Are you planning a group vacation with friends or family? No matter the group, there’s sure to be a mixture of personalities and interests. Make sure that your vacation provides great memories for everyone by implementing some of these tips.
Booking Your Group Vacation
We recommend planning ahead to give everyone an opportunity to have a say. Designate one or two people to plan all of the transportation and lodging, narrow it down to a few options, then present them to the rest of the group. This will alleviate the stress of having an overwhelming amount of ideas and decisions to make. Give the group a couple of days to weigh in on the options and make decisions based on the majority rule.
Consider renting a house with enough rooms for every individual or couple in your group. This may be a more cost-effective option and provide a more group-focused environment. A small boutique hotel or bed and breakfast are also great ways to create a sense of togetherness while enjoying the amenities of a hotel. The key to lodging for a group vacation, in particular, is location. Groups move slower than an individual or couple traveling, so keep in mind that it’s going to take extra time to get to/from the airport and activities.
Also, there may be days when some of your group wants to go out, and others want to sit by the hotel pool. It’s often worth spending a little extra on lodging to be close to restaurants or a grocery store for this reason. Especially if you rent a vehicle and some of the group is left without it for the day.
Once you know your vacation destination, research what type of transportation is available. If your group will be taking public transportation, know what your options are. Consider designating one person in the group to be in charge of planning your daily routes and knowing the public transportation system well, including how much it costs and where to get tickets.
If you’re planning to rent a car within Europe, for example, and your group is larger than 6 people you may need to rent two vehicles. Remember that even vans differ in size in different parts of the world. Determine which person/s in your group will be driving and if your destination is outside your home country, each driver will need an international driver’s license.
How are you going to handle money during your trip and who is going to be in charge of the group budget? One of the easiest options is for each person to contribute a certain amount of money to a pre-paid credit card before you leave. Assign one person to be in charge of the card and use it to pay for ground transportation, group meals, day trips, activities, etc. This will save time from figuring out group bills, who has change, etc. during your vacation.
Have a communication plan in place for times when your group is separated. If your cell phones won’t get service at your destination, consider purchasing a couple pre-paid phones and sim cards once you arrive. And if you will have cell service, have important numbers written down someplace in case your phone goes out or is lost. The last thing you want on vacation is to have an emergency, but better to be safe than sorry.
Small Group Travel Tours
Find small group travel tours. This is a fun way to participate in an activity together. Whether there’s one leader of your group vacation or each person is taking turns planning activities, navigating, etc., it’s nice to have a day off to sit back and let someone else lead for a while. Small group travel tours are a great way to learn more about your destination, meet other travelers, and get to places you may not have otherwise.
Fun for the Introverts and Extraverts
Inevitably there will be introverts and extraverts on your group vacation. Be upfront and realistic about individual needs from the beginning. This will help each person have fun and keep their energy up. Implement a “free day” (or days) into your itinerary. On a free day, each person can experience the day however they want.
One way to help a group vacation meet each individual’s needs is to create a space prior to the trip for transparency. Ask each person in the group to share the following in a group email or in person: 1) What does the ultimate “free day” look like for you? 2) Name three must-see or do things that you want to happen on the vacation. This allows everyone to get an idea of the expectations of others and helps avoid discontent on the trip.
Group vacations can create memories to last a lifetime. Implementing some or all of these tips will only make the memories that much sweeter. Get a group together and head to one of your dream destinations!