Spring break is fast approaching and if you’re anything like me, you’ve been planning your vacation since 2015. But whether you’re going on an alcohol-fueled week-long fiesta on a Mexican beach or simply taking a family trip to Mount Rainier, it is important to identify what kind of vacationer you are as well as what kind of vacationer your companions are. A vacation can be easily ruined by warring members within the group, but with a little self-awareness, insight, and compassion, all parties can be accommodated. Here are five common types of vacationers as well as ways to work each of their personalities into one deliriously happy whole.
This one is self-explanatory—Planners like to plan. They’ll have at least three different items on the agenda for each day. They will have bought the tickets, reserved the seats, or booked the show months in advance and their only regret is only having 24 hours in a day with which to work with.
- Why You Love Them: Planners ensure that you’re never bored. They have done their research, checked out reviews and tips, and have endless enthusiasm.
- Why They Can Be Frustrating: The word “relax” is not in the Planner’s vocabulary. This might very well be because they come from a small town where there is very little to do in the first place.
- How to Accommodate Them: Limit them to one event per day. Give them free range to pick the event and be willing to happily participate in whatever activity they set their sights on but explain that too many activities will exhaust the group.
The Partier would be fine never leaving the house, as long as the house is full of people and drinks. They have a superhuman ability to survive on three hours of sleep and seem to have friends in all 50 states.
- Why You Love Them: They bring the party with them wherever they go. A quintessential social butterfly, the Partier’s zest for life is infectious.
- Why They Can Be Frustrating: Trying to do any sort of coordinated activity is likely to be difficult for the Partier. They thrive in the laissez-faire, unstructured world of house parties and clubs. They are likely to be a little late or behind.
- How to Accommodate Them: Don’t try to micromanage them. Ask explicitly beforehand if they want to attend any timed events that require tickets or reservations. If they do express interest in going, tell them the event starts at least half an hour before you actually have to leave. This gives them the wiggle room that they always end up needing (even if they insist that they don’t).
The Relaxer is pretty simple: they just want to relax. Beside the pool, in the pool, on the beach, or lounging on the patio are their most likely locations.
- Why You Love Them: The Relaxer is the Matthew McConaughey of any vacation. They never start drama, get along with everyone, and are just happy to be where they are. They are rarely bored and exert no pressure on anyone to be, or do, much of anything.
- Why They Can Be Frustrating: They seem completely uninterested in actually doing anything. What fun is Vegas without gambling? What fun is a cruise without participating in any of the planned activities?
- How to Accommodate Them: Much like the Planner, ask them to commit to at least one event per day. Perhaps they are from an area with very poor weather, and the thought of being inside during a hot day horrifies them. They may be more willing to do something at night or go to an outside event during the day.
The Sightseer probably has the nicest camera in the group. There is nothing so coveted to the Sightseer as the perfect picture. And in an attempt to capture it, they are likely to take upwards of 500 pics per day.
- Why You Love Them: The Sightseer makes sure that every great moment of your vacation is well-documented. Once placed on Facebook, you’ll be reminded of your happy times for years to come. Thanks to the relentless efforts of the Sightseer, a funny moment or breathtaking view is sure to never be lost.
- Why They Can Be Frustrating: In their efforts to get the perfect shot, they may be quite distracted. It’s easy to feel like they are missing out on group experiences because a camera is always in front of their face. Those who don’t like posing for pictures (yes, these people exist) might quickly tire of a camera in their face as well.
- How to Accommodate Them: There are a few ways to deal with the camera happy. Either designate camera-free zones (inside the vacation house for example) or certain camera-free trips (ones where there will be little to see but a lot to drink). On a more personal basis, you can tell the budding photographer that you will give them a maximum of five poses per day, so they better not waste ‘em!
The Bonder doesn’t care where they are or what they are doing, as long as the group is enjoying the experience together. They dislike when one or two people split off to do something different and will actively seek out and integrate anyone who seems too distant or solitary.
- Why You Love Them: A sense of family and friendship are fostered by the Bonder and, at the end of the trip, they are likely to have ensured that you feel more loved and included than ever before. Bonders promote harmony within the group and deepen connections that may have not even existed before.
- Why They Can Be Frustrating: Some people are naturally introverted and enjoy being alone on occasion. The constant pressure of the Bonder to socialize may be an unwelcome intrusion into a lone wolf’s privacy. Furthermore, smaller groups splitting up can often be efficient and practical, whereas wrangling large groups can be notoriously difficult and exhausting.
- How to Accommodate Them: Plan two or three events that will involve the whole group. But if you want to split off alone or into a small group, assure any distressed Bonders that you’ll tell them all about the side-trip when you get back or that you simply want to recharge for a second. Once you open up to a Bonder, they’ll usually respect your wishes. Your happiness is what concerns them most.
Vacations are great for self-reflection. They allow you to see what you like to do when you have nothing you have to do. But, like people themselves, your vacation preferences can change over time. They often highlight what you may feel like you’re missing back at home. Vacations also provide a fantastic opportunity to get to know your friends and family better, directly and indirectly. Recognize and capitalize on these chances and, above all, enjoy your break!