I’ve been lucky enough to travel to some really fun places with a really fun groups of people quite a few times. I’ve been on several ski trips with family and friends, to Puerto Rico with my extended family (11 people in all), on road trips with a small amount of friends, and to Harry Potter World with another couple, among more.
Planning for group travel and knowing how to do so is imperative. There are so many things that can go wrong with a group – even more than solo or couple travel, seeing as there are many more people with their feelings/desires/needs to account for.
While I can’t handle group travel ALL the time (or even some of the time!), I do love traveling with people I care about every once in a while. These tips make it easier for me to travel with a group and still love each other at the end of the trip! 🙂
Helpful Tips for Traveling in a Group
Make a list of what you want to see/do.
Each person should make a list of things they want to see/do before the trip. Alternatively, you can talk about it in a group. Narrow down that list. Mostly likely, many of the same things will be on several people’s lists. Pick the common things for everyone to do based on the group’s desires and based on if people can afford it.
Plan for a ‘solo day’ or ‘date day’.
If you’re the only one that wanted to visit a particular museum, you can do it on ‘solo day’. It will be a good way to do something you might have wanted to, but knew it was too much money for others in the group, or vice versa. This will also be a great break from group travel to get some much needed time on your own. Alternatively, it can be a half day.
Make an itinerary together (or with most of the group).
After you’ve decided what to do together in a group and on solo day, write down an itinerary, keeping in mind how much time everything will take. When you’ve made the itinerary, make copies or e-mail (slash use cool iPhone app or whatever) to share the itinerary with everyone, ensuring that every last person in the group is literally on the same page throughout the whole trip.
Talk about plans for paying for things before you pay for anything.
Talk about how you will pay for things, like eating at a restaurant, while there so you don’t have any miscommunication when the trip comes. Should we rotate on who buys dinner? Or should we all split it equally, or ask for separate checks? If you’re making food and have to buy groceries, I would suggest splitting the bill equally. With things you need to plan in advance, like booking a catamaran trip, it’s easier for just one person to pay for everyone at one time to ensure that everyone gets a reservation. In that case, you may want to talk about who will reserve what, how much it will be, and when everyone will pay each other back.
Designate a navigator, time keeper, ticket holder, etc.
Designate a navigator, time keeper, and ticket holder. Things can get pretty hectic in a group. Utilizing the strengths of one person instead of relying on the whole group can save everyone a lot of drama and chaos. You might be having fun and laughing, but completely forget about your dinner reservations because of all this group fun. Who is the most punctual of the group? They get to wear the watch and make sure everyone is where they need to be at all times. Who NEVER loses things? They get to hold the tickets. Who has the best sense of direction? There’s your navigator. Think of other titles you might need to designate. The negotiator? Designated driver? French speaker?
Help each other out.
If you’re traveling with nieces or nephews or young cousins, offer to play with them on the beach for an hour or two, or offer to carry them on your shoulders when touring a city. If someone forgets their purse at the hotel, pay for their meal. If you help each other out and show how much you care about a person while on a trip that could get chaotic really quickly, then your relationship can probably last forever, and definitely until the end of this trip. 🙂
Document things that happen – with photos, videos, or even writing stuff down. You’ll be able to cherish those memories and laugh later about a particular misfortunate event, even if it wasn’t that funny while it was happening.
Take everyone into consideration.
Remember that you aren’t the only one on this trip with feelings. Everyone has their opinions, everyone has a different line that can be crossed, and everyone has a different point in time in which they can’t tolerate things as well as usual. Be as light and casual as possible, especially at the end of the day when everyone is tired. Even if you are slow to anger or slow to get offended, that doesn’t mean that others are the same.
Things change. All the time. Even more if there are several people involved, all with different feelings, desires, and things to deal with. Learn to roll with the punches and be thankful for the time that you’re on this trip, even if you have to go way off schedule for something.
Be the first to say ‘sorry’.
With more people comes more drama. Some arguments can’t be foreseen to stop them before they start. If an argument happens, try to deescalate the tension as quick as possible. Be the first to say ‘sorry’ so you both (or all) can move on as quickly as possible. And then buy them a drink or a pastry to ease the tension. 🙂
Be fun and don’t complain.
No one likes to be around a ‘Debbie Downer’, much less TRAVEL with them. If your feet hurt, take a minute to sit down (and wear better shoes tomorrow), but don’t make everyone else pay for it with your complaining. If your travel buddies want to see something that you don’t particularly want to and it wasn’t on the itinerary, don’t worry about it if it’s only 30 minutes out of your day and doesn’t make you late for something else.