Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Vegas with friends

Thought this might be an appropriate time to address the "group trip" as a few of my close friends and I will soon be making one and "touring and travelling" with friends can either be a great deal of fun or a potential disaster.  I'll share my experience and my advice on this matter.

Most all of us have seen movies like "The Hangover," "Very Bad Things" and "Swingers" and so you know that those great trips to Vegas can turn out very good or very bad indeed.  Whether you are visiting for a wedding, bachelor party, birthday or just for the hell of it, the more people involved, the more potential for trouble.

The most important thing to remember is that, even though you may all be going to the same place, you all aren't in the "same place."  Some people may be visiting Vegas for the first time.  Some may be grisly old vets.   Some people may love to drink and gamble.  Others may want to shop, hang out by the pool or see a show.  If you want to enjoy your time together, it may be necessary to spend a fair amount of time apart.

Don't over plan.  If you are going to be in town for 2 or 3 days, that might be difficult.  Everyone is going to be excited about spending time together and having a great time.  But not everyone is going to define a "great time" the same way.  And the more people involved, the more different ideas people will have.  I recommend planning no more than one group activity a day.  Whether it's going to a show, checking out the hottest restaurant or club or visiting a particular location together, it is going to take a few hours out of your day and it is going to involve some compromise on the part of each person.  A little bit of compromise is part of any group outing but if you try and insist on everyone staying together all the time, you are going to frustrate most everyone in a short time.

Beyond that, you might want to poll the people going on the trip to see if they might have some common interests.  If half of your group really wants to spend an afternoon shopping at the Forum Shops, then why not let them figure it out in advance and use some of the "free time" to make that happen.

And, for me, that's the key:  Everyone needs some "free time" to do what they want to do.  It might be one person or ten but be flexible enough to let it happen that way.  So just as every day should have a "group activity," every day should also have free time or flex time where everyone can do as they please, either individually or as a group.  Don't feel bad about it.  Even the closest relationships allow for some "alone time" and you should too.

On the other hand, try not to let anyone feel "left out."  In large groups, some people won't know each other as well.  The host, if there is one, should try and make sure that everyone is included if they want.
Also, keep in mind what I'll call the "hangover variable."   If you all are planning on a big night of partying, you might want to reconsider that early morning trip to Laughlin.   It may seem like a good idea at the time but do you really want to spend all day hanging out with a bunch or green people?   Besides, I hear they frown on vomiting on the bus.  If you are planning an early activity, take it easy the night before.

You can learn an awful lot about your friends by spending time with them in Las Vegas.  It won't always be good.  Don't hold it against them.  They're just as messed up as you are but in a different way.  And, of course, the most important thing to remember is that "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas."