“See you in Budapest!”
That’s what we told my brother-in-law and his wife last week before we flew to meet-up with them in Hungary. Although they live in Edmonton, Canada, this year they embarked on a two-week multi-city trip through central Europe. Instead of suggesting they add a detour to Germany (where we live), we asked to join them on holiday. With their blessing we booked flights and hotels, destination: Budapest.
What a Buda-ful place
We’d previously visited Hungary’s capital city back in 2013 and always planned to return for a second time. But with my brother-in-law already en route, it was the perfect opportunity to visit him and go back.
Budapest continues to be vibrant, colourful and a popular tourist destination. There’s no shortage of sites to see, neighbourhoods to visit or thermal baths to try (Gellert is amazing). The people are lovely, the food is delicious and the nightlife is unforgettable.
It was exactly as I remembered it to be, but also so much more. And for once, we were able to share these memories with two close family members.
But what made the trip particularly enjoyable was the simple fact that we were all on holiday. No one had to work, go to language lessons or attend university classes, etc.
None of us spoke the local language or knew enough about the city to act as an expert. In essence, we were all official tourists exploring an unfamiliar city in an equal capacity. And instead of relying on one person to make a plan, we worked together. Everything felt collaborative, new and exciting.
Sharing trip planning responsibilities
I’ve written before about the unique challenges that expats sometimes face when people visit their expat home. Often, your guests will treat you like an unofficial tour guide and rely on your planning and organizing skills. But when you rendezvous in a foreign destination, it’s an easy way to share trip planning responsibilities.
We’re lucky that my brother-in-law and his wife were so enthusiastic about meeting-up. And that they were flexible and open to hearing our thoughts on how to make the most of the trip. They’d ask us questions about the city but didn’t rely on our previous experience or limited local knowledge. Thankfully, they’d also put in the time to research Budapest which lowered my stress considerably. And this relaxed environment allowed me to focus more on making memories together instead of feeling totally responsible.
So, the next time someone tells you they’re planning a trip to your expat city, suggest meeting-up somewhere new instead.