If you follow me on Instagram then I’m sure you’ll have gathered by now that I love to travel; solo, with my boo or my friends, I don’t mind, as long as I’m exploring somewhere new. I’ve been on lots of trips with my friends, mostly for girls holidays in warm European destinations and while they took some planning when there was more than two of us going, they were definitely worth it.
If you’ve ever tried to arrange anything with a group of friends, you’ll know how difficult it can be. Everyone tends to be on different schedules so even setting a date can be hard enough, and then, more often than not, there’s one that has to be awkward and throw a spanner in the works! So when it comes to arranging something big, like travel or a holiday it can be even more tricky. However, time away together can be extremely rewarding, great for spending quality time together and making memories- so it’s definitely worth the hassle. Maybe it’s for a hen or stag holiday, your annual summer vacation or a last minute getaway, they’re all fun and enjoyable.
Seen as though I’m pretty well rehearsed in this whole going away malarky, I thought I’d put together a post with some things to bear in mind should you be planning a group getaway!
WORK OUT THE DATES
First things first, you need to find out the dates that most people are free- or are able to book off work. This can take some considerable going back and forth where everyone is checking their diaries, work schedule and enquiring with their boss about whether they can get time off so a group WhatsApp is ideal for this.
If you’re anything like me, then you’ll want all of your friends to come so if thats the case, start planning as far in advance as possible to give as many people the opportunity to organise the time off as possible. So many of us have our annual leave scheduled as soon as its released at work so if that’s the case with your friends then you’ll need to get in there early enough. If not then the chances are you won’t find a date that suits everyone, so all you can do is pick one which allows as many people as possible in the group to come. While this can be disappointing for yourself and others, most will be able to understand that it’s nothing personal to them, and these are just the best dates for the majority of people.
CHOOSE A DESTINATION
Once you’ve worked out exactly the dates you’re all able to get off, the next step is to decide on a location. One idea is each write a destination of your choice down and then pick from a hat. You could have a vote, or a quick conversation might lead to an easy decision. It helps if everyone is open minded, you’ll often find that you can visit a place that you previously would never have considered and have an amazing time! For example, I’m booked up to go to Benidorm early next year and its one of those places that I’ve never thought would really be for me but at the same time, I’ve always wanted to go to see what all the fuss is about!
You might have your own personal bucket list of destinations you want to visit, but be flexible and broaden your horizons by going to places that would have otherwise flown under your radar. It helps to know what kind of activities you’ll want to do beforehand which can help you to narrow down the location. If you want to go backpacking and trekking through unspoiled scenery, places like Kuala Lumpur and New Zealand would work well. If you want to go partying then how about Vegas or Ibiza? Perhaps you’re after a cultural holiday where you can learn new things- Italy and India are two examples of destinations that would be perfect for this. Although my top destination for experiencing another culture would have to be Bali, Indonesia. The photographs that I’ve included in this post were taken at the amazing Tirta Empul when I visited for the second time in May earlier this year. It was an incredible experience and so amazing to learn about the Balinese Hindu culture.
When you’re planning a group getaway, it’s easy to have visions of you all spending every day together and having so many shared experiences. But actually, if people do want to split into smaller groups on some days, it can actually be really beneficial to do so. That way, everyone has the option of pursuing their own interests, and there aren’t members of the group that are being dragged to places they don’t want to go to. Some of the best group holidays I’ve been on have been the ones where we all did our own thing without pressure from anyone else to do a particular activity. If one group wants to stay in and relax by the pool and another wants to go on an excursion, everyone has choices and is kept happy. Of course, it’s well worth planning some group activities ahead of time to give the trip some structure and ensure that there are occasions that you’re all together, even if its just a dinner date. I always find Trip Advisor and Google in general to be a really good resource for finding things to do when I’m travelling.
Whether it’s an excursion, a boat ride, a day at the beach or dinner at a specific restaurant one evening, plan it out ahead of time and set the date. During the rest of the time, let people do as they please as they’ll be far happier.
When I went to Zante with 8 other girls, there was one night where most of the girls wanted to go to a paint party. That just wasn’t our thing for me and one of my friends, so we sat out and went for a drinks at a live music bar instead which was much more up our street and then later on in the week when just us two wanted to go on a boat trip when the others wanted to lay around the pool, we went. The holiday was awesome because we all got to do the things that we wanted to do without worrying about upsetting anyone else.
FIND SUITABLE ACCOMMODATION
When you’re travelling in a larger group, it often makes more sense to look for villas or spacious houses for rent rather than separate hotel rooms. Not only will it be cheaper, but you’ll get to spend time together and socialise as a group in a relaxed way, instead of going off to your own separate areas of a hotel. You can cook and enjoy meals together, play music, relax in the private pool. This is why having a shared house to come back to is useful, even if the group has split during the day, you can come back together in the evening, enjoy some food and swap stories. If you’re travelling to places like Bali, you can often find really amazing properties with private pools that don’t work out to be very expensive at all individually if you’re staying there as a group.
CAR & MINI BUS HIRE
Getting around as a big group can be difficult. It’s easy to get split up on crowded public transport, and lots of taxis will only be able to carry three or four passengers. If you know you will be doing a lot of travelling around while you’re away, why not look into hiring a minibus? That way your whole group can stay together, there’ll be plenty of space for bags and extra items that you need to bring and it can make the entire trip much less stressful. Chances are there’s at least one person in your group that’s a confident driver and is happy to get behind the wheel. In most cases, as long as you have a full license in the place that you live in, you’re over 21 and have been driving for at least three years then you will be able to drive abroad. If you know your group will regularly be splitting to do different things, hiring two cars instead could be an option. Either way, have a think about how you will get around, and do what makes life easier for you all.
If you’re going to a destination where you’ll be within walking distance of all of the things that you want to do and see then I would definitely suggest hiring a minibus taxi to take you all to the accommodation as it’ll be so much cheaper, and often quicker, than taxis or a shared coach with other holiday makers. When friends of mine have travelled to Turkey, they’ve actually been able to hire a limo to the resort fairly cheaply between all of them which is a fabulous way to start and end a holiday!
Booking a group getaway can be hard work, but with amazing memories to be made it’s something we should all aim to do at least once in our lifetime. Whether it’s a group of families or just friends, getting out to a new place, experiencing new things and having fun is what life is all about.
The next group trip that I’m hoping to plan is with my boyfriend and some of our family. We’re going to a camping pod this weekend for a glamping experience, just the two of us, so should we enjoy it, then we’ll be inviting our nearest and dearest away next time!
Booking a group holiday? Pin this post to make your planning easier!
Where did you go on your last group getaway?