Traveling is one of the best ways to have an inspired and cultured experience. Traveling with friends and seeing other parts of the world makes the experience more enjoyable and enriching. Even when traveling as part of a work experience, group travel can be preferred to traveling alone. There are a number of benefits to traveling as a group; from better rates to making and sharing unforgettable memories with new friends. That’s not to say there aren’t some potential downsides. Compromises, different personalities and managing expectations can easily ruin the trip without proper planning. When traveling as a group, planning in advance, will also save on delays, frustrations and leave more time for fun.
Here are 5 tips to traveling with a group
1. Book Flights First
Before you start planning what you’ll do for your trip, it’s important to solidify when your travel plans begin and end. After all, you can’t really book tours or make an itinerary without knowing exact dates and times. Check pricing and availability of flights to provide a budget and framework for the group to consider. Some people will want to make their own arrangements while others will be happy to leave the details to the organizer.
In addition to booking flights, organizing a carpool or hiring a van service to travel to the airport will help ensure your group gets their travel plans started in the best way.
2. Book accommodation with enough amenities
When making hotel reservations, see if there is a block of rooms all on the same floor. One of the best benefits of traveling as a group is the discounted hotel group rate. Make sure there is a public area for people to wait and meet. If there is a hotel bar or sitting area, it easier for people to find others at the start or end of the day. If you are staying in a house or booking through Airbnb, make sure there is enough bathrooms. Unless you want a waiting list for using the toilet, there should be at least one bathroom for every 4-5 people. Also, make sure the kitchen is big enough
One of the biggest expenses of traveling occurs when scheduling how to fill the days. Travelers will have to be prepared for unexpected expenses to fully enjoy their trip. Create an agenda with must-attend events, as well as optional activities and their possible costs. This allows the group to plan their daily budget.
3. Create a group agenda with easy sign-up for events
Create a group agenda, with the mandatory events highlit. If there are some events which only a few people must attend, clearly identify who must be there. Pencil in events where you need a group decision, or a final count. Add any deadlines for people signing up for the event.
A group will normally be composed of people with a variety of interest. Therefore, it is quite common to have different interests and activities on the to-do lists. To keep everyone happy, some days plan to split up. Ask ahead of time if there are activities that people would like to do, and then tried to plan the activities so that everyone could do everything they have in mind.
Splitting up for some time can be a good thing. Here’s why:
- A smaller group can organize itself better and get around easier.
- You won’t grow tired of each other too soon.
- You’ll be able to share your experiences and find out about other cool stuff to be done in your destination.
Create an easy to use itinerary. It should be easy to find access to the itinerary on the road. Travelers can sign-up to attend events or meals and find group activities to partake in. When deciding things as a group, scheduling adjustments will happen. Keeping accurate and accessible data will curb frictions and eliminate the “I didn’t know” arguments.
4. Book restaurants & bars ahead
Not all places will have enough free tables for groups larger than 6 people – especially if you travel to a tourist or tradeshow location in high season. On the group’s agenda, pencil in the type of restaurant, or a specific restaurant name, and ask people to confirm in advance if they will join. Contact the restaurant ahead of time to let them know a large group is coming and if possible reserve a table or private room. This way you’ll also avoid tiring discussions when choosing a restaurant – in a big group, there are usually many different opinions. In any case – always remember Tip No 3. If some people are vegetarians while others dream about a dinner in a steak restaurant, splitting up is a good solution to keep everyone happy.
5. Find a Good Leader
Management of a large group of people requires having a leader whose voice is heard, who’s fair and who others can turn to for help and questions.
Choose a leader for your large group that everyone agrees on to be the point person. This person should play a central role in planning and budgeting the trip and ensure everyone feels confident about the enjoyment to be had.
Traveling as a group involves a lot of decisions. Transportation and parking should not be one of them. When traveling as a group, car services can be very affordable, and your local airport car service can provide recommendations for who to use for getting around at your destination as well.