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10 Questions To Ask Your Friends Before You Travel Together

The cold hard truth? You can't travel with everybody.

Travel

'Tis the season for girls' trips, retreats, and summer vacations. However, some of us have learned an unfortunate and hard truth (and vice versa) -- you can't travel with everybody. Just because they're a good friend doesn't mean they'll be a good travel companion.

Through some of my adventures and experiences, I've learned that it's not a matter of who's right or wrong; rather, it's a matter of preference. As with most anything in life, people like what they like and they enjoy what they enjoy. However, a lot of conflicts or disagreements that surface during trips can easily be prevented or resolved beforehand by having an open and honest discussion.

So, before you book your next trip, use these questions as a guide to help you decide who will be your travel buddy.

1. Do you prefer an airplane, train ride, road trip, or cruise?

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The answer to this question will directly impact the type of trip that you'll plan. For example, as much as I love to travel and fly, I have no desire, whatsoever, to go on a cruise. I would rather fly and go as I please, instead of boarding a ship and spending the majority of my time on it. Hence, it's no surprise that when some of my friends plan their cruises, I am not invited…nor am I offended because that's not my preference.

2. What types of things do you like to do when you go on vacation? 

This can vary depending on the trip (e.g., vacation, retreat, girls' trip, couple's trip, etc.). There are people who like to do as much as possible while vacationing, and there are others who like to use that time to stay in or relax no matter where they are. Then, there are those who enjoy a mixture – rest one day, explore another day, party another day. When traveling with other people, it's best to know upfront so you can plan the itinerary accordingly.

3. Do you prefer to stay at an Airbnb, a hotel, or a resort? 

Additionally, you may need to ask: Inclusive or non-inclusive? Room service or self-serve? How many people are you willing to share a room or a space with?

Some people only need enough space to rest their head at night whether that's a bed, a couch, or even a roll-out bed. So, for them, it doesn't matter as much where they'll stay. On the other hand, people like me, who can be a bit of a "hotel or location snob," will research thoroughly online before booking a place to stay.

Keep in mind the budget and the destination can impact your choice, and knowing it upfront can help narrow your search.

4. Do you have a passport?

If you're planning to travel internationally, but you or your travel buddies don't have a passport, then you'll need to allow enough time to order one.

5. How long is too long to be on a trip?

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This can vary depending on: 1) the type of lodging that's chosen, 2) the total number of people, 3) as well as the people you decide to travel with. For some people, two to three days may be more than enough time to spend with a certain group of people, while five to seven days could be just enough before your patience starts to run out.

6. What is your budget for the trip – before and during the trip? 

Although this shouldn't be considered as an opportunity to meddle and find out how much money someone makes, it is important to determine if everyone has budgeted adequately for the trip. Make sure they've allotted enough for lodging, food/beverages (if non-inclusive), as well as possible extracurricular activities (e.g., shopping, excursions, tours, parties, etc.). While you may be willing to pay extra for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure or an excursion, someone else may be more interested in splurging on a spa day.

7. If flying, what airline do you prefer? 

Depending on everyone's home base and their departure location, you may not have as much flexibility when it comes to choosing a specific airline. Nevertheless, understand that some people won't mind choosing a cheaper airline for a shorter flight. Then, there are certain people who will pay more for their airfare to allow for more leg space, priority boarding, on-flight entertainment, Wi-Fi, or better snacks.

8. Planned itinerary or just wing it? 

There are people who like to plan for everything, and there are those who prefer to play it by ear. Depending on the size of the group and everyone's preferences, a formalized agenda may make the most sense.

I remember when I created this elaborate agenda during a bachelorette trip to Vegas for at least 14 ladies. Although I may have included one too many activities and everyone was worn out by the end of it, the good thing about it was that the agenda helped keep us on track and on time, and everyone ended up doing a lot of things they had never done before.

9. Do you prefer to use rideshare, local transportation, or rent a car? 

Depending on the destination, you'll need to determine if it makes sense to rent a car, or if certain rideshare services will even be available. If you decide to rent a car or use a ridesharing service, find out if the group is willing to pitch in and help, or if you'll need to consider another option to cover the expenses.

10. Is there anything that is completely off limits or anything that you absolutely must do while you’re on the trip?

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When someone ends up unhappy on a group trip, it's likely because they didn't get to do the one thing they wanted to do. Conversely, it could've been that they were forced to do something they never wanted to do in the first place.

So, when traveling with other people, it's important to be mindful of their desires and interests…not just yours. Of course, you can't please everyone, but by prioritizing what's most important, you can accommodate and adjust the itinerary accordingly especially if you're on a limited schedule.

For your next trip, I want #PositiveVibesOnly and positive energy for you and whoever you decide to travel with. So, depending on the outcome of the discussion, you may have to: 1) find a happy medium or a resolution that will cater to most of the group, 2) be willing to split up and do things in separate groups, or 3) exclude certain people from the trip.

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

Here's Why Barbados Should Be Your Next Girls Trip

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5 "Friends" Who Need to Be Excluded From Your Next Girls Trip

Featured image by Getty Images

Originally published on July 16, 2019

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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