“If you want to go fast go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”African Proverb
Group traveling is a type of trip everyone should take in their lifetime. It’s like a group project, except it’s way more fun and way less pressure. Traveling together takes a bit more planning than going solo, but having people to share the experience with is totally worth it. Your frugal friend has been on five group trips (Miami, Costa Rica, Vegas, Guadeloupe, and New Orleans) and all of them were EPIC in their own right. Here are my essential tips for keeping the peace and pace during your next group trip:
Tip #1: Don’t count people until they purchase their ticket.
Here’s the average group trip cycle…
Number of people invited: 15
Number of people that accept/say they’re going: 10
Number of people that ACTUALLY GO: 1-4
Ya girl has fallen for this a handful of times. Everyone says yes, we agree on pricing and accommodation. I’ll pay for the accommodation and have everyone pay me back. The closer it gets to the trip, people start dropping like flies and backing out. Those that actually go on the trip end up footing the bill. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on ME. So how do you solve this?
Your ticket equals your RSVP. That’s how you can weed out who’s serious and know how many to accommodate for. Give people a reasonable time frame to purchase their plane, train, or bus ticket and make a decision (two weeks is usually a pretty good indicator). Have everyone send a screenshot after they purchase their ticket. Now they’re invested and less likely to drop out.
Tip #2: Create a plan (then add a huge scoop of flexibility)
Failing to plan is planning to fail…unless you’re on a group trip. I usually don’t have a detailed schedule on trips because 9 times out of 10 it doesn’t work. Encourage everyone to select one activity that they want to do. From there you can map out a general direction for the day. Keep in mind that on your way to your destination, someone is going to see something that catches their eye (by someone, I mean me). If it’s on the way, feel free to stop. I love going with the flow and taking the scenic route. You usually stumble upon sites that you wouldn’t have seen. Alternatively, you can also stick to your plan for the day, then roam as you please once you get your pics for the ‘Gram 🙂
Tip #3: Communication is key
From day one, you have to communicate. You’re already communicating before you go on the trip. From agreeing on pricing, accommodation, and transportation. Group chat is the best way to stay connected. Everyone can share their ideas, itineraries, and get to know each other better. Be sure to communicate beyond the group chat, especially during the trip. I highly doubt anyone you’re traveling with is a mind reader, so speak up and share what you would like to do, and say what you prefer not to do. Honesty is the best policy and you can’t have honesty without communication.
Tip #4: Be patient
The more people you travel with, the longer things are going to take (getting dressed, eating out, walking through the airport). Be sure to give yourself ample time for everyone. You’re on vacation, so what’s the rush? Have fun, enjoy the memories you’re creating together.
Tip #5: Trust your gut
Speak up if you feel like something’s off. Discuss your feelings with the group and everyone can come to a conclusion together. My rule of thumb is that if someone feels uncomfortable then we’ll go somewhere else.
Tip #6: Allow the tribe to shine
Allow everyone to use their strengths. Some people are really good at reading maps, speaking another language, planning, etc. Others are comfortable talking to strangers, others are amazing at getting free things and amazing deals.
For instance, my sense of direction is HORRIBLE, but I’m not afraid to talk to strangers and ask for directions. I’m also really good at finding amazing deals on travel.
Tip #7: STAY TOGETHER, NO MATTER WHAT.
Remember, the buddy system is your friend. Travel in even numbers (if possible) that way no one feels left out and everyone has a buddy. You go together, you leave together. It’s just that simple.
What are some of your favorite travel tips that you follow? Please share them in the comments below!