Sunday, March 10, 2013

13 Reasons Not To Travel With 13 People

Hannah and Neil messaged us before they got to Luang Prabang asking us to book a room for them and two other friends they had picked up on the way. We booked the rooms, made them a welcome sign, and headed down to the river to pick them up from their two day longboat journey.

About 15 longboats were all pulling in at the same time and we weren't sure which one they were on until the loud party boat appeared. We heard a group of people singing "Na, na, na, na...GOODBYE" and knew without a doubt that Hannah and Neil were on that boat and had something to do with the singing. Turns out Hannah and Neil made a lot more than two friends since we spoke earlier that morning and the next thing we knew, we had a group of 13. 

And here are 13 reasons why you should not travel with 13 people.

1. You can't get enough rooms for everyone in one guest house.  Everyone starts frantically running around town with their 15 kg backpacks on trying to find rooms near each other and inevitably, two guys will have to share a double bed. No judgement.

2. Going anywhere takes forever. Because everyone is split between four different guest houses, you have to pick a meeting place and hope that everyone shows up near the agreed upon time. There will always be hangovers and French people working against you (we love you, Chloe!) so you end up waiting quite awhile until everyone shows up.

3. Everyone has different bargaining techniques. This also makes getting anywhere a very time consuming process. Unless you want to get ripped off, you have to bargain for everything in SE Asia. It's a way a life, even the locals bargain. 13 people huddled around a tuk tuk driver, all trying to negotiate the best rate is quite amusing. I chose to step back and watch because my bargaining technique usually ends up in us paying more than the driver originally requested. Some people act offend, one girl going as far as to say "I'd rather be raped that pay that price" ($3/person). Some people act indifferent and walk away, knowing the tuk tuk driver will eventually follow them down the street and agree to a lower price. With all these different methods going on at the same time, you can imagine it takes awhile until everyone, including the driver, can agree on a fair price.

Kuang Si waterfalls is the most beautiful place we went in Asia and my camera died when we got there. Do yourself a favor and google it.

4. 13 people can't technically fit in one tuk tuk. But as we've mentioned before, "Safety Standards" doesn't translate into Lao so you just hang a few people off the back.

5. It's nearly impossible to find a table big enough for 13 people. I quite enjoy sitting in people's laps now.

6. Food takes forever to come out. Half the group will be done eating and have paid before the other half gets their food. And someone's order always gets lost in the hustle and bustle. 

7. Much to Ashley's dismay, everyone talks about poo and their stomach troubles at dinner.  Ashley here- Who talks about their deepest darkest poo secrets with their brand new group of friends... WHILE THEY ARE EATING?  Everyone.  Why though?  Why do we have to know that you haven't had a normal poo since the day you arrived in Asia?  We're in Asia too.  WE KNOW.  Keep it to yourself.

8. Everyone has a travel horror story to tell. At the end of Round Robin Horror Stories with 13 people, all you want to do is lock yourself in your hotel room and not eat or drink anything until you can hop on the first flight back home. Restaurants in India will purposefully poison your food because they get a cut of medication sales from the pharmacy around the corner?? In Cambodia they reuse plastic bottles and fill them with unsafe tap water and resell them?? People hide in the luggage compartment of the buses and steal your stuff?? This last one actually happened to Ashley and she had to cancel her credit card after she noticed a $300 purchase at Adidas and realized her card was missing.

9. Jenga isn't as fun. Ash and I are a little competitive when it comes to games. Everyone reading this has probably lost a few games of Cranium or Scattergories to us. The game of choice in SE Asia is Jenga. We mastered this game pretty fast, building towers so high that it would be structurally impossible to add any additional levels. We had to start playing No Hands Jenga where you use your nose, tongue or toes, because regular Jenga became too easy. Throw in 13 players and all the fun of Jenga is lost. There is always someone half invested who insists on playing. They start talking to their neighbor and don't pay attention which means you have to wait forever for it to be your turn. When you finally do catch their attention , they put zero effort into calmly and strategically removing pieces. They will either take out the base piece holding the whole tower up or remove a piece all willy nilly causing the tower to fall. So you only get one, maybe two turns before the tower falls even though it has potential to grow much taller. You can imagine how irksome this is for us.

30 rows.
10. Someone always ruins a picture.

11. There are lots of people that can post ugly pictures of you on Facebook. Back when Facebook was in its prime, we had to send an email to our girlfriends, imploring them not to post ugly pictures of us on Facebook  We are single girls trying to meet our husbands. Posting ugly pictures of us on the internet is not helping our cause. Unfortunately there is no way to police this with so many new friends taking pictures of you.

12. When one person gets sick, everyone gets sick. And it hit me 10 minutes before boarding a flight to Bangkok. I ran to the bathroom eight times on a two hour flight. Fortunately I had the foresight to take my airsick bag with me because I wasn't able to make it to a bathroom in time when we got off the plane.

13. So many people to say goodbye to :( Even though it can be annoying to travel with 13 people, it's definitely fun to make so many new friends. We've learned a lot of new games and dance moves, have done things we wouldn't have done had we been traveling alone, picked up useful travel tips and laughed a lot. Despite only spending a few days with people, it's always sad to have to say goodbye. 

Steven dancing and jazz handing for a spork.

Group hike to watch the sunset.



  1. Yay for new posts! Ps traveling with 13 sounds dreadful and awesome. I'm torn!


  2. Firstly, yay a new post FINALLY. I'm dying here without updates! Secondly, LOL at number 7 cause I can totally relate. Med school makes you very poop convo tolerant. Side effect of spending months going into a patient's room every morning to ask how their BM's are going...Sorry Ashley.

    -Trausers :-)

  3. Thanks goodness for another post, what else am I going to read at 2am?!