Plan a Stress-Free Group GetawayJul 16, 2019 09:00AM ● By WLMagazine
courtesy of Family Features
Getting organized for a grand adventure, especially if you'll be traveling with a group, requires some careful planning before you begin making reservations.
Narrow Down the Location
Vacation planning often begins with an idea more than a specific destination. For example, you may want to lay on the beach or visit the mountains. The first step should be figuring out exactly which beach or which mountain range captures your attention. Research your options online and look for information such as lodging, food and activities you may want to explore.
Set a Budget
Daydreaming about a luxury excursion may be appealing when it's all in theory, but your bank account may have a different opinion. Also remember that if you're traveling with a group, you're likely to encounter household finances different from your own, so you'll need to set a budget that works for everyone. Take a poll from your travel companions and figure out how much everyone is willing to spend. Get specific: Some people prefer to spend more money on accommodations while others prefer to reserve their dollars for dining adventures or once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Finding out where everyone prefers to spend their dollars will help in currating a trip that pleases everyone.
Determine How You'll Get There
The smaller your group, the more options you have for reaching your destination. As the group grows, you may have fewer alternatives, particularly if you want to travel together. For example, it can be difficult to get a large block of seats together on a commercial flight. Decide how important it is to be en route together and go from there.
Think about Where You'll Stay
If you are traveling with a group, hostels or a vacation rental can be great options. At a hostel, you can rent out an entire dorm for your group, and they often come with other bonuses: most are much more affordable than a traditional hotel, often have a bar or cafe within and allow you to book group activities or tours.Vacation rentals typically offer more space and privacy than hotel rooms and allow everyone to stay together. Many offer amenities like a backyard or pool, and guests can split the cost several ways. You can give others a chance to weigh in with a tool like Trip Boards, a feature on the Vrbo (Vacation Rental By Owner) website and mobile app that lets friends and family members collaborate during the decision-making process and find the perfect vacation home together. Alternativly, put together a Google sheet with links to the accommodation options and have everyone in your party rank them in order of most-preferred to least-preferred.
Discuss an Itinerary Ahead of Time
With multiple personalities and interests involved, it can be challenging to keep everyone on a set schedule. Some may prefer to sleep in and others may have specific ideas about what time meals should be. Even if you don't have a formal itinerary, it's a good idea to talk through the schedule ahead of time, so expectations are clear. Breaking off into smaller groups part of the time may work better than keeping the entire group on the same schedule throughout the trip. Create a schedule of activities in a spreadsheet and ensure everyone has access to it — that way there are no surprises and people can opt in or out of activities as
Look for Group Discounts
Though a larger group poses some challenges, there are also some perks that make bigger better. As you're planning activities and making reservations, be sure to inquire about specials and rates reserved for larger parties.