How to Make Planning for a Group Holiday Less of a Chore and More Fun!
Group holidays are always a good idea at inception. What could be better than exploring the world together with your closest friends whilst the kids grow up with these fond memories? In most cases, they only ever remain as good ideas once the planning process starts and a commitment is required. At Family Globetrotters, we have become very adept at planning group holidays with our circle of friends but for every 10 hair brain ideas we come up with, only about 2 will actually come to fruition. The important thing to note is to never give up and continue to explore possible trips together as the ones that did end up getting off the ground, have been wonderful experiences and the children will forever remember these holidays. Here are some tips of how to plan group travel and making it work:
GROUP HOLIDAY PLANNING TIP #1
Pick the Right Friends. The dynamics of the group is very important for a successful group holiday. It would be ideal to travel with like-minded people in terms of interests, budgets and personalities but if that’s not possible, you should at least be good enough friends that you can either compromise or be respectful of each other’s idiosyncrasies. That way you’ll know what to expect when faced with an unexpected scenario or be prepared to do something you may not enjoy purely because you respect your friends enough to go with the flow. This of course also applies to the children. It would be most helpful if they’re able to get along and provide each other good company during the holiday.
GROUP HOLIDAY PLANNING TIP #2
Set Boundaries. It is advisable to set tangible guidelines to assist with the planning process. This should include important points such as possible travel dates, must do destinations, budgets, kid friendly activities and accommodation type. This will help to narrow the research process and also ensures that everyone involved are on the same page.
GROUP HOLIDAY PLANNING TIP #3
Assign Duties. It is always easier to have one organiser but it’s a big job so we recommend splitting up the tasks so that everyone is equally responsible for planning the trip. Someone can be in charge of the flights, another person can research lodging options, so on and so forth.
GROUP HOLIDAY PLANNING TIP #4
Meetings. Have regular get togethers to bring to the table where everyone is at with their tasks. FaceTime and Skype certainly come in handy when planning a holiday with friends who live in different cities or countries. It would be very useful if decisions can be made at the meeting to reduce the action list. During the meetings, any potential curveballs should be discussed, clarifications should be sought and defined and most importantly, have loads of fun!
GROUP HOLIDAY PLANNING TIP #5
Group Chats. Set up a group chat with at least one of the decision makers within each family. This way any adhoc requirements or actions that need to be taken immediately can be easily communicated. We were once planning for an interstate trip for 8 families of which we were in charge of monitoring suitable sale fares. Once the stars all aligned in terms of dates with cheap fares, we sent out a message on the group chat for everyone to get online and book straightaway. In less than an hour, 16 adults and 18 toddlers had booked to go on the same flight and we were bound for a beach holiday of a lifetime!
GROUP HOLIDAY PLANNING TIP #6
Facebook Groups. We love Facebook Groups! This is the best portal to use when planning a group trip and we have started countless groups over the years. It is the one tool we could use where everyone was already on it and were familiar with how to use it. This is by far the best option instead of getting everyone to sign up for some random planning app that everyone could access simultaneously. This is why we love it:
- Notes. You can upload lengthy notes if you need to. We love this feature as it means that it doesn’t get lost in the feed and is always in the same spot for everyone to refer to. We are often the planners for our group holidays and we use the notes section to write up our conditions of taking up this momentous task!
- Posts. Posts are the best way to know if everyone in the group has read something important by way of replying in comments. It will also always be there in the feed should you need to refer back to it.
- Photo Albums. We use photo albums for our research. Everyone is to upload photos of things they wish to do and see by creating categories. For example, create an album for restaurants, museums, kid’s activities, cultural pursuits, sporting attractions etc….. This way, everyone is able to see exactly what everyone’s wish list would be.
- Voting. Closer to the date, everyone is to vote on each photo in your own pre-determined scale. For example it could be a must do, not fussed but happy to check it out and not interested at all. From then on, one person should collate these votes and you’ll be surprised how easy it is from then on to create the itinerary.
GROUP HOLIDAY PLANNING TIP #7
Itinerary. Creating the itinerary is a crucial part of the planning process. Select someone within your group who is organised and fairly methodical to put this together. In order to create the ideal itinerary, one should do the following:
- Timing. Ensure that you are realistic about the timing by factoring travel time from A to B, not underestimating the amount of time required to fulfil an activity or enjoy an attraction and also remember that it always takes a little longer to complete something when travelling in a group.
- Free Time. Allocate some free time for families to either pursue interests that they may not share with anyone else or just time to relax and be on their own.
- Buy in. Get everyone to commit and agree to your proposed itinerary. It is also important to know that it will continue to be amended over and over again so patience is a virtue this person must have.
GROUP HOLIDAY PLANNING TIP #8
Commitment. Just before departure, have one last meeting that includes all the children, if they are old enough to understand. Tell them the plan for the holiday so they are prepared for what’s to come including some of the less attractive parts of the holiday such as the 27 flight or how cold it was going to be etc. As adults, the group should unanimously lay out the expectations they have of all the children in terms of being well behaved, respectful of other cultures, being grateful for being part of a group adventure and also taking care of each other. We have found that the kids tended to take this on board more seriously when confronted by all the adults as opposed to a one on one conversation that translates to just mum and dad nagging and lecturing.
Over the years and after countless holidays with other families, we can’t encourage everyone enough to do this on a regular basis. As children, we grew up embarking on holidays with other families too and they are still etched in our memories!
Do you have any other holiday planning tips to add to the list? Tell us in the comments below!
We hope you found this family travel tip useful. Please share!