Planning a group trip has contributes to the reason why some people have not achieved their travel goals. Missed deadlines, inability to settle on a destination, unrealistic budgets, inflexible itinerary.
Therefore, I have created this easy 7 step guide to help make the process of planning a group trip more seamless.
- The Group of People
- Set General Terms
- Pick an Admin
- Pick a Destination – Brainstorm
- Set Deadlines
- Have a Flexible Itinerary
- Have Fun!
1. The Group of People
This is the FIRST thing you want to decide. Your travel group can really be the make or break the trip.
- Pick people you know would love the idea of a group trip and will actually come through in the end.
- People who will be enthusiastic about the trip.
- Whatever the theme of the trip, it’s important to include the people you know will enjoy the experience.
- Open-minded people. You don’t want closed minded people on your group trip, that’s not fun for anyone. I mean why go to another country if you’re not open to getting to know the locals.
2. Set General Terms
When planning a group trip it’s important to set the terms of the trip from the beginning. Yes, by terms I mean terms and conditions. With friends the possibility of the trip not happening is higher than if you’re planning a solo trip.
Like with any group trip, you need to anticipate someone dropping out, or delaying on their part of the payment because these things are bound to happen. However, there are a few things you can sign off on at the beginning of the planning stage to ensure the process is smooth:
- Set a timeframe on when everyone has to agree to commit to the trip
- Decide on a clear timeframe before the date of the trip when people can make the decision to drop out of the trip for no particular reason.
- Agree on a deposit fee amount for the trip that needs to be paid before the trip
- Decide within the group how long before the trip the fee needs to be paid.
- If a person drops out outside of the agreed upon time frame (too close to the departure date) they lose their deposit fee (or you can decide within your group penalty).
- For people who drop out outside the agreed upon timeframe based on extenuating circumstances (you can define the circumstances within your group) then they can be allowed without losing their deposit.
- Decide if each person will be paying for their tickets themselves or if the admin(s) will be in charge of that (see step 3).
- Last thing! Decide what percentage of votes has to be reached before any of these guidelines can be put in place. Does it have to be unanimous? 50/50?
This is just a way to help set rules from the beginning, remember this is a democracy not a dictatorship, everyone gets a say. These guidelines may just make people think twice before dropping out.
3. Pick an Admin
You’ve settled on the first 2 things, now who is going to do all the planning it takes for all this to actually happen? That’s when step 3 – picking an admin – comes in.
Get your point person or people right! The group admin can be the reason you have a great trip or not, the reason the trip actually happens or it doesn’t. Don’t sleep on the importance of getting the right person to be in charge of the trip. Okay so what does the admin do?
- Research: on the chosen destination
- Are there any visa requirements?
- Are there any vaccination requirements?
- They ensure everyone’s passport is up to date – does everyone have a passport?
Someone(s) who will be responsible for:
- All the bookings – accommodation, activities, tours
- Gathering up funds once everyone has paid
- Depending on the guidelines set in step 2, the admin will take care of booking the plane tickets.
When picking an admin, the person will have to have the following qualities:
- Accountable; accountable to either the group – to be able to report the progress of the trip to the group – or, accountable to the second admin person (if 2 people are chosen).
So, it’s important the right person is chosen. The earlier the duties of the admin person is defined, the higher the chances of the trip actually taking place.
4. Pick a destination – Brainstorm
Where are you going? The million dollar question. Definitely a question that has been the source of fights, arguments and disagreements. The decision on the destination needs to be unanimous or 50/50 (depending on the agreed upon terms in step 2). In this stage the following things need to be considered:
- Visa requirements: this can mean an additional payment, visa applications and interviews, so can end up being a deciding factor.
- Vaccination requirements
- Continent: look at the continents which are within your budget and you will also get the best value for your money
- Flight ticket
- Country Safety: especially if it’s a girls trip.
- Your chosen type of accommodation: Hotel, Airbnb or Hostel.
- Activities: is this an adventure/ Safari, exploration, culture, historical, purely relaxation type of trip? This will influence the country you decide on ultimately. If it’s more of a relaxation/ beach trip you may look at Zanzibar, Seychelles, Mauritius, Reunion, Cape Verde, The Caribbean.
When deciding on accommodation you can use Airbnb’s shared list where everyone on the group list can share, add and remove accommodations, that should be easier than accommodation links continuously being shared in WhatsApp groups.
Don’t forget to COMPROMISE.
5. Set Deadlines
Strict deadlines need to be set to ensure everything is booked at the right time, with deadlines there’s a higher chance of the trip happening. There should be meetings to confirm certain milestones like:
- Confirming who is going for the trip
- Confirming travel dates
- When everyone needs to buy their tickets: at least 3 months before
- The time to book the accommodation
- Booking the tours and activities
- If the chosen country requires a visa (if it’s not a visa on arrival country): a deadline for when to start the visa application process)
Once the deadlines have been set all members of the group should put alerts in their calendars so they don’t forget, that way the responsibility of reminding the group doesn’t fall to one person.
6. Have a Flexible Itinerary
While having a detailed itinerary with planned activities, tours, site seeing is really important, but it’s also extremely important to have a flexible itinerary which gives members of the group time to do their own thing and experience the city for themselves. It also ensures the group doesn’t get too tired or feel bombarded with constant activities.
Remember not everyone in the group will have the same preferences when it comes to the activities chosen. You may suggest Hot Air Ballooning for a group activity some people in the group may not be up for it, so you can suggest the ballooning be replaced but an activity of their choice. You don’t want a person to drop out because they feel the itinerary doesn’t suit them.
7. Have Fun
Vacation planning is and can be exciting. The anticipation of the experience, what will happen, new people you’ll meet, adventures you’ll be embarking on. It’s important to remember this during the trip planning. Keep the planning process fun, count down in your group chat, send memes. The trip will be amazing!