So you have booked yourself on a group trip and you are preparing yourself for an adventure that you have saved hard for and that you deserve. It’s your holiday! You are in a good mood and ready for some good times ahead. On the first day you meet your other group members, and everyone seems very pleasant. You think you might make some new friends, you think you are going to have fun with all these people. But a few days into the trip, you realise there is a “cup half empty” person on board…
“One bad apple can spoil a whole barrell”
These clichés are not made up for nothing, they have been handed down through time because they ring true! You can be in a group of 10 amazing, fun-loving people, but when just one of them is a complainer, it can change the whole atmosphere of the group. There is no avoiding this person. They are always looking for an ear to unload to. You’re so nice, that you always become the victim.
How to spot one:
They might seem nice at first, but then they start to get picky and whinge about ridiculous things. Like expecting too much in a developing country. You are in some beautiful, exotic, so-called “3rd world” country and they moan about having dust or fine sand in their room in the Sahara. Well, hulllooo!? Wind blows dust in through the smallest of holes and gets everywhere and is unavoidable, even for the cleaners. But the moaner won’t see that.
Or the hotel is spotlessly clean, you are in a beautiful city, there are so many exciting things outside, but all the moaner sees is the fact that their hot water took too long to come out of the tap.
They will go on about the rubbish and pollution etc that they might see, but then they themselves waste water in their rooms, leave lights on when they go out, and accept plastic bags with every purchase.
The person might be a princess. Expecting everyone to wait on her, carry her bags, look after her needs. Treating staff at hotels like inferior lackeys. They complain about everything that is “not like home”: “we wouldn’t do that in our country…, why do they do that here…”
Sometimes people need reminding that we travel to see differences, and if they don’t want to see something different then they should stay home.
“8 per centers”: a statistic I learnt early on in tourism is that 8% of your clients are un-pleasable. Do what you can, try as you might, they will always find fault. Once you have established that there is no pleasing them, then all you can do is say to yourself “they are an 8 per-center”, take pity on them for a minute and then be sure not to let them drag you down or focus on them.
So what do you do?
Remember this: you have paid to be there. It is your holiday. If you are enjoying yourself, don’t let them spoil that! Let them know that you don’t want to listen to their negativity, and that it is discolouring your experience.
Tell your tour leader – she is often unaware of the secretive whisperings going on in the back of the bus, or in your rooms. If there is a problem, or someone is ruining your experience while you are having a good time, tell her. A professional tour leader will take them aside and try to get them to focus on the good things about the trip, or see if they might have an issue themselves that they need to deal with. Don’t let it be your problem, tell your tour leader. If she has good people skills she will deal with it in the right way. (In extreme cases, a person can be asked to leave the trip).
Whatever you do: Don’t be sucked down onto their lower plane of existence. Focus on the amazing place you are in, the fun you are having, the new experiences and challenges of being in a foreign culture that you are enjoying. Travel should bring you into the NOW. It should take you away from your daily routine and make you focus on the incredible new things going on around you at that moment. Be present and take it all in! As we say here “Life is uncertain – EAT CAKE!”