Group holidays can be really fun. Or mind-numbingly hard to plan and execute, especially if the travelers are worlds apart in terms of interests, with only but a few things in common.
After more than one holiday with 5 to 12 people involved, I am sketching a user’s guide for all friends out there planning a trip together. You might want to read this out loud when you get together with your friends and start planning a vacation together.
Questions to Ask BEFORE You Decide Where to Go
First things first: where to go? Ask some pesky questions before you decide on a destination. Trust me, it can save a lot of time and arguments. Here we go:
- Who visited what continents/countries/cities? Is someone willing to compromise and visit a city they’ve already seen? If yes, in what formula – will they want to join the group for the whole trip or just a couple of days?
- Is there a good time for everyone to go on holiday? Laugh all you want, but some of us turn into monsters if subjected to really hot temperatures (yes, I’m talking about me, remember my article on Malta ?). Or…some might be able to get away from the office only during certain months and only for a limited number of days.
- Also, some of your friends might prefer budget-friendly holidays while others might want to splurge on lengthy holidays and enjoy the perks of a luxurious destination.
Talk about these, be honest with each other and try to understand everyone’s expectations. Especially if this is your first trip together.
Use Collective Maps While on Group Holidays
One member of the group wants to go to an art museum. Another one wants to see the city by bike. A third might want to wander through the neighborhoods and catch a glimpse of a temporary exhibit hosted by the museum the with the first member of the group. Another might want to go shopping and try out all the culinary delights the city has to offer.
You get the idea. Different people have different interests and moods. And if the group is a large one, juggling all of these becomes a burden. And a potential source of conflict. Why not try to prevent it all?
I visited Barcelona and Valencia with four other girlfriends in September. No, I did not go with Adriana, in case you were wondering but do check out her great article on art & architecture in Barcelona, I was surprised to see how many streets/sights I missed while in the Catalan capital. Our group was very diverse: we had a foodie, a sporty one, a shopping lover and a museum-loving introvert. And to top all of that, two of us had already visited Barca before and knew we wanted to see/experience different things, but still get together for lunch and for evening walks. We only had 4 days in the city and needed to get organized. We used an online tool to help us map out all of the things we wanted to see/do,
Tripadvisor has this great maps tool to help.You can create and share a map and each member of the group can customize it by adding venues/top attractions to the map.
- Every member of the group adds value and insight into what is worth seeing.
- Every voice is heard. No one can own the conversation or dominate the group schedule
- You can group interests in the same area of the city and….divide and conquer. People who want to check out modern art can go see the latest exhibit while foodies can roam the surrounding streets in search of the best tapas/churros/sangria out there. And they can get together later in the afternoon to go see/do something everyone is interested in. Win-win, everyone is happy, right?
You might be able to do something similar with Google maps, take your chances. We used Tripadvisor as it already mapped some of the most important attractions in Barcelona that the majority wanted to visit. Feel free to experiment with any collective map out there.
Ok, I lied. This is not a guide on group holidays, it’s just some advice from someone who went there. And survived. The last piece of advice I leave you with: any group decision is easier to make over paella and a glass of sangria/wine. But more about Spanish finger licking good in another post.