Diane Anzalone, Group Manager at Grand European Travel, has worked with the company for 17 years. With over 10 years of experience working with large groups, Diane shares five essential tips for planning a successful group vacation.
Traveling as a group has its advantages. Sharing the joy of travel with close friends and family is a great way to create memories that will last a lifetime. However, getting a large group of people to agree to anything – let alone travel together – can be challenging. Here are some tips for avoiding some of the most common challenges of traveling with a group.
1. Assign a patient and motivated group leader
While not mandatory, this is one of the best ways to avoid the stress often associated with group trips. In my experience, planning and coordinating are much easier when the bulk of emails and phone calls are coming from one consistent party.
Before choosing a group leader, make sure that they actually want to do it. Don’t over rely on this individual – you may end up not going anywhere if they become overwhelmed. Make sure to reward them for their hard work. A lot of planning and communication goes in to the success of your vacation.
2. Make a decision of where you would like to travel
For some groups, deciding where and when to travel can be a tough decision. If your group isn’t sure where it wants to go, encourage members to identify their top two locations or sites that they want see. Then look for trips that include as many of these choices as possible.
If your group is taking their first trip to Europe, you may want to consider one of our European panoramic vacations. Never be dismissive of someone’s idea. It might not appeal to you but it might be something that they’ve dreamed of doing for a long time and might even serve as an idea for your group’s next trip.
3. Check availability early to avoid disappointment
With a destination or trip in mind, I usually recommend that you start checking availability of dates 6-9 months ahead of time. It’s the best way to ensure that the trip you’ve chosen has enough space to accommodate your group. It is always helpful to have alternate dates in mind just in case your first choice is not available.
4. Looking for a group rate? Invite more people than you need
Group rates are a great way to save. If your group is planning to take advantage of a group discount make sure to invite a few extra people. That way, if one or two people in your group have to bow out for some unforeseen reason, you’ll still be eligible to receive your discounted rate.
5. Make Time For Yourself
Just because you’re traveling with a group doesn’t mean you have to do everything together. You will always have a little time to explore on your own during the free time or sign up for our Optional Experiences. Not everyone in your group has to do the same thing. Remember, not everyone has the same interests and while some may be more interested in visiting museums, others may enjoy sitting in a café. There are so many ways to make your travel experience more enriching.