You’re destined to travel, you want to bring your best friends, but you don’t know where to start! Here are some tips for planning the best group holiday, ever!
1. Choose the right destination
Start by taking an open-book, or rather an open-tour-guide test of each group member’s hopes for your holiday. One friend may be a snow bunny and want to head to the mountains, while another is in dire need of a fresh tan on a sunny, sandy beach! Pool everyone’s ideas together and see what works best. When is it most convenient to step away from the real world for a bit? Consider each friend’s accrued holiday entitlement, work schedule, personal responsibilities, and above all what they want their ideal holiday to look like!
2. Collate ideas
You’ll probably discover this when everyone unleashes their holiday desires, but everyone must have equal weight in determining the location and itinerary for the trip. Make sure that every member of the party has an equal say in organising the itinerary, as this will help to avoid conflict further down the line. Once you’ve figured out where you are going and roughly what you intend to do, it’s good to remind everyone they’ve got the right to speak and be heard throughout the duration of the holiday! Traveling with friends can be tricky, but it can turn into something incredible when each member is contributing ideas and listening to everyone else’s!
3. Hunt for affordable accommodation
Where are you going to stay? For travelers looking for the whole experience of vacationing, start looking at hotels as soon as possible! Google has a new hotel search where you type in what city you’re planning on staying in and when, and it provides local recommendations with images, reviews, pricing, and how that pricing looks compared to their usual rates. Another option for the young traveler is to stay in a hostel. These are essentially no-frills, inexpensive dormitories. They are especially great for groups spending most of their time outside of the hostel, and who are just looking for a place to sleep. Hostelworld is a good place to start.
4. Plan your transportation
Before you arrive with bags, plans, and excitement coursing through your veins, you’ll want to figure out how you are going to travel to local destinations. Look up tour guides, peruse hotel websites for local travel options, or plan to use your own vehicle. If you’re going to be chauffeuring your group about town, you will likely need multiple drivers. Consider adding an additional driver to your policy, and split the driving between multiple people to get you to your destination much quicker. It’s important to remember that an additional driver’s driving record is always the most important factor, so choose your driving buddies carefully!
5. Be a tourist and be local
The best advice comes from those who have taken a holiday at your destination in the past, and those who live there. Often this little tidbit is overlooked! If you want a custom-tailored trip, you’re going to want to look at what people have done there before, and what secret, insider tips you can gather from the locals. You may find yourself enjoying incredible views at man-made sightseeing locations, and later enjoying the best meal you’ve ever eaten, at a dive restaurant tucked inside an alley. When in doubt, put your faith in the local residents – but above all else, remember to stay safe in unfamiliar territory.
6. Take a breath
Have you ever heard anyone say that they need a vacation from their vacation? Simply put, this means that there was so much going on during their holiday, that they feel like they didn’t take a holiday in the first place! To avoid these woes, make sure you and your party plan for some valuable downtime. It could be a couple hours, or a whole day, where each member of the group can put their plans aside to enjoy the quiet away from home, the company of their friends, and the serenity in their individual holiday sanctuaries.
7. What’s free?
In many clearly-defined tourist locations there are paid events and promotions, but holidaymakers often forget that there are free, local events as well. Want something to do that is low-key and free or very inexpensive? Check libraries, pubs, and town halls to find out what is happening away from the tourist scene.
8. Pack wisely
What can spoil your holiday faster than the weather? Not being prepared for the weather! Check out the forecast for your destination in advance. It’s always smart to take a fold-away jacket or a light sweatshirt that can easily be removed when warm, or put on when it is cold. For longer excursions, consider a lightweight waterproof backpack, a change of clothes, a poncho or umbrella, and some non-perishable snacks.
9. Food: friend or foe?
Food can make or break a holiday in an instant! Be aware of how your body reacts to certain foods before you leave, and be aware of what you are putting into your body on your holiday. Try new foods and be adventurous, but remember that everything that goes in can, and will, affect your mood, your energy level, and how much enjoyment you and your group have away from home.
You did it! You have successfully planned your incredible holiday with your best friends. You know where you’re going, where you’re staying, what you’re doing, and how to get there. You are prepped with ideas, maps, and the locals’ insight for affordable and delicious eats. You are ready for your wonderful adventure. Enjoy!