So someone comes up with the great idea you should all go on a group trip and everyone loves it. Before you know it there is a group Whatsapp with 20 of you. It starts off well with excitement and lots of memes. But over time you realise that nowhere does the planning actually start and this brilliant idea seems to fizzle out.
But there are always the determined few that keeps trying and somehow the holiday has revived. No one can agree on a date because of work, weddings, kids, other holidays, budgets, being scared of commitment. And soon your group has gone from 20 strong to 10. *Sally left the group*
But this is better, right? The less people the easier to plan. This is where you’re wrong. This is the point where people are more vocal because they feel less intimidated by the number of people that could disagree with them. Fast forward a few months and there are 6 of you left. The magic number, this could work!
This is where I come in to save the day! The stress and annoyance can be hard to overlook but think about when you’re finally on that instaworthy holiday and the FOMO those other friends who dropped out will be having.
The below is a step by step guide on what to do and how to do it and best of all its got an actual checklist. If you would like to download this super useful (if I don’t hype myself, who will?) post scroll to the bottom and pop your email in to access the download link.
For road trips or multi stop trips read my more in-depth post here
Breakdown - click to jump straight to that topic
Step 1: Decide on the type of holiday
Although you are all friends, believe it or not, what you think is a holiday might not be classed as such for someone else. The decision needs to be made on the type of holiday you will go on. And what is possible for each person to enjoy that type of holiday. If some like an active holiday but others prefer to be a sloth, find a destination that will cater to all! It is possible to do, it just depends on your outlook.
For example a trip to Luxembourg for 4 days will allow for spa days, hiking days, wine tours, castle trips and city break vibes. Seriously go to Luxembourg (have an article coming out on it soon). Remember that you don’t always have to do all activities together as that just adds pressure to the holiday.
Step 2: Decide on a date range and set a budget.
Once you have decided on the type of holiday be it winter or summer, far or near it will obviously have an impact the time of year you will go. This step will be hard and probably the most frustrating one of them all. Trying to book time off work or life will be like playing a game of matching cards, you will need a bit of luck and good memory.
This is where that infamous whatsapp group will come in handy. Keep communicating with each other and you will find the time that fits for everyone. Possibly wouldn’t hurt you if you prayed to the gods for help.
Once the dates have been chosen the budget can be set. I say do it this way because the dates you have chosen will have a huge impact on the cost of your flights and hotels depending on if its peak season or not. Or like Canada with no off-season it could be equal pricing.
Step 3: Choose a leader and set expectations
Do not choose the bossiest one of the group, choose the most organised. I cannot reiterate that point more, bossy does not equal good leadership. You’re looking for the one in the group that “seems” to have their sh*t together, because honestly who actually does.
This leader is not there to take on all the work but there to take on a project manager role. Because let’s face it humans in groups are lost without a bit of direction. This person will be your timekeeper, deadline enforcer and focused on the end goal.
Once you have assigned the leader don’t get upset with them if they tell you off. If they do you should be ashamed in yourself for not completing what you promised. *gets sent to naughty step*
You now have a budget and a leader (yay), the next step is to set and manage expectations. See what you can get for the budget you have proposed and be realistic. Don’t expect luxury on a backpacker budget. If you are all on the same page of the type of flights or the style of hotel/accommodation there will be less conflict. Ultimately the booking process will go a lot quicker. It gives the person the freedom to find and book things without constantly having to consult the group.
Step 4: Assign tasks
This is the most important step of ensuring your friendship does not fall to pieces. There is always a freeloader and an over achiever but each person needs to pull their weight equally here, otherwise resentment will start.
A simple way of solving this is giving each person a task. I would break it up into categories so not to confuse things if two people are doing similar tasks. Basic tasks include one person booking flights, the other hotels, the third car hire and fourth activities etc. Try to play to everyone’s strengths and likes and it will actually get easier because you will see one person is better at sourcing flights than others. If you would like a detailed list of tasks and how to break them down then don’t forget to pop in your email below to receive the download with the full checklist.
There are two ways of dealing with the decision making
1.Put your complete trust in the person booking and allow them freedom to confirm bookings.
2. Allow the person to source information about their task and then report back to the group for a final say
You chose what works for you as there are pros and cons of both. In the first scenario you just have to believe in the persons ability to find what you are all looking for. This benefits you as it’s one less thing to worry about. It can, however, cause a bit of the fear of the unknown.
The second scenario works in the sense that it is a group decision and you know everyone is happy with the choice. Just be prepared for a lot of conference calls and lost evenings trying to sort and decide what choice to make.
Above all just remember to be nice to each other. If you don’t like the persons choice try to let them down nicely because I am sure they have put some time and effort into the task and it’s not nice being shot down (not talking from experience at all *cough-cough*).
Step 5: Use technology to your benefit
I cannot tell you enough how much I love my organisational apps. I spend a lot of time looking for the best apps or websites to help make my life more compartmentalised (sad I know). It’s a good thing I do though, because the knowledge I am about to give you will make your life a great deal easier in planning this. Here are three of my favourite. If you want the full list and detailed explanations read about them here.
Inspirock.com – This website is pretty cool, it allows you to create a trip, map it out and even gives you suggested tasks.
Splitwise – One of my favourite apps, you input what you have spent and how it should be split between the group and the app calculates who owes who and how much.
Tripcase or Tripit– these two are more for your own organisation but I think you can share it with others. You email all your reservations and confirmations and an itinerary is automatically populated for you.
Step 6: Compromise and be flexible
This should really be Step 1 but it stays here for now. Holidays are expensive and limited we all know that. Spending that much money and those precious days off work, it’s easy to get greedy and want the perfect holiday for yourself. The moment you decided to go on a group trip you gave up that right. Dramatic I know but hear me out.
Don’t get me wrong you can still have the perfect holiday if all agree with you and your ideas. Chances are you might not be on the same page and that’s why you have set a budget and manage expectations. So that when it comes to compromising you are more willing because everyone is on the same page. Also remember that the others in the group are probably compromising on something too.
The more flexible you are the easier it will be to plan the group holiday. And who knows you might actually enjoy what others suggest. Insert a cheesy quote about trying new things makes you a better person here. At the end of the day ask yourself is it worth the stress of constant discussion? If yes then please be my guest but sometimes just be like Elsa and let it go, let it go (who sang that? please tell me you did).
Step 7: Don’t be afraid to be heard
I know I just told you to be flexible and compromise but I thought this was an important point to raise too. If you’re really not happy about something, voice your opinion. You don’t always have to be a people pleaser all the time (guilty) You might find a few other people might actually agree with you. At the end of the day it’s your holiday too and honestly you don’t always have to do everything together, it’s probably best that you don’t.
Step 8: Come up with a rough itinerary
If you are planning a road trip or a multi stop holiday this should actually be your top priority. Go read this blog post instead which gives you a more in depth look at planning a road trip.
If not please continue 🙂
Have a rough idea of what kind of things/activities you want to do on each day. This idea will cause you less of a headache when you are there and you could potentially save money on things by pre-booking. If you are a large group I highly suggest you prebook because you could get discounts. Some places also need warning for high numbers like restaurants.
But the reason I say rough idea is because we all that plans hardly go to plan (see what I did there?) So to avoid disappointment and to allow for cool activities you find there do not plan your days too strictly.
Step 9: Enjoy the Holiday
That’s it! You’re done. Holiday is booked and mostly organised now just to look forward to it. If you want tips on how to survive on a group holiday then here it is.
Happy reading but mostly happy exploring
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