There’s nothing better than sharing the camaraderie of close friends while exploring this great country of ours. Seeing the sights and soaking up the essence of an area is definitely better in good company. But sharing the experience mandates certain compromises in what you do, where you go and where you stay. It’s all part of making it work for everyone!
SIZE OF THE GROUP
If travelling with close friends, you’ll be aware of what they’re like to travel with – especially if you’ve done it all before. I reckon two to three RVs is an ideal touring party. It’s easier to manage – from finding a campsite to communications on the road over the UHF radio. Then there’s the management of personalities.
A larger group, such as a 4WD or road touring club, increases the risk of finding someone to butt heads with. Keep in mind, the group will share the common bond of travelling; so it’s not as though you’re pairing with complete strangers. And while a short trip may be okay, sharing a road trip over four weeks or more could be a little wearing in the wrong company.
An open itinerary is a good way of allowing participants to glean what they want from the trip. So while you may travel in convoy to each key destination, the group can break away and do its own thing at each stop. Some may take a shining to art galleries and museums, whereas others like to explore the sights on foot.
DAILY TRIP LEADERS
Assigning a different trip leader each day spreads the responsibility and tends to engage all participants equally. Each night you can discuss any possible side trips or stops along the main transport legs for photos and other interests. There will always be at least one enthusiast in the group that has done more research than you, so you can leverage that knowledge in group discussions.
GOOD RELATIONSHIP ON THE ROAD
Keeping an open mind is the key to maintaining good relations on the road. This means going along with an idea that may not be of immediate interest. You may find you learn something new as a result. I remember at Cape York, I wasn’t particularly interested in the military plane wrecks, but quickly changed my tune when it came to combing through the scrub to find various relics.
REJECTING THE TRIP
If it all gets too much to bear on an extended trip, you can always bail out. Some good excuses to lead with include missing your kids or the ill health of parents. You really only want to pull this out of the bag as a last resort, as your trip leader will have spent weeks, months or longer in preparation. On the other side of the coin, it’s your money, time and sanity. This is less likely to happen when the group is small, yet it does happen from time to time and it’s generally to the benefit of everyone involved. If you have to bail, remember to pull the pin with dignity! They don’t really need to know you find them excruciatingly annoying. Less is more in this instance.
Don’t let me put you off travelling with others. As I said earlier, sharing with like-minded travellers can enhance the experience. Being open minded, sharing the daily management and minimising the group size is the best bet for happy wanderings.
See you on the trails.
The full feature appears in Caravan World #564. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!