How to Travel with a Group (and Still Be Friends Afterwards)
December 6, 2023/
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I’ve been fortunate enough to often travel with groups of friends, many of whom I have known since our university days or even before. Over time, we have become familiar with each other’s quirks and habits, and we have learned how to handle breakdowns or prevent them altogether.
But not everyone is as lucky as I am. I’ve heard horror stories of broken friendships and group trips gone wrong. As the saying goes, you really get to know someone when you travel with them. Luckily, I have travelled with all my closest friends, so I think we are good now.
That’s why I’m writing this article – to share some tips on how to travel with a group (without losing your mind). After all, you want to come back with unforgettable memories, not a sour taste in your mouth. So let’s make sure that your group trip is one for the books!
The first rule of group travel is to choose your travel companions wisely. I know, you’re thinking, “But I love all my friends!” That may be true, but let’s be honest, we all have that one friend who drives us a little crazy over dinner. Now imagine spending a week or more with that person in close quarters.
So, be realistic about who you invite on your group trip. Are they easygoing or high-strung? Do they have similar interests and travel styles as you? Will they be a good match for the rest of the group? These are all important things to consider before extending an invitation.
If you’re not sure about a potential travel companion, consider taking a shorter trip together first to test the waters. It’s better to find out sooner rather than later if you’re not a good match as travel buddies.
Also, another aspect is the size of the group. If the group is too small, it may limit your options for activities and accommodations, and the dynamics may become stale over time. On the other hand, if the group is too large, it may become difficult to coordinate schedules, decide on activities, and split costs.
Generally, a group size of 4-8 people works well for group travel. It’s small enough to make decisions quickly and easily, yet large enough to create a fun and diverse group dynamic.
2. Plan for Success
Nobody wants to plan their holiday down to the most minute detail. But trust me, a little planning can go a long way when it comes to group travel. You don’t want to show up in a foreign country without a clue of what you’re going to do or where you’re going to sleep. That’s just asking for disaster.
Start by having a group chat to discuss the details of the trip, and even hold a pre-meeting if you can. It’s always exciting to plan and bounce ideas off each other. Get a sense of what everyone is looking to get out of their vacation. Are you all in the mood for a relaxing beach getaway or an action-packed adventure? Do you want to go sightseeing, try local cuisine or simply chill out by the pool?
Narrow down your destination and dates, start creating ideas of itineraries or activities. Consider everyone’s interests and budget constraints when planning. Of course, if you are a huge group, maybe hiring a travel agent might be even easier, it all depends on what you want and need.
In any case, don’t forget to build in some flexibility too. After all, the best memories are often made when you deviate from the plan.
3. Communication is Key
We’ve all been in a situation where someone in the group is getting on our nerves, but we’re too afraid to speak up. Don’t let that happen on your group trip! Communication is key.
Make sure everyone in the group is on the same page before you go. Unless you know each other super well, discuss expectations, boundaries, and any potential issues that might arise. It’s important to be able to express if something bothers you. After all, you’re friends, right? Don’t let a small issue ruin your entire group trip.
And remember, communication isn’t just about speaking up when something is bothering you. It’s also about being a good listener. Take the time to hear out your fellow travelers and their concerns. You might even learn something new about them!
4. Delegate Responsibility
Divide and conquer! You don’t want one person to feel like they’re doing all the planning or all the work during the group trip. Instead, delegate tasks and responsibilities among the group. This could mean that one person is in charge of booking accommodation, while another is responsible for planning activities, and so on.
If you are lucky like me, it will come naturally in the group, but sometimes a little push is needed, so why not delegate.
During the group trip, take turns with responsibilities like grocery shopping or cooking breakfast. If someone takes care of breakfast one day, someone else can handle it the next. Plus, it’s a great way to share the workload and bond over meal prep. And who knows, maybe someone in the group is a secret gourmet chef waiting to be discovered! It’s definitely not me!
