Group trips can be great fun, but they take loads of planning. Here’s how to do group trip planning the right way.19 November 2010
Going on a vacation with a group of friends or family members can be exciting, but making the trip safe and enjoyable for everybody can be a challenge. Unlike an ordinary vacation, a group vacation has to be organized to suit the preferences and needs of every individual in the group. Good planning is the key to a successful group trip, and travelers have to do the necessary research and preparations before they set off on their vacations.
Planning a group trip can be a daunting task, and it is best that several members of the group volunteer to take care of certain aspects of the planning. The first thing to do is to determine how much money every member of the group can spend for the trip. After that, find out when everybody will be free to go on the vacation, and where he or she wishes to visit including sites. Select a time and travel destination that is acceptable to everybody. It is important to consider every group member’s travel needs. For instance, it is not a good idea to go to certain areas that cannot accommodate a person(s) with mobility problems.
When making reservations for the trip, the planner has to be aware that some travel agencies offer discounts for group bookings. Compare offers from a few agencies or airlines, and find out which deal gives the best value for money. If the group is traveling to an overseas destination, it is best to get a photocopy of everyone’s passport, so their personal information will be entered correctly when booking airline tickets. Entering the wrong name or passport number can prevent someone in the group from traveling. The planner should find out about every member’s preferences for accommodations. Ask them if they prefer single rooms or family rooms, and rooms on the ground floor or rooms on a higher floor. It is also a good idea to purchase a travel insurance policy for the group, because it will give them financial protection throughout the trip. Many travel insurance companies offer special policies for group travelers at discounted prices.
After making the appropriate flight and accommodation reservations, the planner can start to collect money from the group members. Make sure a deadline is set for payment. If certain members of the group fail to pay on time, it is best to cancel their reservations or find other people to replace them. Try not to extend deadlines, because it can be difficult to find replacements if the members who owe payment decide not to go on the vacation in the last minute. To keep everything in order, receipts and booking confirmations should be given to all group members who have paid.
The next thing to do is to plan activities and excursions for the group. Find out what kinds of sites of interest or activities each group member is interested in, and choose attractions that will meet everyone’s preferences. It may not be possible to please everyone in the group, but try to select attractions that are of interest to people of all ages. For example, it is not a good idea to choose strenuous outdoor activities if there are infants or elderly people in the group. Places such as museums and historic sites usually offer discounted rates for groups so be sure to take advantage of any discounts offered. It is also important to find out if there is transportation that can accommodate a large number of people in the travel destination. It is advisable that group travelers charter a van or bus to bring them to the attractions they wish to visit.
Create a travel itinerary and send it to all group members at least a week before the trip. The itinerary should include information such as: the departure time, flight numbers, meeting times and places, name of accommodation, daily activities during the trip, time of return, meals, and others. Additionally, present a list of essential things to bring to every member. The planner should also provide their contact details, so that members can call him or her if they encounter emergencies that prevent them from showing up on time. Frequent communication with group members will ensure that things will go smoothly throughout the vacation.
Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and is a licensed agent for travel insurance (MA 1883287). He believes travel insurance should be easier to understand, and started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.