Vacation time is approaching and I guess we all have planned our perfect holiday adventure by now! Personally I’m a human lover and mix well with people of all ages and background. And because by now my friends know me as a travel lover – I am invited to join in more than one group – from my college pals to office friends, my chaddi buddies and even my home PG gang. So, anytime when I can manage a couple of days leaves and an upcoming calendar off – I take off and join any one of the groups to travel to a new destination. It’s pure nirvana for me!
I travel in every form – solo, with family, with my friends, and sometime join new groups. While I thoroughly enjoy every bit of it, Group holidays especially with friends have a separate charm! You spend some very good time with people you are most comfortable with, doing crazy stuff. Irrespective of the group size, as long as you have a synergy among the group members, group travel holidays can be extremely fun. A huge group with diverging interests has lesser chances to provide you with a great travel experience. So look for the right balance and maintain some guidelines when grouping up with pals to prevent any kind of discord within the group. Smaller group holidays are more enjoyable in terms of logistics, finance and team balance. Over the years, I have found out that the following guidelines, if adhered can make a group outing immensely satisfying and less stressful:
- Select a destination that every group member agrees on. It’s one of the main holiday travel tips that you need to keep in mind before joining a group outing.
- Choose your travel companions well. They are the ones you are going to spend all of your time with during the tour. A poor decision in this aspect can ruin an otherwise enjoyable trip instantly.
- Make sure you have a clear group travel planning and sharing of responsibilities before venturing out. If you are arranging your own tour, it will need a lot of careful planning like chalking out travel destination, hotels, transport, medical safety, visa (if applicable), event timings (if you are planning on attending a fair, festival or cultural event during the tour) and so on. By sharing the responsibilities amongst the group members, everyone participates in the planning phase, and it’s a lot easier to organize the tour with less hiccups.
- Choosing a group leader is important during a group outing. He/she can be anyone you all think is most responsible, mature and sober. It is important that you take this as an unanimous decision and not something one of you declare.
- One among the group members must take responsibility of managing the tour expense. It’s a lot easier to manage group travel expenses now with GO Expense Calculator that tracks every single expense made by the group and shows real time dues and expenses by each member. So no more hesitating to ask your friends to pay up.
Once the group responsibilities are shared, next comes deciding the group travel budget. Make a careful financial planning bearing in mind the kind of luxury that every group member is comfortable with, or cut down on cost that you all think you can avoid to bring the cost down. An open discussion in advance sets the expectation and avoids future conflict. Also creating group funds can be one of the key tips for affordable group vacations. Start off by each of you depositing a fixed amount for the group fund. When the amount is spent, pull in some more once again. Continue the process throughout the trip and distribute the extra amount equally at the end.
Keep an emergency plan for drop outs. Every member should be committed to a particular financial planning in order to handle a sudden drop out. So a clear understanding and a backup planning needs to be there in case of such contingencies.
Be flexible with activities. Travelling in a group does not mean that every member has to do, be at the same spot together all the time. If one member wants to explore a local cuisine that another is not interested in, it shouldn’t be any reason for fuss in a group. Avoid setting too many rules and overplanning. Don’t forget, you’re in a group because you wanted to. So this flexibility is very important in group vacation planning.
For foreign destination, every group member should be aware of the currency and exchange rate. Keep in mind the tipping information as well. There are countries where tip is not given and there are countries where people tip for almost everything. Also every member should carry cash as credit cards are not accepted in many countries.
Regularly update the members of the vacation plan so every member is one the same page. The easiest way out is to create a private outing on GroupOuting, that allows all members to view every change in plan or a new inclusion, instead of chatting up individually. It is an easy way to post the itineraries, adventure activities, ideas, flight/train timings, dates, changes, if any. In this way you can keep the entire group updated without repeating the same information time and again.
Look for group discounts. Large groups get considerable amount of discounts at many landmarks, attractions and sightseeing places.
Always keep your communication channel open. It’s one of the best group vacation tips that you need to remember. You’re with your best buddy or a new acquaintance, a clear channel of communication is of utmost importance in joining and conducting a group outing. When you are tired or hungry, voice out. When something is bothering you, let your traveling companions know about it. So the more open and communicative you are, better for you and the group.
Group trips are a great way to know your friends better, having lived with them like family. And its also a test of self – you will be amazed to see how good or bad you are with adjustments and being a team player, even leading a team.
Finally, keep your worries at bay!! Remember you are here to explore a place, not appearing for an exam! Enjoy the landscape, the people, its customs, local cuisine, tribal art – its fun! So chill and have a good time!