Group Travel: 14 Tips On How To Survive Traveling With Others
Are you planning a group travel with your friends or family? Most of my travel tends to be solo but there are occasions when I travel in a group. As a travel blogger, I do get invited on group trips with other bloggers or travel writers. And last year for the first time in ages, I traveled with some family members. Everyone has different personalities and also different needs when they travel so I wanted to share some tips on how to make your group trip as seamless as possible.
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With my 2 best friends in Palm Springs – A Surprise Trip Even!
Group Travel Tips:
Group Travel Tip #1 – The Company You Keep
Are you traveling with girlfriends? Family members? Co-Workers? When traveling with others, keep the different personalities in mind. There have been occasions when I end up traveling with strangers (meeting other solo travelers and spontaneously going places with them) so sometimes knowing personalities is not possible. But most of the time you will know the people you are traveling with.
Group Travel Tip #2 – Organizing Logistics
Talk about how each and all of you are getting there. Will you be going together? Meeting at the destination? Think about all the logistics ahead of time like arriving on similar flight times, etc. Some people have less patience than others so try to organize yourselves there is less waiting around for people. As an example, my sister-in-law was only able to meet us in Marrakech so she flew from Spain whereas my brother and I drove to the south of Spain, took the ferry over, rented a car, and drove from Tangier. We got to Marrakech the night before and she flew into Marrakech and organized our riad to pick her up.
While planning the trip to Morocco with my family, they left a lot of decisions up to me because I’m a travel blogger and always want the best experiences. This tends to happen in any group situation including eating out locally. Sometimes I enjoy it, sometimes I don’t. So if you’re the main organizer perhaps delegate some tasks to other people like organizing the rental car or picking activities they would like. It can be a bit stressful so it’s important to communicate and be organized. I did the whole Excel Sheet planning and constantly emailed with my sister in law (my brother left all decisions up to us) to plan the trip.
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Group Travel Tip # 3 – Bill Splitting
When you are organizing your trip, be upfront about costs. Most people will have paid for their transportation themselves. If not then be sure to tally everything up and keep tabs on expenses on your phone. When it comes down to paying either pay cash upfront or use apps like Paypal and Venmo and pay to pay each other back.
Group Travel Tip # 4 – Carrying Cash
For situation whether alone or in a group, it is important to have cash on hand. We live in a cashless society these days but when you’re traveling you need cash to tip or say take the bus or taxi. Not every place or business takes cards in other countries so having cash is important. Research and discuss the local currency with your group ahead of time.
Group Travel Tip #5 – Appropriate Clothing
On some of my travel blogger group trips, most of the time we tend to be casual. So jeans, shorts, sneakers, etc. are acceptable. But there are occasions when we go to a nicer restaurant or event. So I will ask if we should bring a nice outfit. On a recent group trip, we went out dancing in Las Vegas and there was a dress code at the nightclub and sneakers were not allowed. My friend’s rental car was broken into and his dress shoes were included in the stolen items from the car. So in turn, I picked a club that would be a bit more lenient with the dress code.
Group Travel Tip #6 – Group Activities
Does everyone in your group want to do the same thing? I love going to museums but not every one them as much. So if I am in a group I don’t plan a visit unless I have windows of time alone. I also love eating at local haunts but on a recent trip, the others in my group didn’t care so much. I made sure to go to when I was on my own. Talk about the activities ahead of time. If not everyone wants to do the same things, break up the group and find activities for the different groups of people.
My family and I all agreed on an overnight camping experience in the desert
Group Travel Tip #7 – Accommodations
Not everyone will have the same travel budget. Be sure to discuss everyone’s needs ahead of time. Some people can live with basic or budget accommodations, others cannot. Meet in the middle or perhaps look at other options like Air Bnb or a house rental via HomeAway. If I’m going on a girlfriend trip, we’re often just lounging around at the pool or going to the spa so I splurge on a nicer hotel. In Morocco, we stayed at mid-range accommodations because most of the day we would be out exploring and partaking in activities.
Group Travel Tip #8 – Making Reservations
If you are traveling with a bigger group or you are interested in popular local restaurants, you may want to think about making reservations in advance. Not all places can seat larger groups as easily and popular eateries are often booked up in advance. Also if you need a rental car and are traveling with more than 5, do you need to rent a mini-van or SUV? Those tend to book up quickly so be prepared!
Group Travel Tip #9 – Plan A Lot Of Down Time
If you have a lot of activities that you want to partake in, make sure to also schedule some downtime. People have different limits and some may tire easier than others. So be sure to leave windows to go back to your accommodations and chill out. Rushing around and not having a moment to breath is not fun.
Group Travel Tip #10 – Plan Alone Time
When I was with my family in Morocco last year, my brother and his wife were keen on shopping while we were in Marrakech. I was keen on shooting photos and checking out museums. So I split up with them to do what I wanted and they kept shopping. We met up back at our riad and had dinner together in the evening. Since I’m normally a solo traveler, it’s vital for me to have my alone time as well as shoot photos for my blog!
Group Travel Tip #11 – Safety
Safety is key for all kinds of travel. Make note of any concerns the group may have ahead of time. Are you doing anything extreme or adventurous? Does everyone have travel insurance? Does everyone know each other’s emergency contacts? Should we be wary of pickpockets in this particular city?
Group Travel Tip #12 – Communicate
If there is an issue, are you open to having a discussion with your travel partners? What if someone doesn’t want to participate in the group activity? Will they let everyone know? What about keeping in touch when exploring and someone gets lost? How will you reach each other? Does everyone have a smartphone and a messengering system like Whatsapp? Do you have a meetup point planned if someone gets lost?
Group Travel Tip #13 – When Things Get Heated
On most of my group trips, luckily for me and everyone else, no major fallouts have happened. On my last group trip, two of my guy friends got into an argument. I didn’t really understand what happened but I figured that because we were together for so many days without any breaks, they just got on each other’s nerves. It happens. After they argued, they spent some time apart to cool down and then things were fine. On our way to Morocco, I argued with my brother. I called a timeout. I don’t even remember what we were arguing about now but we’re siblings and it happens. We separated for an hour and met up again after we had cooled down. Then everything was fine.
Group Travel Tip #14 – Leave Room For Change And The Unexpected
On any trip whether I’m traveling by myself or with others, I leave room for the unexpected or change. Things never happen to the letter so just be prepared for things to happen. When we were in Morocco, my sister-in-law left her purse with wallet and passports on the back of her chair. We drove several hours before she had realized. So we had to double back. This meant our plans changed in an instant. We now had to find somewhere to stay along the road since we lost time and we had to cancel one night’s reservation in the town we were supposed to be in.
I am sure I am forgetting some vital group travel tips. Do you have any that you want to share that helped you on your trips? Please leave them in the comments!