Needless to say, she got her first choice of the bed and set the tone for the room: the temperature and shared space: closets, double sink and drawers. The flow was easy.
However, during the day, I found that my colleague missed her husband and decided to substitute me for him. As a group we'd approach a door and she would step aside. On several occasions she asked me to hold her conference materials and looked at me strangely when I gave them back. We rented a car but I did all of the driving. When the weekend was over, I found myself exhausted and much in need of a vacation from my mini-vacation.
I love my girlfriend, but I vowed that if I were ever to room and/or travel with her or any other girlfriend again, to set ground rules would have to be a must for a successful trip. Therefore I share some tips with you. These are but a few ways you can help plan for a successful excursion.
1) Do Communicate Plan: Time permitting, talk at least a month before the trip. Discuss where you're going, for what purpose and how you are getting there. Discuss how you can assist each other and commonalities that may benefit all of you like shared expenses or shared transportation
2) Do Communicate Expectations: Expectations talk should be detailed and include: what you want and/or need to do during your trip, details about plans to handle any joint expenses, itinerary and planned diversions.
3) Do Communicate House Rules: If you are rooming with your girlfriend(s) discuss absolute pet peeves. I stress absolute because if you can relent a pet peeve like 'I hate when people dry off outside of the shower...' leave it at home. However if drying off outside of the shower absolutely drives you bananas and will avoid a confrontation, share it. Discuss if you are affected by sensitive issues like room temperature, allergies etc. If the room is too hot while I sleep, I am awakened by a violent coughing spell. Chances are I'm going to wake you too so while I probably can't freeze the room out like I do when I'm alone, rooming with me, we have to discuss a happy medium
4) Do Honor Your Word and communicate immediately if a plan changes no matter how small or big the change may seem
5) Do Be Flexible Open your mind. Flexibility makes for a good travel partner; It is never pleasant to travel with one who pouts and stomps to her way only. Be okay to try something new, you just may learn something new or experience something differently.
6) Do Be On Time A friend once explained to me that if you are attending on someone else's dime don't ever have them wait for you. It is better for you to wait for them. (I am still working on this one).
7) Don't mistake your girlfriend for your mate. Don't expect your girlfriend to lift your bags, open the door for you or handle the bill without your contribution. (This is a huge no-no for me)
8) Don't alter plans and/or arrangements without a discussion. If another friend decides to join the party, don't invite her to share in the room and expenses without discussing it with the original roommate.
9) Don't discuss any rifts if any, outside of the parties involved, before during and especially afterwards. If a rift occurs, once resolved let it be. What happens in the room or presence stays in the room or presence.
10) Don't gossip. 'Nuff said.
Ultimately, be respectful and thank others in deed, words or actions. If your girlfriend handles dinner, appetizers or a drink, be gracious. However don't expect her to just because she is the top dogette. Pull your own weight, do what you can with what you want and don't over-extend yourself.
Girlfriend excursions can be fun and productive. Remember to be gracious, aware, flexible and communicate. Once you turn fun into fabulous you will have people at your feet trying to travel with you.
This is Toni Staton Harris, Checkin' Up and Checkin' In on your travel. Share your experiences, do's and don'ts and what has worked for you.