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Group Travel 101

Finding Time to Breath

By: Liz Patterson

Group travel is a fantastic way to experience exciting new things and have someone to share the adventure with. Traveling with people can heighten your enjoyment of the places you travel to, as well as increase the fun. However, no matter how patient and social you are, everyone needs a little time by themselves to relax and catch their breath. If you miss this time it can dampen the whole experience. It is important that you get some alone time when traveling in a group. But how do you snatch time for yourself? Here are a few ways.

The easiest way is to simply use your imagination. Stroll along the beach and space out. Let your thoughts take you to somewhere private, quiet, and calm. If you respect other people’s privacy, they should respect yours as well. Try to be polite, but also tell your fellow travelers that you need some time to just think. Then don’t be afraid to drift off and enjoy your peace and quiet.

Another means of getting some time to breathe is headphones. Oh, the glories of iPods! If you are wearing headphones it tells people that you are not in the mood for conversation. It is not rude or reclusive. You are simply enjoying your music and taking a break from talk. Make sure to take along a CD player or iPod and your favorite music or audio books. However, one thing you must keep in mind when bringing electronics is to pay careful attention to what you do with them. Keep them in a safe place and be wary. Expensive toys like iPods and laptop computers offer desirable targets for theft.

A basic pastime you can bring for the moments you have free is books. What could be better than your favorite Jane Austen novel when touring the beautiful English countryside? Or if you have a long plane ride ahead of you, bring a Michael Crichton thriller with you and be on the edge of your seat the whole time. Perhaps you are not much of a reader. How about a book of crossword puzzles or Sudoku?

If you have got energy to burn and want to get some stress out of your system, go for a jog or a long walk. Though it is not often safe to venture out alone in a strange place, if you remain alert and aware of your surroundings and stick to the safe side of town, you will be fine. Walking is a great way to experience the culture and sights of a city or countryside for yourself. It gives you the leisure to explore as far as you want to, or stand and stare at an interesting sight for as long as you wish without someone complaining.

Last but not least, bring a journal. Even if you are not a writer, you will cherish the thoughts and memories you took the time to record during your trip. Traveling is a special, life-changing experience that you will want to remember as clearly as you can forever. Journals are a wonderful way to document your trip and keep your memories vivid. Also, who would begrudge you time alone to write in a journal?

Try these simple ideas if you need some time alone to catch your breath. Do not hesitate to take some time for yourself, because it will help you to appreciate the time you do spend among the group you travel with.

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