Whether you are jetting off on vacation with your extended family or your best girlfriends, trust me, you really need some tips for group travel. Traveling in a group has the potential for a really great vacation or to be a disaster. The more diverse a group is, the more potential for someone not having a great trip. You can’t tailor-make a trip to account for everyone’s preferences and you’ll plan to fail if you even attempt it, but there are tips for group travel where everyone gets a say and everyone stands a chance of satisfaction.
When you are travelling in a large group you may well find that you can’t all agree on where to go. Start by getting all of the travelers to write down a place they’d like to go, put the pieces of paper in a hat and draw out as many places as you think you could manage in your time frame and budget. The options may not always be feasible, and you may need to compromise, but it is a great way to chose fairly. Choosing a destination that everyone agrees on is the one of the most essential tips for group travel!
The person who volunteers to do ALL the organizing is a brave one! If anything goes wrong, there’s only one person to shoulder the burden but, a leader is needed. There must a clear plan of action and clear allocation of duties. It’s a wise thing to split responsibilities for organizing if it is feasible to do so. So for example, one person books the flights, another person the accommodation, another sorts out a sightseeing schedule etc… as long as everything is co-ordinated by the nominated leader! Remember too, the role of leader will continue throughout the trip.
Now, my BFF plans to the second even when we are just meeting for lunch and it drives me crazy, however creating a plan is one of the tips for group travel that you can’t ignore. The plan should include all the major items of the preparations for the trip including travel, accommodation, transfers, transport in your destination, visa requirements and any vaccinations. It should also include any events the group decides it wants to attend and major sightseeing trips where a tour might need to be organized.
Going on vacation in a group doesn’t mean that the whole group has to do everything together all of the time. There should be plenty of non-group time where anybody can do their own thing. Don’t have any set rules about all eating an evening meal together, for example – flexibility is one of the keys to success for group travel. If someone in the group doesn’t want to do a certain thing or go a certain place, they should be able to feel completely comfortable in saying so. But, don’t not organize anything. You’re traveling as a group because you want to, so there should be times when you should be a group.
The leader should share the plans and regularly update them. Having a blog or a Facebook group page is a good idea. Itineraries, flight numbers, and ideas can be posted. It’s a way of keeping everyone up to date without the organizer(s) having to answer questions from all directions and repeat the same info over and over.
Don’t leave a group trip to the last minute. You need to make sure that everyone has enough money saved by the time you want to book. If you book early you can also take advantage of cheaper travel and accommodation. You also need a contingency plan if anyone decides to drop out. Ensure you understand the terms of trip insurance for if you have to cancel and make sure everyone is committed to a financial plan if such events as drop outs happen. People still traveling don’t want to be saddled with extra costs of paying for someone not going, so there needs to be a very clear understanding of what happens in this situation.
Yes, I know it’s boring, but thinking about the financials is another of the tips for traveling in a group that should be heeded. Usually in any group, there is a broad range of earning spectrum and financial capacity. It is a good idea to plan for things at the lower end of the budget scale to make everything affordable. People travel in groups because they like to be with the people in the group, so it is important to remember that. Usually, it is the quality of the company and the fun to be had that makes a successful group vacation – not that you ate in fine restaurants or stayed in 5* hotel.
Going on vacation with a bunch of friends or an extended family can be a great experience. If you’re planning on doing so, I hope you’ll follow my tips for group travel. Have you ever been on vacation in a large group? Was it fun?