How to Travel Successfully as a Group – Tips To Ease The Stress
Managing a trip with a group of friends is a bit of a challenge. Making sure everyone’s needs, desires and whims are accounted for can be a stressful endeavor. However, it’s possible to have a great time together when everyone is on the same page. Having adaptable plans and using smartphone technology helps keep all the travelers in the loop.
Here are some suggestions about how to travel successfully together and return better friends than ever.
Meet Early to Discuss
The main thing you want to do with group trips is to avoid disagreement about itineraries. Usually, there will be a theme to group trips which is the glue that holds them together. This could be to sample some of the wineries up in the Napa Valley, hit up cities with incredible architecture or locations with natural wonders like Zion National Park or Yosemite.
Hone in on a good theme everyone can agree upon. From there, it makes it much easier to plan a starting point and a route to take, because everyone will know and approve the game plan. Be certain that everyone has input so they feel invested in the outcome of the trip.
Take Care of the Group Vehicles
Whichever vehicles are chosen to take on the road, make sure they’ve had a service recently and don’t have any known mechanical issues. The last thing you want is for one of the vehicles to have a breakdown on the road as it could derail the whole trip.
Check whether you have a spare tire that’s still usable and a workable jack to lift the vehicle up to change the wheel in case of a puncture. You can pick up any missing auto tools from Global Garage before you set off. Be sure everyone has GPS capability and cell phone numbers to keep in touch while driving if necessary.
Plan Multiple Options for Each Stop
Take in the different personalities within the group. Some people love to visit every tourist trap under the sun whereas other people avoid these places in favor of unique experiences like an unusual restaurant or something off-the-beaten-path.
Know who’s a free spirit and who likes to stick to the planned itinerary. While keeping with the central theme, individuals may want quiet time apart from the group or prefer different cuisine to suit their food preferences. Create more than one plan for what to do for the morning or afternoon in a new location. Don’t feel slighted if everyone isn’t doing the same thing for every moment of the tour. Some may want to go off and play golf, while others just love a good museum. Some love sitting on the beach, while going for a hike will delight others. Be flexible with everyone’s interests. Perhaps most important is to always realize that you may need a Plan B on any given day. Remember that weather and unexpected events do occassionally require you to alter your activities. It’s good to have sunny day and rainy day activites thought out in advance.
Use Technology Effectively
If you’re going to use a travel app to share travel tips between the group, pick one that works cross-platform as not everyone will have an iPhone. Plan the route and have everyone download the app to share the plan across the group. Share suggested restaurants to get the group’s buy-in and offer up more than one option for vegetarians, vegans and other picky eaters.
Google Maps is your friend. It can save maps offline. Locations can be pinned as a waypoint and shared between everyone. Make sure the group is on the same page before traveling, so no one feels lost by the technology or doesn’t get the same information. Agree who in each vehicle will be the navigator, so the driver can pay attention to the road while someone else watches for road signs and turns.
The idea with using themes for a group trip is to set the focus. Not doing so ends up being a real problem when too many different personalities are all coming up with their own suggestions. Once the theme is set, the trip planning becomes far easier from there and a consensus can be reached far sooner that way. Encourage each participant (or couple) to contribute at least one activity suggestion for the group and select ones that have the most agreement among the group.
Plan in advance for a photo platform to share all your pictures. You may want to create a Google group for your trip that everyone can post to. Don’t take the same group shot over and over again at each stop. Mix it up, get creative with your poses and have some fun.
With a bit of advance planning your trip together as friends will result in lots of fun and great memories to share.