Traveling with a large group can prove challenging, particularly when it comes to logistics, determining costs, and making sure everyone’s needs are met. With a recent large group trip to Spain under my belt, here are my top tips for a smooth and fulfilling experience pre-departure and during a group trip.
Determine a budget
When it comes to travel, cost is going to be the biggest point of discussion (besides where to go) for most people. It’s important to be honest with others of what you’re willing to spend, and also work with others to craft a trip that will fit within the group’s financial constraints.
Determine an organizer and points of contact
When planning a group trip, having one (or a few) central organizers is easier than each person booking their own travel. You can often save in costs by booking as a group as well. One person focused on our accommodation, while another focused on logistics of getting around, and another booked the group’s flights. These people were also the points of contact when on the ground for coordinating the group in each of these aspects.
Agree on pace of travel
What pace of travel the group is looking for is something to consider. Ahead of our group trip, we determined that there were some folks who were happy to lay around and relax, while others wanted to get out and do activities each day. By discussing this ahead of time, it gave everyone a fair perception of what to expect, and also allowed those who wanted to do certain activities to know who may want to join them.
Find an ally
Group trips are sometimes a bit emotionally tiring for someone like myself who is outgoing but also really needs time alone to re-energize. I felt that confiding in someone (my boyfriend in this case) about how I needed some alone time to be able handle being with a group for a full week was helpful in feeling less anxious in the lead up to the trip.
Download a cost sharing app
Before our trip, everyone in our group downloaded an app called Splitwise (there’s also a desktop version) that allows you to enter costs incurred on the trip and then split the cost amongst those who owe money. The app will then allow you to settle with people via cash or through PayPal. We then tallied up costs owed to others at the end of the trip and paid them. Another option to use could be Venmo.
Discuss and organize group activities
Before our trip, people who were interested in various activities would research what was available at our destination and suggest it to others. This made it easier to gauge who was interested in what, and tentatively decide what day to do each activity on.
During the trip
Break into small groups for activities
While there’s usually an inclination to include the whole group in activities while traveling, not everyone may have the same interests. Rather, we found it was helpful to create sign up sheets each night of what we wanted to do the next day, and then that was a way for people who were interested to commit ahead of time.
Take time to yourself
This may not apply to all, but it was useful for me to allow myself a bit of down time alone each day as a break from the group. This often came in the form of sitting in my room quietly for a bit, or going for a walk.
Do things all together
Obviously traveling with a group means that you do want to spend some time together. Although we did different things during the day, our whole group got together each night for dinner, games, and drinks in the evening. This allowed for the togetherness that we wanted when embarking on the trip.
Split efforts for trip planning
Since we were a large group, various people helped coordinate different aspects of the trip. We had a few people who would cook dinner, others who would help clean, others who would coordinate games and drinks for night time, and my role was to research and lead activities that we did. This breakdown in trip planning was satisfactory as it played to everyone’s strengths and interests.
At the end of the day the goal of a group trip is to have fun and relax. Even though traveling with a group requires more coordination and input than solo or couples travel, it can be very fulfilling to be able to spend time with so many people. Travel away!
Noelle is a frequent traveler and sometimes blogger. You can find her former blog at noelleacrossthepond.com. These days she focuses her time on planning for her next adventure!