And don’t be afraid to let people take the lead if they have a great idea. Maybe someone knows the perfect local restaurant to try, or has an idea for a fun activity. Everyone has their strengths and can contribute to making the group trip memorable and enjoyable!
5. Stay Flexible
Just like in life, sometimes things don’t go as planned during travel. But that’s what makes it exciting, right? It’s like playing a game of travel roulette – you never know what you’re going to get.
Maybe you end up in a tiny village with no WiFi, or you stumble upon a local festival that you never knew existed. Maybe your beach day turns into a rainy day, or the restaurant you wanted to try is closed. But you know what? That’s all part of the adventure when you travel with a group!
The key is to stay flexible and adaptable to changes. Be willing to compromise and go with the flow. The best adventures are the ones that don’t always follow the guidebook.
So, instead of getting frustrated or upset when things don’t go according to plan, embrace the chaos! Take it as an opportunity to try new things and see where the journey takes you. Maybe you’ll end up with a hilarious story to tell at your next group hangout.
6. Mind your Space
We all love spending time together, but even the best of friends need a break sometimes. And that’s perfectly okay! So don’t be afraid to take some time for yourself when you travel with a group. Whether it’s to catch up on some reading, take a solo walk, or just chill out in your room for a bit, everyone should have the chance to recharge their batteries.
And let’s be honest, no one wants to be around a grumpy traveler who hasn’t had their alone time. So if you’re feeling like you need some space, don’t hesitate to speak up! And if someone else needs their space, be respectful of that too. It’s all about finding that balance between group time and solo time.
7. Split Costs
Money can be a tricky subject, especially when you travel with a group. But no worries, there are plenty of apps out there, like Tricount, that make splitting costs a breeze. Just input everyone’s expenses, and voila! The app calculates the total amount owed, so you don’t have to worry about any complicated math equations or awkward conversations.
The goal is not to focus on who spends more or less, but to have a great time together without breaking the bank. It’s also worth considering checking out group prices to see if you can collect some discounts.
8. Chill and Breathe
Traveling with a group can sometimes feel like trying to herd a group of cats. It’s chaotic, unpredictable, and can test even the most patient of people. But don’t worry – this is an adventure you’re experiencing together, and with a little bit of patience, you can make it an unforgettable one.
Remember that everyone is doing their best, and that unexpected setbacks are a natural part of the travel experience. By staying calm and patient, you can help defuse tense situations and make the most of your time with your fellow travelers.
I know, it’s easier to say than to do. And sure, you might encounter delays, missed reservations, and other unexpected hiccups along the way. But instead of getting upset, try to find ways to laugh it off and make the best of the situation. Who knows – you might even discover a new level of patience you never knew you had!
9. Bring the Good Vibes
This tip is linked to the previous one, but it’s important to repeat it: having a positive attitude is essential when you travel with a group. It can make or break the trip for everyone involved. If you approach the trip with a positive attitude, you’ll be more open to new experiences and more willing to compromise when things don’t go as planned. Embrace the differences and try to find common ground that everyone can enjoy.
If a disagreement does happen, try to address it calmly and with respect for each other. Be friends enough to forgive. If you have a positive attitude, others are more likely to follow suit, and the trip will be more enjoyable for everyone.
10. Just Have Fun
Let loose and have a good time! The purpose of a group trip is to enjoy each other’s company, make unforgettable memories, and have fun. So, don’t take things too seriously and try to let go of any stress or tension that might arise.
And most importantly, make the most of your time together! Take silly photos, try new things, and laugh until your sides hurt. At the end of the day, when you travel with a group, it’s not about the destination, but about the journey you took together.
Group travel can be a wild ride, but with the right attitude and a few tricks up your sleeve, you can avoid any bumps in the road during your group trip. Don’t let petty squabbles or unexpected surprises ruin your adventure. Instead, embrace the chaos, dance in the rain, and make memories that will last a lifetime.
And who knows? Maybe you’ll even discover a new side of your friends or family that you never knew existed.