Vacations are amazing. Traveling somewhere you’ve never been and trying things you’ve yet to try can be a soulful experience. Doing all that with your nearest and dearest friends can be an even greater experience.
It can also be a recipe for disaster if you’re not careful. Here are a few tips to help ensure that your group trip is as fun as it can be.
Once you’ve approached your best buds and decided to journey outward with one another, you’ll need to start planning your trip. Start on the right foot and ensure that your destination is group-friendly. A cruise is an example of a great trip for a larger party – a journey that provides people with multiple options and opportunities to be either together or apart. Consider less physically strenuous trips like vacation packages that focus on tours, visits, and sightseeing as these activities can be easy for all involved.
Lay out expectations and share with the group what you’re hoping to get out of it. Itineraries give everyone going on your vacation the chance to plan what they want to do. Planning ahead can make a big difference down the road and help avoid unfortunate surprises.
Now that you know where you want to go, who you want to go with, and what you want to do, prepare as best as you can to get the most out of your journey. Consider consulting a trip-planning service or travel agent to figure out if there are discounts or activities you should take advantage of. Be sure to share any discoveries with your group!
Make sure that you’ve been taking care of yourself as best as possible. Visit your doctor, get up-to-date on your vaccines and pack a first aid kit. Since you know where you’re going, ensure that the food available will be good for you to eat. If there are insect-borne diseases where you’re visiting, bring bug spray and nets. Does the population at your destination speak a foreign language? Grab a translating dictionary or app to ensure you can get around once you arrive. For more on healthy traveling, visit AARP’s On the Road: Travel Safety.
Protect your home while you’re on the road. Ask friends and neighbors to keep an eye on things while you’re away. Give them a key, the dates you’ll be gone, and ask them to pick up your mail. If you’re going to be gone an extended period of time, consider a house-sitter. Don’t share pictures while you’re gone, wait until you’re home. Protect valuables by locking them up somewhere safe and out-of-sight.
You’ve made it! You’re on your vacation with your favorite people. It’s time to have fun, but don’t have too much fun. Sometimes being overly ambitious can make the group tired, or even grumpy. Breaks are a good thing – from activities and one another. Don’t be afraid to split up with the group every once in a while to allow everyone a bit of personal time. This can be particularly helpful if the group can’t decide on something to do together, which is very normal.
Sometimes plans change. Have an alternate plan for every activity in case weather or some other unforeseen event makes your first choice unavailable. Have a deck of cards or some small games ready to fill time between events or in the case that something gets cancelled. Another great thing to have on you at all times: snacks.
The biggest thing to remember on a group trip is that it is a group trip – not for one person, but for everyone. Going out of your way to make sure your friends are having fun can go a long way. Hopefully your friends will be doing the same for you. Enjoy your trip, your friends, and yourself!