Getting Organized for a Group Trip

This article is an excerpt from Travefy’s ebook – “Planning a group trip on a budget”! This free ebook provides travel tips to save you time, money, and headaches. The below article is from Chapter 2: Getting Organized for a Group Trip. You can download a full copy for FREE at http://hello.travefy.com/ebook/.

Getting Organized

Getting organized in advance of a trip is essential and can save you a lot of stress down the road. Key tips for organization include:

  • Pick a leader
  • Firm up numbers and needs like hotel rooms and cars
  • Estimate budgets and leave nothing to chance
  • Plan. Plan. Plan.
  • Build an itinerary

Pick a Leader. 

No matter how large of a group that you are traveling with, it is always best to get organized and choose a group leader. The bigger the group, the more important it is to choose a ringleader who can be your point person. Everybody will have their input on where they want to go and how much they want to spend, but the group leader will collate all that information. The leader will also likely do the lions share of the planning work, so make sure to pick the friend who would both enjoy the task and would follow through on everything.

Firm up numbers and needs. 

As a group and trip organizer, there are lots of tasks you can do in advance to make the trip go more smoothly. As a group leader you need to find out who is going on the trip as well as where and when you are travelling if that is not already set.

Unfortunately there are always curve balls – like a friend who drops out last minute – nonetheless firm numbers or even rules for these situations can aid in the planning process. These numbers will assist planning and potentially save you money. For instance, it lets you decide how many rooms you’re going to need and depending on how big the group is you might be able to get a group discount.

Estimate budgets. 

After you find out who is all going then you can move on to the next part of planning – determining how much everybody is willing to spend. It is hard to please everybody in the group because everyone chooses to spend their money differently as well as have different constraints. Some will want to stay in the best hotels while others would rather save money on a cheaper one. Depending on your trip there might also be additional cost considerations. For instance, you might be able to offer a discount to one of the group members if they offer to drive most of the way of if they are willing to babysit the kids (if applicable).

General trip expenses are a difficult thing to plan for, but it is worth estimating as much as possible. Things such as your hotel and flight will be pre-set, but deciding how to split meals and gas can be confusing. Make sure you keep track of all the expenses and have a designated point person – Just don’t get too worried about them on the trip.

One tip is to determine in advance of your trip whether expenses like meals will be split evenly or by the actual cost per person. Your friend who always orders the most expensive thing on the menu might not like the outcome, but it is always best to have all information up front! This avoids awkwardness and potential fights down the road.

Plan. Plan. Plan.

Once you know how much people are willing to spend, you can then best choose where you want to go for your vacation. We recommend listening to everyone’s opinion to source suggestions before taking a vote to decide a location (and/or dates).

You may also want to look on the Internet or read a book in advance to research the area. What are the best things about that location? Which restaurants have the best food? Where are you going to stay? And our favorite, what makes that vacation unique?

With a group, budget, and location in mind, the next step is to your book your travel. As a general rule, the further out in advance you book flights and hotels, the higher the savings, so you should book flights and hotels as far in advance as possible.

One tip when booking a destination is to focus on the “experience” and not the “location” to save money. For instance, when planning your dream Hawaii vacation you might find appreciable price differences between flying to Maui vs. Honolulu. If all that was important was a Hawaiian beach, then go with the cheapest and save that money for other fun travel experiences.

As a part of this planning, we suggest you build an itinerary for the whole group as this gives everybody a sense of direction. The times don’t have to be exact for everything (or anything for that matter), but a rough estimation of a day’s activities is extremely helpful.

Travel Planning Itinerary Check-list

Remember that everything you do in advance is one less thing to do while on your vacation. It is always easier to go back and change existing plans than to try and make a new plan once you get to your destination. Unless you love spontaneity, plan as much as you can in advance. It is better to know which restaurant you are going to eat at that night instead of wasting two hours fighting about where you want to go!

Lastly, since the planning was hard work, it might be a good idea to designate a new leader once you are actually on the trip. This gives everybody an opportunity to relax at some point and just enjoy the vacation.

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