Text & Photos: Patricia May P. Catan
WE ALL have our different reasons and purposes for traveling. But what truly makes us excited for an upcoming trip or a much-needed getaway? You can simply say, everything. I understand the list goes an and on, but one thing we look forward to in future travels is the time we get to spend with family and friends away from home in a whole new city. It’s always exciting to explore and wander around an unfamiliar city in a different country with great company. Indeed, family and friends make visiting a foreign country feel like a bit of home. Not long ago, I got to visit Singapore for the first time with the presence of two of my sisters and their respective partners. It was such a pleasant vacation that I didn’t want to leave on our last day there then head straight back to reality. But the interesting part of this trip was when I realized I was actually fifth wheeling overseas. It was not at all bad as majority of you might think, but it was on this vacation that I learned how to seamlessly fifth wheel and enjoy the rest of our itinerary in Singapore. Yes, even when you’re the only one who has no partner in tow when traveling with family and friends, there are still ways on how you can make this journey a memorable one.
How to fifth wheel on vacation? You simply don’t. It’s easy. You just have to embrace the single life and have fun while you’re still free of obligations. Don’t whine about the situation, but instead, turn it to your advantage. There’s really no time to complain when you’re out of the country, so pretend like you’re not one lonely human being and just enjoy the moment.
Be each other’s photographer. Don’t be bitter and take cheesy couple shots of your sister and her partner or whoever, with a tourist spot as background. It’s expected for travelers to pose in attractions and post touristy shots when on an out of the country vacation. Take turns in taking photos and in that way, there’s a productive relationship among you travelers. It’s really just a give and take relationship if you ask me. That’s basically the gist of what this point is about.
You can allot a day for yourself. While the couples would want to spend a day or afternoon with each other alone, you can also arrange a different itinerary for yourself. Take this time to explore a certain city at your own pace and marvel at what it has to offer. Maybe you can do a little soul searching while you’re at it before you go back to fifth wheeling. The lone one is not always the lonely, sometimes all they want is more time for themselves and that’s exactly how I feel.
Five people in one table means there’s more food to share. The great thing about traveling in groups is that everyone gets to share each other’s food and even split the bill into five, which also means everyone gets to save money on meals. Awesome, isn’t it? This is probably an advantage for you, who’s only eating for one. Servings in most hawker centers in Singapore are good for sharing, so you don’t really have to pay for one meal.
You always have two options. You’re traveling with two couples, right? So, your choices are always open on who to go with. In my case, both my sisters almost always had different schedules and places to visit with their partner and I, who’s game with anything, chose where I wanted to tag along best. I’m honestly the luckiest sister to the point that I was spoiled during this trip. I don’t know if they felt sorry for me for being the single one or they knew I had zero dollars with me. But either way, we all enjoyed our first trip together and would definitely book another trip once we recover from the Singapore splurge.