Everyone loves getting away, seeing new places, and having adventures. Though it can be fun to travel alone or as a couple, group travel offers its own unique experience, as well as several advantages.
Group discounts and cost sharing translate to spending less on your trip, while still enjoying everything the destination has to offer. Not to mention, in many places travel is safer in a group — and you can’t beat the company.
As with any vacation, some prep is necessary to ensure minimal issues and maximum enjoyment. Read on for seven tips to streamline your next group travel experience.
#1 – Choose the Right People
The people you travel with can create a pleasant, adventurous experience — or thoroughly ruin your trip. Here’s how to determine the right travel companions:
- Choose people you share common interests with. It can be challenging to travel with people who don’t share the same interests. Individuality is fine (and inevitable), but you don’t want to spend the entire time arguing about what to do and where to go.
- Choose flexible, low-maintenance companions. Picky people and naysayers can ruin the best-planned excursion.
- Discuss budget, destination, and accommodations. Determine similarities and differences and resolve any issues before you go.
- If necessary, take a short overnight trip to determine compatibility. Doing so is especially important if you have any doubts about how well a person will fit into the group.
Sometimes your favorite friends are not good travel companions. If they are determined to be part of your group, be honest about your concerns. Once they know not only your expectations but also those of the group, they may be willing to adjust their behavior.
#2 – Define the Objectives of Your Trip
Make sure everyone agrees on the purpose of the trip: adventure, rest and relaxation, socializing, etc. Your budget, choice of accommodations, and itinerary are all directly influenced by your trip objective. Additionally, whether you need to have a set schedule or simply want to take it one day at a time is also influenced by the trip’s purpose.
If the group members wish to do so, divide the trip into two or more parts, each with a differing purpose. For example, an island adventure may include a few days of rest and relaxation, a day of exploring, and a day of snorkeling lessons.
#3 – Specify the “Must Dos”
Before you leave, get together with your travel companions to discuss the must-dos and must-sees for the trip. Make a list of activities that are important to the entire group, and schedule in advance (if needed). Map out your itinerary with the key group activities – a special dinner out, a trip to a local attraction, etc.
Don’t forget to include alternatives in case you encounter inclement weather or other plan-changing factors.
#4 – Set a Budget for Group Members
Disagreements about money and how to spend it can ruin any vacation. Make sure everyone you are traveling with has sufficient funds.
Decide if you are booking luxury accommodations or staying in a hostel. Also, make sure everyone has enough for food and incidentals. If you create a spreadsheet showing anticipated expenses by day and/or activity and share it with the group, not only will each individual be part of the planning but you can also reduce unexpected expenses.
Some groups find it beneficial to collect monies for shared expenses — reservations, entrance fees, etc. — before taking the trip, and purchasing tickets in advance to take advantage of group rates.
#5 – Plan for Unscheduled/Free Time
No matter how well your group gets along, you won’t want to be together every moment of the trip. To accommodate everyone’s unique desires, make sure there’s sufficient time for individuals or smaller groups to explore on their own.
Provide an activity schedule/calendar well ahead of departure to all group members so they can coordinate their individual plans.
#6 – Keep Everyone Comfortable
Make sure every group member has a passport (if necessary), any required medical shots, necessary clothing, and other essentials. You may wish to provide a checklist of recommended clothes and supplies.
Accommodations should provide a good night’s rest so everyone has the energy to participate in each day’s plans. Should group members begin to wear out, don’t hesitate to take a break or even nap if needed.
If group members get hungry or tired, disagreements and pettiness can be the result. Be sure to eat meals at reasonable times and have snacks on hand. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated; take bottled water along if necessary.
#7 – Communicate
To guarantee success for your group travel excursion, good communication is essential. The following tips will help you communicate plans and avoid problems.
- Talk often and honestly.
- Encourage group members to share any concerns they have before you depart.
- Appoint a “trip coordinator.” This person should inform all group members about expenses, places you are visiting, accommodations, etc.
- Consider creating a Facebook page for comments and plan confirmations. Post pictures of places you plan to visit, group members, and accommodations.
- Additionally, use the group Facebook page as a “shared diary” during your trip to record your adventures and show friends and family the highlights.
You may be traveling with a group for business or pleasure. Your group may consist of friends you have known forever, a collection of interesting acquaintances, or extended family members. Whatever the purpose of your trip or the composition of the group, these seven tips for group travel will help guarantee success.
Go make memories together!