A group of young friends sitting outside at a patio set and taking a selfie.
To help please everyone, give each person a day on the trip where they get to decide what you do and where you eat.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Your Guide to Planning a Fun & Stress-Free Group Trip

So You’re in Charge of Planning

If you’re the lucky one who has been tasked with planning a trip for you and your friends, don’t panic. It might not seem like it at first, but it is possible to bring together a group trip smoothly, making sure everyone is satisfied and you don’t lose your mind in the process.

As group leader, you are pivotal to making sure all the finer details of the trip are taken care of, from hotel reservations to checking that everyone’s passports are up to date. It’s a big job, but with some savvy group travel tips, it’ll be a breeze!

Here are some key tips on how to organize a trip for a group.

Getting Started

When surveying the task in front of you — pulling together the transport, accommodation and activities for an entire group trip, catering to everyone’s likes and dislikes — it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

To keep a hold on things, one of the most important things to do is to set up an easy and open way of communicating with everyone, so the group can voice their preferences and concerns, and you can keep them updated on the progress you’re making.

You could set up a group chat on Facebook or WhatsApp, or even start an email thread, but the key is to be able to share information easily. Your group is one of your best resources for effectively planning a trip, so make sure you use it!

Most of the arrangements you make will be online, so you can all share links, suggestions and reach decisions together. This is also a great way to send out reminders before you leave, making sure everyone has all the necessary travel documents, phone chargers and the like.

First Things First: Choosing Your Destination

Choosing where you want to go can be the trickiest part of the whole process. Some people prefer sand, others snow. Some may just want to lounge by the pool, while others may want to hike for days.

As well as being hard to please, groups can be difficult to maneuver, so when it comes to choosing group travel destinations, it can be a good idea to pick one spot that is close to many attractions. That way, you won’t have to worry about moving everyone and all their luggage from A to B — people can pick and choose the day trips they want to go on and reconvene in the evenings for drinks and meals.

How to Please All the People, All the Time

Compromise is going to be an important lesson. Unless your whole group has extremely similar tastes, at some point you are going to run into conflicting opinions about what you should do or where you should stay.

To make sure everyone gets a say, you could appoint a “decider” for each day of the trip, rotating the role so everyone gets a turn. This person can then make a call on which restaurant you should choose, or what activity you’ll embark on for the day.

This saves wavering back and forth as the indecisive members of the group struggle to decide, and prevents the bossier ones from taking over completely.

Another way to make sure everyone gets what they want is to book a tour. This takes a lot of the hassle out of planning a group trip, and with a preset itinerary there are fewer opportunities for arguments.

Tours are also excellent for getting larger groups around and for ticking off lots of highlights at once.

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Getting the Best Deals

One of the biggest perks of traveling as a group is that splitting costs several ways can help you all save money. Plus, you may be able to take advantage of group discounts.

Once you have settled on a destination, research group airfares — depending on the size of your group, you may be entitled to special offers or discounts. For land transport, you can often get good deals by booking a van for airport transfers or getting around town, rather than trying to get about in convoys of individual taxis.

For accommodation, instead of booking several hotel rooms, look into alternatives such as Airbnb. Dividing up the cost of renting out a whole home can be significantly cheaper than multiple hotel rooms, plus you will have access to a fully-equipped kitchen where you can cook up big group meals, saving you on dining costs.

How to Manage Your Money as a Group

Juggling the money for a group presents some challenges and it’s easy to lose track of who’s paid for what.

One of the simplest ways of managing money as a group is to put all the main expenses, such as accommodation and transport, on one credit card. Once your trip is over, you can divide up the total and everyone pays back the credit card holder what they owe.

The only problem with this is that it can get expensive for the person whose name is on the credit card, especially if people are slow to pay back the costs.

Another way of managing money matters is to pool your money before the trip even begins. For example, if everyone puts in a few hundred dollars, the total amount can be used to book the big stuff, and if there is anything leftover it can be used on food and drinks as well!

With a lot of communication, a little compromise, and some smart planning, your group trip will go off without a hitch. One last piece of advice: make sure that as group planner, your hard work is rewarded in some way — maybe with a cocktail or two, or first choice of bedrooms!

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