In theory, embarking on a group trip means you’ll get to explore the world with some of your favorite people. In practice, it can devolve into fights over itinerary, haggling over hotels, and bickering with your siblings in front of your parents, even though you may all be full-grown adults.
Luckily there are ways to avoid those situations and ensure that your group vacation results in photo albums full of incredible memories. Whether you’re planning a big family reunion, a bachelor party, or a getaway with friends, there are two main rules: be patient and be flexible.
In addition to those mainstays, here are a few extra pointers to ensure that your group vacation won’t make you want to take a vacation from your vacation.
Consider renting a house
If you’re planning a family reunion or a bachelorette blowout, renting a house can both save money and stress. Having a house also means a more convivial environment, because no one can hide out in their hotel room. Renting a house has other perks, too, like breakfast together, the ability to cook if you want, easy access to snacks, and parents will definitely appreciate the opportunity to tuck kids into bed at 7 p.m. and not have stay in the hotel room with them. Sites like AirBnb, HomeAway, and VRBO make it very easy to find homes to rent anywhere in the world. If you do rent a house, buy groceries in advance via PeaPod or Amazon Pantry and have everything you need delivered right to your door.
Head to a resort
If renting a house isn’t an option, consider booking your next group adventure at a resort. Resorts are designed to have something for everyone whether you want to spend the day in the spa, at the golf course, kite-sailing, or doing nothing at all. Most resorts also offer kids clubs, which gives parents the chance to enjoy some quality adult time. Plus, resorts make meal time easy with large dining rooms and tables big enough for everyone.
When it comes to group travel, the math is simple: if there are 12 people and you’re on vacation for five days, there’s a very good chance that not everyone will get to do what they want to do. The easiest way to solve this is by voting. Have everyone choose one must-see item or one must-do activity and then vote on what takes place—majority rules. Also, if it’s an option, divide up. One group can head to the local theme park, while the rest hang by the pool.
Don’t be overly ambitious
While they say that herding cats is the dictionary definition of a difficult task, trying to get an entire group of people out the door and to a destination and then back home again is a very close second. Managing the itinerary for a large group—particularly one with children in the mix—is trying at the best of times and the last thing you want to add to your vacation is a lot of stress. Instead, limit big outings or activities to one per day, be it museum trips or a visit to the Blue Lagoon.
Plan for a lot of downtime
On a similar note, make sure there’s time for resting during the day. Most people in the group will appreciate the chance to do their own thing whether it’s lounging in bed, reading by the pool, or simply getting some quality alone time. Eat breakfast solo, but join up with the group for dinner, or visit an historical site in the morning, but don’t plan anything for the afternoon. Your fellow travelers will appreciate it.