How to Plan and Book Trips with Friends and Family

group activity

Welcome to the first major entry of our travel guides, which addresses a problem that we know every trip organizer can use some help with, making a trip with family and friends actually happen. Below we have outlined eight key points that will help you plan, book, and manage your next group trip. Trust us, that all of this can be done without the stress and frustration you’ve dealt with in the past. If you”re looking for something to automate and control all of this head over to GroupHop, where we have a solution that will help take the stress out of group travel. Now onto the guide:

Step 1: Have an Idea

You need to have an idea of where, and when, you want to go on your trip. If you’re trying to put a trip together with friends or family, and you want to get everyone’s input on where to go, and what dates are best for them… trust us… the trip isn’t going to happen. Democracy is great when it works. But if you’re organizing this thing, you’re the boss! To make everything easier, and to save your sanity, have a couple locations in mind. Then set a date range, that way everyone can tell you straight away, YES or NO!

Step 2: If You Know What Your Group Looks Like You’ve Got a Leg Up!

Before you’re going anywhere you need your group to comitt

Group travel is complicated, not just because people could be arriving from different locations, or be on different schedules. But because when you’re dealing with a bunch of friends, and/or family members, things are going to change. Sarah has decided to fly in from Vancouver, and not Abbotsford. Mike and Paul aren’t replying to your emails. And Jenn has decided to bring her kids on the trip as well. Group travel is messy, but make sure you understand exactly what your group looks like, before trying to find a hotel, flights, or activities. This way, you’ll be able to find better deals, and book everything before prices change!

Step 3: Flights… The Really Difficult Part

Air is by far the most difficult part of group travel. If you want to travel with a large group, all together, on the same flight, you’re going to need to call airlines. After spending half an hour on the phone you’ll end up paying exactly the price you find online, or 10-15% more because you want everyone to travel together. Almost every airline finds it easier to sell 1-4 seats than to sell, organize, and ticket 20 at once. Now if everyone is leaving from the same location, then as the organizer, the easiest thing is head over to GroupHop. You”ll be able to find flights for everyone, lock-in the prices, so everyone can confirm, and seamlessly split the cost of your trip.

Alternatively, if people are arriving from different locations, then it’s time for them to find their own flight that will work best for them. We have a few awesome features coming soon to GroupHop that will also make this kind of a trip easier. If you choose to do things this way, everyone in your group will be able to save the 10-15% premium associated with group airfare. Plus, their departure time will be able to fit their schedule more easily. You’re all staying at the same location anyway, so don’t sweat it if you aren’t getting there together.

Step 4: Staying Together is Key!

tropical resort
Tropical destinations are an excellent choice for groups!

One of the best elements of group travel is getting to share your experience with everyone. If you’re all staying in the same location, whether that is a hotel or rental property, it will be that much easier to create some amazing experiences for everyone in your group. So, you’ve followed our guide this far, and you’ve set a date, have found your group”s flights, and you know exactly what your group looks like.

Well it’s time to find a place for everyone to stay. Pick a couple options, that are close to key activities, or locations you want to hit on your trip (everything from museums, to the best beaches). Offer them to your group, let everyone provide their feedback. THEN PICK ONE, you’re the boss after all! This is one of those sticky points where everyone will have an opinion, and the trip can quickly get derailed. So here, make sure your options are similar, that way no one will be up-in-arms when you finalize where everyone is staying.

Well it’s time to find a place for everyone to stay. Pick a couple options, that are close to key activities, or locations you want to hit on your trip (everything from museums, to the best beaches). Offer them to your group, let everyone provide their feedback. THEN PICK ONE, you’re the boss after all! This is one of those sticky points where everyone will have an opinion, and the trip can quickly get derailed. So here, make sure your options are similar, that way no one will be up-in-arms when you finalize where everyone is staying.

Step 5: Getting Around!

When it comes to getting around once you’re there, rental cars are one of the easiest and most convenient options. Some people will want, and need, them, and others won’t. So this is definitely a component best left to your group members to select themselves, much like their airfare. And if your group is looking to save a few bucks, encourage everyone to share their car with another party in your group.

Now the one important consideration here is what kind of activities you’re looking to do. If your hotel offers everything you’re looking for then definitely share rental cars, your group will be saving tons of money by doing so. But if you’re looking to take in the sights, or go on independent excursions, you’ll want these parties in your group to opt for their own car. That way neither the renter nor anyone sharing with them, is committed to another person’s schedule or interests. We”ve seen the frustration that this can cause, and if it escalates, arguments during the trip. So if someone wants to be independent, make sure they are set up to do so.

Step 6: Doing Stuff!

group activity
Group activities always make trips unforgettable!

You’re all staying together at the same location, or at least very close by. Now you’re wanting to take advantage of some of the awesome things there are to do in the place you’re visiting. You have two options. First, let everyone plan their own excursions, activities and experiences, and you’ll see each other in and around the hotel over the course of the trip. This works really well if your group is diverse in interests and in age. The second method is group activities. These can create some unforgettable experiences during your trip and we strongly recommend trying to set up at least one! We do have a few recommendations on how to do so.

MAKE SURE YOU BOOK AHEAD! Do not, under any circumstance, leave booking activities until you arrive. You’ll be hugely disappointed that the excursion you wanted to do to Chichén Itzá only has room for 6 more people, but your group has 12. Book ahead, ideally talk with someone at the tour company. As unlike other travel services, tours and excursions will almost always give groups a discount!

Step 7: Keeping Everything Moving, and The Madness in Check

Ok everything is scheduled, the hotel is booked, and everyone has found their flights. Now as the organizer, you want to make sure everyone knows what’s going on. Having once place that everyone can see a summary of the trip, the schedule, and what everyone else’s plans are is extremely helpful. Additionally, share updates for key group activities, but make sure you don’t bombard everyone with what your plans are for every waking second of your trip. Hit only the key points, check-in meetings, dinner times, excursion departures, etc.. Some members of your group will often opt-out of certain activities for some additional rest and relaxation, or for another excursion. Don’t worry about it, but it’s a good idea for the group to know, as some impromptu activities, like beach soccer before sunset, create the best memories of the trip!

Hit only the key points, check-in meetings, dinner times, excursion departures, etc.. Some members of your group will often opt-out of certain activities for some additional rest and relaxation, or for another excursion. Don’t worry about it, but it’s a good idea for the group to know, as some impromptu activities, like beach soccer before sunset, create the best memories of the trip!

Step 8: Back Home, and Beyond

You did it, your group was able to go on a fantastic trip together, and hopefully by following this guide you were able to save a bunch of time, and preserve your sanity. Now it’s time to share everything, publish photos, talk about your favourite experiences, and most importantly where to go next! There you have it! Our eight-part, foolproof guide to group travel. We hope that by reading our guide you’ll feel more confident organizing your next group trip.

Hopefully our methods and recommendations will help make sure everyone has a great experience… and the trip actually happens. If you”re looking for a solution to make the planning, booking, and management of your next trip as easy as possible, sign up for GroupHop here. It’s free to use, and will help preserve your sanity. Until the next, we hope you continue to make these unforgettable memories, and let us help make your next group trip stress free!

Love,

GroupHop

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