Recently, longtime friends of ours asked my husband and me to join them on an all-inclusive 7-day Caribbean vacation this winter. We’ve known them for more than 10 years, have dined together countless times, attended theater and movies, and celebrated many birthdays and holidays together. We thoroughly enjoy their company, but after a few hours, we’re ready to say goodbye. We’d love to get away but are concerned about being somewhat of a ‘captive audience’. We can’t think of a graceful way to decline, and we certainly don’t want to hurt their feelings. Do you have any suggestions as to how to make this trip work?
Traveling with friends, even good ones can be challenging. I would suggest discussing your individual vacation ‘styles’ beforehand, for example, who are the early risers, explorers, beach lovers, etc. I would also make it clear upfront that although you are traveling together, you’re not joined at the hip and can go off separately without any hurt feelings. Make plans each day to have at least one or two meals together and book several activities and/or excursions during the trip. Keep in mind that it’s two couple’s vacations and each couple is entitled to enjoy it to the fullest. There may be some compromise here and there, but seven days in paradise goes by quickly, a friendship can last a lifetime.
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