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A Complete Guide to Traveling With Friends and Family

Gather Vacations
| Vacation Planning

Traveling with a group of friends or family members can be extremely enjoyable, but it requires some advance planning. Everyone has their own interests and energy level, and you might also have travelers of different age groups. From lodging to activities to meals, this kind of trip has a lot of moving parts to take care of, but the benefits can be enormous. Stronger friendships and family bonds can be formed, and travelers can make memories that last a lifetime.

The following complete guide to traveling with a group of friends and family can help you get started:

  • Designate one (or more) group leaders.

Traveling with a group will progress more smoothly if you have a group leader. This gives others in the group someone to go to with questions and keeps things on track. If your trip is relatively short and someone has the time to do it, one leader can work well. For longer trips that include a lot of meals, activities, and other elements, putting a different person in charge of each part can be helpful. 

  • Utilize social media for planning.

If everyone in your group is comfortable using social media, this can be an easy way to connect everyone and make sure that they’re kept informed. Create a private Facebook group specifically for the trip so the designated organizer can post information and photos and members of the group can comment.

  • Select the right destination.

Different people have different ideas of fun when you’re traveling with a group of friends or family, so choose a destination that has plenty of options when it comes to activities. That way, you’re likely to end up with activities the entire group wants to do together as well as some that smaller groups may branch off to do. A destination with built-in activities – such as one that’s near the beach, mountains, a lake, or other natural setting – is often a good choice when you’re traveling with a group of friends.

  • Choose the right lodging.

Your first thought for lodging might be a hotel, but this separates members of the group from one another for a good part of the trip. You also won’t have access to a kitchen, clothes washer and dryer, and other amenities that can make your trip much easier. A vacation rental home is a much better choice when you’re traveling with a group of friends or family since it allows the group to spend more time together having fun and making memories yet also have some privacy from one another. You’ll be able to cook meals if you’d like to, take care of a load of laundry, and have other convenient touches of home.

  • Ask for opinions about “must-do” activities.

Make sure each traveler has a voice and chooses some “must-do” and “would like to do” activities when you’re still in the early planning stages. That way, no one’s trip is marred by the fact that they wanted to, for example, engage in a particular watersport or take a specific tour, and didn’t get the chance to do it.

  • Allow for some flexibility.

Planning ahead for some group activities and meals is a good idea, but don’t make the mistake of overplanning and leaving everyone exhausted when you’re traveling with a group of friends or family. Leave some time for rest and relaxation and for the larger group to break off into smaller groups for some activities. Since your group is likely to have some different interests, energy levels, and possibly age groups, not every activity needs to include each group member. 

  • Be clear about expenses.

Decide upfront how expenses for the trip will be divided. For example, will the cost of accommodations be split according to each person, or by each room? Is a deposit due, and if so, how will it be paid? Will some activities be paid for in advance? What about meals? Using a mobile payment app like Venmo can make sending payments easy, whether you’re paying your share of a deposit or reimbursing the group leader for your portion of a meal.

Although traveling with a group of friends and family can be more complicated to plan than solo travel, the rewards can be tremendous. By taking the steps outlined in the guide above, you’ll be more likely to have a successful trip that everyone remembers fondly and will be ready to travel again together soon.

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