Featured picture taken on a boat from Ngor Island in Dakar
Group travel has a bad reputation. I often hear horror stories of trips that either never take off or result in the end of friendships. After years of solo trips (mostly due to work), I’ve realised I much prefer travelling with others. Travelling to a new place is more enjoyable when you have loved ones to share the experience with. Most importantly it means you have people who understand your aesthetic and angles taking your pictures! It’s one of the best ways to create memories and bonds. I’ve had great experiences travelling with friends and family. Here are a few tips that I think could help if you’re planning a trip with other people.
- Every successful trip starts with a WhatsApp group! Or some common platform for communication, at the least. Clear and consistent communication is the cornerstone of good planning.
- The smaller the group the better. Unless you’re an expert travel planner, it’s easier to coordinate fewer people, in my experience.
- Once you’ve agreed on a destination, do an initial search for accommodation and flights and lay out the options on an excel sheet that all attendees can have a look at and decide what’s within their budget and preferences. It’s helpful to have a few parameters in terms of price, types of accommodation etc. I also love looking at recommendations from content creators and influencers who’ve been to those destinations.
- Assign planning roles between yourselves. Travelling is the quintessential group assignment – everyone needs to play their part for it to be successful! I’ve found it helpful to have a key coordinator for the trip (kind of like a project manager). The idea is not that they do everything – they just pull all the strings together for the trip and can also be the main contact. You can decide who does what according to your group but it’s important that the responsibility is shared so no-one feels burdened.
- Have deadlines for key decisions. It’s okay to take time to think and plan but having deadlines is integral to actualising the trip!
- Plan in good time. For international trips, I like to plan 6-8 months in advance, with the first few months being useful for brainstorming and locking dates and the latter few months for securing visas and finalising any bookings. If it’s a local trip, 2-3 months should suffice. Due to COVID, venues and airlines are being more flexible with bookings, so at least you can pay in advance with some assurance.
- Compile a list of activities that each of you are interested in doing and create a loose, flexible itinerary. When travelling, I like a good balance of relaxing and exploring so I prefer not to over-schedule. It’s important to be clear on what each person wants to get out of the holiday – some people prefer a more active trip visiting historical sites, shopping while others want a slower pace, sleeping in, staying poolside etc. You can try making an itinerary that works for all but remember it’s okay to split up or do some activities alone!
- Be a team player. Be willing to compromise. Travelling with others is mostly about being a reasonable, organised and cooperative person. It’s not a special skillset!
- Don’t be scared to take downtime while on the trip if you need to. As an introvert, it’s important to me to have sometime each day where I can recharge so that I can then go back to the wider group feeling refreshed.
All the best planning any future trips! Any tips that you swear by when planning trips with your friends? Let me know in the comments below!