Traveling with a large group of people can be incredible fun, but also incredibly challenging. I have been planning group trips for my friends and family for years, and here are 8 tips that can help you plan your next group trip so that you don’t kill each other.
8 Tips for Planning a Group Trip
1. Choose your travel companion(s) wisely
Only travel with people that you are incredibly close to, traveling has a tendency to put relationships into overdrive and it not a time to test out new friendships. Travel can be stressful and stressed people are more likely to clash. Also consider how each member of the group will fare on the particular trip you are going on – make sure that the group trip you go on matched the group that you go with
2. Set a clear budget
Money is the most common disagreement on group trips, and it sucks to spend any of your travel time arguing about it. Your group’s budget determines what type of trip you should go on and should be agreed upon before hand, especially when traveling with friends. In my opinion you should generally plan a trip according to the lowest budget in the group. This means that whoever has the lowest budget won’t be stressed out by spending too much, but whoever has the highest budget won’t be resentful of having to cover expenses for the rest of the group. Also consider that if the spread of budget throughout the group is really large, it might not be a good idea to travel together at all.
3. Keep track of your money, don’t sweat the pennies
Have a clear idea of how you are going to keep track of money while you travel. There are many different ways to do this, everyone could keep track of it individually, you could create a group money stash or just track expenses in a shared doc. However, there should be an understanding that its never going to be entirely even and a few dollars here or there should not affect the overall trip.
4. Identify your ‘must-sees’
When I organize group trips I like to get everyone to tell me there number 1 must see or do in the location. This way it can be worked into the itinerary and no one has to leave without seeing their must sees. If someone has a bucket list item that they don’t get to do they will likely end up resenting the group.
5. Be flexible
Shit happens. You have to adjust. I think it is important to set a mind sight that spending time together is the primary purpose of any group trip. If everyone keeps that in mind as the primary goal of the trip it is easier for everyone to relax a little and be more flexible.
6. Set areas of responsibility
There are ‘pre-trip’ responsibilities like planning and booking and there are ‘on trip’ responsibilities. In general I’d say ‘pre-trip’ responsibilities should be split pretty evenly, but I’m a big fan of dividing up ‘on trip’ responsibilities so everyone has one thing to keep on their mind. By this I mean things like holding the room key, getting directions or tracking expenses. This eliminates the possibility of confusion over simple stuff like who has the key, but also means that there is less stress on the trip ‘mom’ or ‘dad’.
7. Spend time apart
How much time you spend apart really depends on how long the group trip is, but in general, it is a good idea to get some distance every once in a while. Even if everyone gets along well spending some time apart or meeting other people while traveling diffuses tensions and is fun!
8. Keep it simple stupid
I think that this is the most important tip on this list. Travel can be hard, it can be stressful and it can be tiring. That is multiplied by every person you add to the group trip. Trying to organize 8 people to get on a bus or train to move cities every few days quickly gets old. I think the more people you add to the trip the simpler you want to keep the trip. Rent a cool villa, get a private transfer, stay in a place for longer. As I mentioned above the primary goal of a group trip should be to spend time together, the simpler a trip is the easier that is to do.
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