Thursday, June 11, 2009

Travel Tips for the Pragmatist (Part I)

Vacationing with family and friends can be a rewarding experience. Can be. Can be in the land of unicorns and fairies. For me, a group of 4 is the maximum sized travel group that I can endure. Over that and it's a recipe for a fiasco. Three is better and two is almost ideal. I am capable of striking out alone and enjoying myself, so one is no problem. Loners can see plenty and do not have to compromise their fun.

TM's Law: At any given time, you are only as fast as the slowest person in the group.

Speed, of course is the only criteria for a good outing, trip, or vacation. I do contend, however, that the more people you have on the trip, the less fun you will have. Trying to find Aunt Flossie so you can go to dinner, or not hitting the beach right away because Cousin Hank forgot his sun screen, will have a negative effect on your vacation enjoyment.

I have undergone much research on the matter and have mathematically derived what I call the Aggravation Index which is based on the total number of people that are traveling as a unit.

The formula is simple: A = n! That being, Aggravation index equals the number of people in a group, factorial.

  • one person carries an AI of 1.

  • two people and the AI doubles to a barely perceptible 2 (2 x 1)

  • With three, the AI jumps to n=3 or 6 (3 x 2 x 1)

  • Packs of fours punch the index all the way up to my limit of 24 (4 x 3 x 2 x 1)

  • Basketball team sized crews bump the AI to 120 (5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1)

  • Try roaming around with 6 people and aggravation index is red-lining for most at 720 (6 x 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1)

  • Skipping ahead, A 10-person herd will ratchet up the AI to a mind-boggling 10! or 3,628,800
As the potty breaks, moments of indecision, stragglers, and the inevitable arguments mount, the AI rises and the vacation itself is in jeopardy. More people equals more factors equals more permutations.

This formula does seems to exaggerate the negative impact of each additional member. Remember though, that factored in is the reality that you will not likely find everyone in your tribe to be of like mind on what to see or do. You may want to spend an hour photographing the elephants, but some other travel companion may want to watch the feces fight at the monkey house . Person C may not want to be at the zoo at all.

The math doesn't lie.

1 comment:

Call Me Cate said...

Amen to this entire post. Says me, on vacation with my parents, husband, brother + SIL, sister + BIL + small nephew. I'm not sure how to mathematically factor in the fact that sister is pregnant but I'm sure it applies somehow.