careful and cautious? Does she make good decisions? Will she be there for you in an emergency?

2. Expect the unexpected: As we all know, traveling will have some bumps in the road: bad weather, getting lost, delayed flights, illness and the worst case scenario having something stolen. You don’t have the same control with certain things and circumstances that you have at home, and it’s helpful to realize that early on in the trip. Most importantly always be cautious and protective about your things and hopefully the only unexpected thing that happens is getting caught in the rain.

3. Enjoy the food, but be prepared for the consequences: By far one of the best things about traveling is the food. It’s an amazing experience to try out the many different cuisines out there. Unfortunately though new types of food can have their consequences especially in certain parts of the world. If you are traveling to a country where you can’t drink the water or eat uncooked vegetables try to be as vigilant as possible. And don’t forget to take your vitamins!

4. Be prepared to share everything (and I mean everything): If you are traveling with a friend chances are you will learn a LOT about them. It’s comforting to know whether your physical health is about the same or worse as your travel companion. And this sharing will encompass all aspects of one’s health, and I will just leave it at that!

5. A map can be your best friend or worst enemy: Oh maps. You love them or hate them depending on what map you are using. Guidebooks and maps are essential especially if you are tackling a new city with no assistance. However certain maps have unnamed streets and if the guidebook is a few years old a restaurant listed might have closed.

6. Sometimes the worst circumstances turn into the best: As someone that likes to have control this can be a hard pill to swallow. However time and again when my frustrations are high and all looks lost, somehow it works out for the best. And usually not only does it work out for the best but the eventual outcome is better than the original thought or goal. So remember, just stay calm.

7. Sharing: When traveling with a friend sharing will inevitably happen. Clothes will get dirty, toiletries will run out and things will be forgotten. It’s nice to have back up.

8. Know yourself and be prepared: If you know that you are prone to motion sickness bring medication or perhaps an Ipod to keep you distracted. Think the worse, and usually the best will happen. Be prepared because it’s the times you aren’t you’ll regret the most.

9. Strike a balance between going with the flow and being organized: If you are trying to see a lot in only a week you need to be organized. That will take discussion and compromise between you and your friend. Hopefully with the right travel partner the two of you will want to do the same things. However be careful to not over organize to the point that you don’t have a chance to relax and “just see what happens”. The ideal way to travel is a healthy combination of both.

10. Laugh and have fun: Obviously, this is the most important! Through all of the trials and tribulations of traveling, sometimes you just have to laugh. Whether it’s a laugh about something truly funny or simply a chuckle because of the absurd, either way it feels good. And there’s nothing more fun than laughing with your friend about the many things you encounter throughout your adventure.

Bon Voyage!

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2 Responses to “A Girls Guide to Traveling”

  1. gansie said

    great list, eli!

    the aspect i most rely on any travel partner for is a sense of direction. i have none. none. none.

    and now i really want to go somewhere. too bad all of my vacation days are used for friends’ weddings.

  2. […] Comments gansie on A Girls Guide to Travelin…espressodog on Woman Misbehavin’: NY St…CW on Equal money for […]

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