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How Not to Fight on Vacation

If You’re Not in the Driver’s Seat, Abdicate Control
I learned this lesson in Italy.  I’m somewhat of a backseat driver when my husband is at the wheel, but when we rented an Alfa Romeo to drive around Tuscany, I was so glad I wasn’t driving (driving in a foreign land is just not my thing) I simply stayed quiet even when things looked a little dubious.  This helped to create harmony on a dream vacation.
Spend a Little Time Apart Every Day
This may seem counterintuitive, yet I have found that it helps.  You and your traveling partner(s) are not usually together 24 hours a day at home, so why should you be on holiday?  Nothing can create tension like never separating even for just a few minutes.
Let the Person Who is the Most Organized Take Care of Most of the Travel Details
Normally the person who is the most organized prefers to take care of details in nearly every situation.    It will save the person who is less organized the opportunity to relax more on holiday (too many details can give me a headache), and everyone is happier.
As In Any Relationship, Compromise!
We hear it all the timecompromise is the key in any relationship; this is especially true of traveling companions.  If you are locked in a disagreement about where to visit, suggest a compromise such as spending a little less time in a particular museum and using the extra time to relax in a cafĂ©.  
If Your Traveling Companion Doesn’t Want to Participate in an Activity, Go Yourself and Don’t be Angry
This sounds easier than it is, yet choosing not to be angry when your traveling companion does not participate in an activity will only add to your enjoyment.  Do you really want to be angry while visiting The Louvre or The Acropolis?
If You Are Headed toward an Unknown Destination, Get as Clear An Idea as Possible Where You are Going
“John, you said you knew where you were going; we are nowhere near where we need to be!”
“We’ll find it.”
“Why can’t you ever stop and ask for directions?  Why are you so stubborn?”
“Oh give it a rest, Phyllis.”
Does this sound familiar to anyone?  For some reason getting lost encourages fighting the way a fine wine encourages relaxation.
To prevent this from happening, why not ask the concierge for detailed directions, or let the person who is better at reading the map read the map?  When I studied abroad in Germany, we traveled with a great map reader, and when someone complained that the map reader was always the one in charge and thought he was “omnipotent,” our trusty leader abdicated control; chaos ensued and let’s just say that the best map reader became the best map reader again.
If Things Don’t Go as Planned, Have a Plan B or Be Spontaneous
This is one of the most important things people can do on vacation.  Nothing is worse than someone being miserable because things didn’t go as planned and subsequently making other traveling companions miserable.  I have found that to plan both indoor and outdoor activities to match the weather has been very helpful in making things go more smoothly.
If One Person Likes to Go, Go, Go, and Another Likes to Relax, That’s Okay
I have traveled with some who like to be on the go constantly and others who like to take it easy.  I have found that to try and change the nature of the other leads to trouble.  Normally, the person who likes to relax is more than happy to have a nice margarita by the pool while others go out and discover the city.
Let Those Pesky, Recurring Issues Go
Vacations can sometimes amplify any existing issues in a relationship.  I have learned to try and let most issues go while on holiday.  My husband and I had our worst anniversary (the armpit of anniversaries) overseas when I brought up a problem.  How I wish now that I hadn’t!
Remember, a Vacation is an Investment!
My guess is there are more people who have been disappointed on vacation because of arguing than those who have not.  One great thing to remember is that a vacation is an investment—financially, emotionally, and an investment of your time.  Try to get the most out of your time—arguing only cheapens your investment.
Making the Most of Your Investment
Want to make the most out of your travel investment?  Turn to International Vacation Home Exchange.  Their travel consultants can help find the perfect luxury home exchange while you and your traveling companion(s) are out seeing the world.  See how this works.

Photo thank you to Michael Baird

Thanks to travel writer Sona Schmidt-Harris – Follow her on Twitter @Sonag2000

5 Ways to Live Locally While Traveling Globally

Visiting top tourist attractions are most likely on everyone’s travel itinerary.  We all want to see the sites we’ve read and heard about over the years.  While visiting these sites be sure to make it a well-rounded holiday by spending a little time gaining insight into how the locals of the area live.  Here are a few tips to help you do just that. 
Use Public Transportation
You might find it easier to Uber or book a car service when traveling around an unfamiliar place, but by doing so you miss out on the real flavor of the culture.  Taking the time to learn the local public transportation system is a great way to really immerse yourself in the daily routines of the locals.  Don’t be afraid of getting a bit lost along the way, you can always just get off and get right back on again. 
Learn the Language
You don’t need to necessarily make an investment in Rosetta Stone (unless, of course, you want to) but it’s a great idea to at least learn a few words and phrases in the language of the countries you visit.  It will not only help you get the feel of living locally but it’s also good “travel etiquette” when you’re a guest in another country.  If you are traveling with kids then it’s a great way to expose them to another language.  We always like to have our kids take turns being in charge of learning a few key phrases for the country we are about to visit.  We then will call upon them for a particular phase that’s needed.  It’s a great learning experience for adults, as well, as children. 
Ask the Locals for Suggestions
One of our favorite “side-line” excursions was on a trip to Ireland while driving the Ring of Kerry.  During a quick stop at a gift shop, the owner told us about a little known off shoot of the Ring of Kerry that the tourists don’t know about.  He pulled out a map and showed us how to drive onto the ferry and take this recommended detour.  He also mentioned an ice cream shop on this route that he said was reason enough to make the trip.  So off we went on this mini adventure.  With all the research I do before leaving on holiday I would have never found out about that delightful route without chatting with a local, and yes, the ice cream was amazing!
One of the best ways to truly get the local experience is by booking a home swap, living in local’s home is a great way to experience he local culture.  A popular option is International Vacation Home Exchange.  They offer non simultaneous home swap to their members, which is a convenient booking option. 
Visit the Local Grocery Store
I always love stopping into local grocery stores on holiday.  It’s a great way to experience what’s grown locally or to find out about some of the local cultural favorites.  You can watch other shoppers for what types of items they are purchasing or ask the owner for suggestions.  They are usually more that happy to teach you about their cultural dishes. 

I’d love to hear about a living-like-a-local travel experience you’ve had by leaving a comment in the section below.  Hopefully these tips will help you add a little local flavor to your next holiday experience but remember that to truly fit in with the locals you’ll unfortunately need to leave your selfie stick at home. 

Thank you Travel Writer Lisa Medeiros.  Follow her on Twitter @lisamedeiros_

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