There is almost nothing more important than deciding when to travel, but don’t fall into the trap of needing everyone’s blessing! In the very beginning, solicit feedback from everyone about general time frames (winter, spring, summer, fall) and then just pick a date and stick with it. If you try to go through the hassle of selecting a date that everyone agrees with, you will drive yourself crazy. It’s better to be decisive and save your energy for more important battles. Whoever can go, will go, whoever cannot, will not.
The next most important decision is about the trip budget. Having a realistic idea of what everyone can afford will significantly narrow down possible destinations and accommodations very quickly. The best way to do this is to seek out the maximum budget per family and then select a destination with packages that are within the lowest of all of them. If you have 5 families traveling, and a family with 2 adults and 2 children can only afford $3,000, well then $3,000 is the per family max for the whole group. This not only makes your life easier, but avoids any uncomfortable situations where someone would have to decline joining the group because of price.
You may be the organizer for this little getaway, but you don’t want to put yourself in a position where this vacation becomes all work and you are unable to enjoy it yourself. Travel agent services are (or should be) free, so let someone else organize everyone’s room requests and payments. Another consideration is that travel agents know how to maximize the situation to get you the best value for your dollar, can offer advice about your destination, and will plan and distribute the information that the group needs during the planning process. Let someone else be the point of contact and do the work, you just enjoy your vacation!
If you don’t already know where you are going, your newly appointed travel agent should be able to help you with this. Since you already have a time selected and an idea of maximum budget, your travel agent should be able to suggest some appropriate destinations. Make sure that you share with your travel agent the most important factors for your traveling party because they can sometimes be mutually exclusive. For example, are low crowds more important than weather, or is value more important than activities?
Okay, so now you have a travel agent, this is great news for you and your sanity. Keep in mind, however, that you may have to play facilitator. If members of your group are unresponsive, the travel agent may get stuck at an impasse or become unable to set something up for the whole group because of one straggler. These are your friends and family, so don’t hesitate to step in to ensure that everyone responds in a timely fashion. Your travel agent will appreciate it because it will be less time chasing something down and more time to plan the fun stuff!
Resorts love having large groups staying on property, so sometimes they will be willing to sweeten your packages with some perks; don’t be afraid to ask! Resorts will sometimes upgrade rooms, provide free meeting space, upgrade dining or arrange special event dining or excursions, and much more. You never know what they are willing to do to accommodate your group until you ask!
Don’t let the task of organizing a large trip overwhelm you. By accepting that you cannot possibly clear every little decision by every traveler in the group and by asking for a little free help from an experienced travel agent, you should be able to plan a memorable getaway without driving yourself crazy. Contact us today if you would like some more information about planning group travel.
Tell us some of your group travel horror stories in the comments below!!!
Don't forget to subscribe to this blog to receive notifications when a new article is posted.