There’s a lot of information out there about solo travel (including how great it is) but I have to admit, given half the chance, I’d much rather travel with friends.
This is not a judgement about solo travel (in fact it has very little do with it as I’ve done solo travel quite a bit in the past) – I just like having friends with me on holidays. 🙂
There’s something about shared travel experiences that just helps bring you closer and there’s also all the amazing stories you get to get to tell later on. You also have someone to count on if you need any help on holidays and someone to egg you on to get up early and do as much as possible when you travel (unless of course if you’re ‘that someone‘ in your friends group, in which case, let me thank you for getting us out of bed early enough to see the sunrise and making us stay out until we’ve made firm friends with the locals wherever we are 🙂 ).
This being said, the logistics of planning a group holiday can go to pot quite a bit – not least because having everyone involved can be very much a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth. Then there’s the whole aspect of trying to coordinate everyone which can be like herding cats.
After planning many-a-group holiday (and with one coming up very soon), I figured it made sense to share some easy travel hacks to help you when planning a holiday with your friends.
1.) Before you even get started with contacting everyone, try to narrow down your holiday choices. These are your friends so you probably already know what kind of holiday everyone wants (broadly speaking) though to be honest, you all can probably have as much fun in an industrial estate in Slough, as long as you are all together (and if there’s enough wine – must never forget the wine).
The choice of course must be down to actual practical and justifiable reasons e.g. cheap/affordable flights, a destination you’ve all wanted to visit, a brilliant deal on hotels…etc). If there’s reason behind why you’ve chosen the destination(s), its easy and sensible for everyone to get on board (and to narrow down the choices if you come up with more than one destination).
2.) For any choices you have to make, create a poll/voting system and ask people to cast their choices. The highest option wins. This throws all emotions out of the window and makes the whole thing as straight forward as possible as. This works only if you’re going on holidays with proper friends of course – people you can be honest with and have fun with (not acquaintances).
3.) Renting a shared property ends up being so much cheaper than booking individual hotel rooms though if you really want to go for the hotel option, it is worth contacting the hotel in advance to see if there’s any discount/special promotions for making a bulk booking. You’d be surprised at how much you can save doing it this way (it can help reduce costs quite a bit in a way that everyone wins).
4.) If you rent a share place, again – don’t let emotions decide who gets the ‘best/worst’ room (unless of course if someone needs – not ‘wants’ – a specific room for specific health/physical reasons). Do it in a straightforward luck-based way (e.g. flip a coin or assign room numbers and make people randomly select a number from a bowl). The problem with having people decide based on emotions is that it can start up an unnecessary long-winded conversation that’s just best avoided.
5.) Let everyone have a role. Someone sorts out flights, someone sorts out hotels, someone sorts out that vineyard trip, someone sort out the joint finances…etc. This way, everyone feels like they’ve contributed and no one is left feeling over-worked or stressed out.
6.) Create a joint-pool of money and have everyone contribute the same amount towards it. This helps keep things clean and easy for joint expenses (e.g. tax on your villa or food & drinks shopping budgets). If there’s any leftover, its so much easier to split the remainder back amongst the same people.
7.) This is less of a hack and more of general advice – be considerate to everyone in your group. Some people are just more laid back than others and just because they don’t complain or say anything doesn’t mean they don’t need to be consulted. Make sure everyone is happy/content/aware of everything that’s planned at every stage and this saves everyone any upset feelings or unexpected surprises later in the game.
Final Point: Most of the points above boil down to one simple thing – Don’t let unnecessary arguments brew out of unnecessary conversations. Everyone should have a say in planning and contribute towards it but its kinda like the way you might find yourself when you’re staring at hundreds of movies on Netflix – you suddenly find yourself absolutely confused about what to watch! Too much choice can actually be one of the biggest hassles in planning a brilliant group holiday so nip that in the bud early on…. oh, and make sure you do your bit to help everyone have the best holiday every! 🙂