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October 28, 2011

5 Reasons Adventures Never Get Off the Ground and The Solutions

This post originally appeared on http://thecamspuscompanion.com and was written by a staff writer.

Adventures are an integral part of College.  That’s true.  But, don’t you hate how you never seem to get a trip past: “Hey we should go (insert place here) for break,” or how it seems like everything falls apart right before a great adventure?

The following are the top 5 reasons why great adventures never get off the ground.

1. Poor Planning…

The Problem:  Though self-explanatory, this is the biggest and most critical reason plans fall through.  Simply stating, “Hey we should go on a road trip sometime,” does not magically set forth a series of events that land you in a car with your friends on your way to Las Vegas.   If only that were the case… What IS true is that by putting forth the idea of a trip, gears will start turning, but only elbow grease will keep the idea going and make a trip a reality.

The Solution: There are a few easy tips to help get a trip off the ground, or make a pre-existing one even better. First, having at least one person in the group who can devote a good bit of their time to research on the trip (i.e. where you are going, how are you getting there, where you will stay, how much will it cost for the whole trip, and when you will leave and return etc.) will help motivate other people to believe in the trip and make a full commitment.  Further, if everyone involved in the trip can actually devote a good bit of their time to helping research, there will be even more willingness to truly commit.

Second, get everyone involved in the trip together and settle on a date EARLY. Realize, it will be very hard to always accommodate everyone, but that is just another perk to helping with the planning process, you have a say in when you go. Make sure when you pick the dates, that you have nothing planned on those dates already and keep it that way. Arbitrarily picking a weekend or holiday can get you into trouble with crossing dates and double booking.

Lastly plan ahead; months ahead that is. Putting together a trip on the fly for the upcoming weekend will just leave you scrambling for days and will likely end up with the whole trip collapsing on you and no one else willing to go.

2. Unreliable Friendships…

The Problem: When planning a trip, especially trips where purchasing a pricey ticket is required, it is important to make sure you know whom you are going with. Many trips fall through because of problems or issues between friends.  Whether they decide at the end that it’s too expensive or that they did actually have other plans, or even worse that they decide you are no longer friends.

The Solution: Don’t plan expensive or long trips with people you haven’t been friends with for a while, or people that you are still unsure about. Trips will only exacerbate problems with people if they arise, so it is essential that you only plan trips with people you know you are 100% cool with.

Further, if you know that one person you are going with is up for going, but will most likely back out in the end, plan on it and have contingencies ready, or do your part to make sure that they are coming with you. Don’t give them any responsibilities either. A road trip wouldn’t be much of a road trip if the friend who was supplying the car backs out at the last second.

If you are going on a trip with friends make sure you have at least two people on the trip you know you are great friends with.   This way, if one person does start to make waves, at least you have one or more friend you can hang with to take some time away from the person causing conflict.  When you’re picking who to take with you make sure your friendship spans twice as long as you have to wait before you depart (if you plan a trip 4 months from now, you should have been friends with your traveling companions for at least 8 months).  This rule will help to curb the possibility that you might discontinue your friendship before you leave.

3.  Girl/Boy Friends or Other Crippling Responsibilities (Jobs, Internships etc.)…

The Problem: Many of your friends, I’m sure, have a significant other.  This problem becomes tricky for several reasons. A friend might want to come, but their “spouse” might be keeping them from coming, or worse yet, they may want to incorporate the spouse into the plans. While it all seems very romantic, as the planner you may run into problems if /when the love birds break up.   Plus, when a group of friends go on a trip, but only one brings a significant other, it creates a very awkward social dynamic.

To say the least, Aruba would swiftly turn into an awkward fight-fest if Jimmy and Catherine start screaming at each other all day, but also would be equally awkward if they just stayback in the room and have sex all day.

Another crippling responsibility is the dreaded “Job”.  Work can be a problem as many of us require a job in order to finance these trips. Nothing is as pitiable as a friend claiming they can come all the way up until its time to throw down the dough at which point they crumble as they reply, “I couldn’t get work off that week.”

The Solution: If you are bringing a friend who has a significant other, plainly lay down the rules. If they are coming they are to remain civil through out the trip. Another strategy is to say to your friend: “This is a ‘Guy/Girls only trip’ the equivalent to a ‘Guys night out’ or ‘Ladies night’.” If the spouse is coming, it will make the trip easier if everyone makes an attempt at befriending or including him or her into whatever you are doing. Though, experience says, a good rule of thumb is: unless everyone is bringing an “other” it’s best to go stag (or doe) so to speak.

If your friend has work, make sure he or she gets work off as soon as possible and makes it absolutely clear that they have made concrete/unbreakable plans. Any boss will tell you that the earlier you tell them you need time off, the more likely it is to happen.  But still be careful, especially if you have a restaurant job, because bosses in college towns are notorious for holding your job ransom because of the never ending pool of college employees.  Ultimately, if a friend can’t get work off it is safe to assume that they won’t be coming.

4.  Being Broke as S***…

The Problem: If you are a college student you are probably, for a lack of a better term, broke as s***. Thus limiting your options and free time. However planning ahead can make things cheaper, as well as easier.

The Solution: When bringing the whole trip together make sure to account for all expenditures, and that means EVERY single one. Account for everything from what the ticket and hotel will cost, to money for taxis and food, to just having carry-around money. If the trip is to a tropical beach, check for parking prices, excursion prices, and entrance fees.  Consider your situation, a beach will probably not require to much carrying-around money, however a trip to Paris or a major city will definitely mean you need a good bit of carry-cash.

Save money by planning far in advance, and buying tickets before the prices get hiked up.  But again, refer to #2 and be wary of who you make your plans with.

5.  Poor Decisions Prior to Trip…

The Problem: It is hard to buy a plane ticket if you are paying off a speeding ticket, or if you are in jail.  Imagine how much it would suck, as well, if you made it to your destination but had no money because you blew it binge drinking the full week before you left.

The Solution: If you know you are going on an expensive trip, make the right decisions. If you are heading off to where money will be needed don’t spend as much prior to the trip; the shopping spree can wait until you get to where you are vacationing.

Other factors, like playing by the rules or abiding the law, will make it easier to not have problems as well. A 500 dollar speeding ticket can really hurt when you just spent the same or more on a plane ticket. Ultimately, getting into trouble will cause many problems for everyone involved in the trip. Finally, if one of your members likes to drink a lot…all day…every day, make sure you have them managed before you get on the plane. Drinking the night away before a 5 am flight is a bad move….unless, of course, you are already at the airport drinking at the airport-bar.  Then, you are usually alright, but don’t say you weren’t warned about the raging hang-over that comes with sobering up at a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet.


By understanding and taking the necessary steps to ensure a trip gets off the ground, the whole world can be your playground. Whether it’s a simple trip to go snowboarding over a weekend, or a week-long vacation in Aruba, there will be factors at play that can shut you down. But with planning and tact, any trip is one step closer to success.

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