It is almost that time of year when everyone is planning family trips, girls trips, couples trips, and other types of group trips. Whether you love to travel with your loved ones or you sort of dread it, I want to share some tips on how to survive the “group trip.”
Know the people in your group.
Different people have different vacation styles. Some people like to go to a destination with a beach and just lay around on the beach all day; everyday. You may want to bring some good books, head phones, a portable charger, and hope for some good wifi if you plan to hang with these people. Other people like to tour every nook and cranny of a place. They will want to take every tour offered at the hotel regardless if they begin at 6am (no one should get up that early on vacation). Be prepared to have some interesting cultural experiences but bring your walking shoes. Your flip flops will not survive. Then there are people who like to sleep in but party all night long. Make sure you pack your freak ‘em dresses. The key to surviving a vacation with any of these groups of people is to know how they like to vacation ahead of time. If their vacation style is different from yours, be sure to bring a friend/family member that has a vacation style more closely to yours. You need someone with you who will want to do the things that you want to do.
Don’t be afraid to separate from the group
One of the stories that I hear most about why someone did not enjoy their group vacation is always about feeling forced to do things decided by the group even though they did not really want to do them. My response is always the same, why didn’t you do what you wanted to do instead?
I think that people really do not understand their own power. If the group is deciding on a specific activity and you do not want to go, it is okay to say that. More than likely there is one other person that would love to do something else as well. You will never find that person if you both are afraid to speak up. In addition, the benefit of going on a group trip is that it brings a diverse group of people together with a common goal; having fun. Use that diversity to your advantage. You do not have to stay with the group the entire time. If you want to go zip lining but the majority of the group is afraid to go, feel free to go with with a subset of the group. You can always meet up with the whole group later for dinner. If you want to go to bar but some of your friends/family members did not bring the appropriate clothes, you can go with the people who were prepared. The key to making any vacation great is to make sure that you do the things that you want to do. That does not mean that sometimes you will not comprise and do things for the good of the group but you should not leave your trip feeling like you did not see the things that you wanted to see or do the things you wanted to do.
In order to get the most out of your time on any vacation, it is important to plan ahead. In addition to making sure that you bring a variety of clothes to accommodate different activities, it is important that you research a few things that you definitely want to do before you go. I do not like to plan everything out because I like to leave room for spontaneity but you should decide on at least 2 or 3 activities that you want to do. This will be beneficial for a few reasons. It will allow you to poll the group before the trip to see if everyone is interested in participating in a particular activity or allow you to identify a subset of the group that will engage in that activity with you. It also allows you to earmark part of your budget for these activities so that you have a clearer idea of how much you will spend. Finally, the key to planning some activities ahead of time is that no matter how many times you found yourself comprising for the good of the group, you can find joy in the fact that you did some of the things that you wanted to do. After all, a vacation is your time. Use it wisely.