1. Have a leader (or two)
In an ideal world, you could organize a group trip as, well, a group. But realistically, it’s best to appoint a group leader or two, even just to be the go-to person who knows how the planning is progressing and what needs to be done next. If having one person as a leader seems a bit much, you could also have different people in charge of different aspects of the group trip. For example, one person for accommodation, one for researching activities and things to do, etc. You can still discuss and agree on the final choices as a group, but it will mean that the work isn’t all done by one person and that everything does actually get organized! Play to the strengths of your group members. If there’s someone who loves planning then let them lead the way (but support them if they ask for help of course!) and if you’re all indecisive, appoint a decision maker or have a method for making decisions. It’s easier to sort all of this right at the beginning and not waste your time on vacation trying to figure out how to do things!
2. Agree on a budget
One of the stickiest points of group trip planning is often the budget because people can have very different ideas about how much money they like to spend when they’re traveling. As a group, you should agree on a budget for your trip and then adhere to it. A maximum budget for trip necessities like accommodation will mean there are no surprises for anyone when it comes to paying for the group trip! Of course, some experiences can be optional so group members can decide whether or not they want to participate, but make sure that’s clear too. Think about having a shared pot of money while you’re traveling as a group, especially if you’re staying in accommodation where you can buy your own food and drinks and cook together. It’ll be easier than constantly working out how to split bills on the road.
3. Book flights or travel first
The price of flights or ground transport can drastically increase the closer the trip date gets, plus spaces can fill up leaving no room for a big group. When you’re planning a group trip make sure you book your travel early to get the best deals and make sure you have enough space for the whole group. Check if there is a group rate that you can take advantage of if you’re traveling by train or road transport. Work out details like how you’ll get from the airport to your accommodation, and how you’re going to get around. Is it worth hiring a vehicle? If so, you might need to get in early since minivans and larger vehicles tend to book out quickly.
4. Consider alternative accommodation
Choosing where to stay when you’re planning a group trip is a big decision and can make a huge difference to your travel experience. There’s more to accommodation than hotels, and in fact, they’re not necessarily the best option for a group, unless you’re after an all-inclusive resort experience. Staying in an apartment or house as a group gives you the chance to cook group meals and hang out together without cramming into one small hotel room! You can also stay in some amazing houses, and at more affordable prices than hotels.
5. Have a place to organize plans and take payments
Having a central place where all group trip members can access the group trip plan is key to keeping everyone informed. A group travel planner will help to keep everyone on the same page with what’s happening when and what they need to do. Even better, use a payment system to accept payments and pay who you need to, and cut out all that trouble of working out who owes who what. Encourage everyone to be on board with the itinerary and group travel plan. Communication is the key to great group trip planning.
6. Pre-plan some activities
Take a look at the top things to do in your chosen destination and consider pre-planning some activities, especially if you’re a large group. If there are any tours you want to do you may be able to get a group discount. Sometimes you absolutely have to book in advance if you have more than a certain number of people, and it would be a shame to miss out on something the group really wants to do because it wasn’t booked soon enough! Don’t be too ambitious and overzealous with planning every second or day though, sometimes the best things happen by chance and you don’t need to add stress to your vacation!
7. Split up
Just because you’re traveling as a group doesn’t mean you need to be glued together all the time. Everyone will have different ideas of must-see things or must-do activities. If you can’t reach a consensus then split up according to whatever everyone wants to do. One group might want to spend the day at the beach while the other goes to a museum. And don’t be afraid to go off on your own during a group trip, if there’s something you really want to do and no one else does. It’s your vacation too so go home with no regrets!