The most stressful parts of group travel are trying to make sure you have the information you need before you need it and dealing with the logistics of getting from place to place. The best thing you can do is communicate, communicate, communicate. As with any group, everyone has their own communication style. If you treat a travel plan like you treat a well-designed presentation, you are guaranteed to ensure that all members of the audience comprehend what’s going on.
And since I have worked in corporate America for more than 30 years, I can show you how! In fact, I *just* came back from a 3-day team meeting and put some of these tips to work!
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There is nothing worse than spending half of your precious vacation time figuring out where people from the group are, repeating information, and sifting through a variety of opinions on the go. Here are some great tips for putting together a fabulous trip outline for a group of people, to make sure everyone is on board with the plan and has a blast.
Plot Your Values
Everyone going on the trip is a team. That means it is each person’s responsibility to be honest about what they want, what they expect, and what they need, including their limitations. It also means that the other members of the group need to have each other’s backs.
Start your group planning by asking everyone what is important to them. If you take everyone’s answers and ask them to assign a point value to just how important it is to them, you will get some really good information. Let the group see how they, as a whole, prioritize things and then build consensus.
Record all the Reservations
Since reservations involve set times and locations, they are the framework of the trip. Everyone who is traveling should know them. That way the whole group is responsible for staying on time, even as you make impromptu decisions throughout the day.
Typically, a calendar works well for displaying reservations or other hard-and-fast deadlines. However, sometimes a map makes more sense or can be paired with the chart to help everyone understand the ‘where’ part of the timeline.
I also think a travel planner works well for this and you can buy one for each person in the group and use it as a souvenir afterward. You can also buy a digital one, fill it in and make a copy for everyone.
Scatterplot a Map
Things like weather, crowds, and the group’s energy levels are not always going to be easy to predict. You may want to pivot away from a planned activity if you show up and the line to get in is too long or the weather is too extreme.
Instead of tediously scrambling to find an alternative activity from scratch, be ready for the unexpected with a map of things to do nearby. A simple way to organize this information is to place a number or letter on the map where the activity is located.
Then on a separate sheet or the back of the map, write out a list with those same numbers or letters and the important information for the site, such as hours of operation, cost, and any other vital information.
This will also help you map out the best route for getting from one place to another and to group activities that are conveniently located near each other. Save your aching feet and limit transit time!
Tamp down the potential stress of unexpected travel issues by cataloging some handy resources you can have to help you solve issues before they are problems. Keep a searchable Google Doc, for example, so you can easily pull up the information you want without missing a beat. Add things like the phone number for your roadside assistance service, the hotels where you will stay, and restaurants where you have reservations.
Consider having a list of splurges too. Knowing how to quickly engage the best mobile spa in town or to hire amazing local talent for shows, which you can catalog like for “theaters near me,” or for comedians near me, can take a group trip to the next level of awesome.
Reserve Time for Self Care
As you plan, it’s smart to check your math to make sure you allow for enough time for you and your travel companions to rest, recuperate, and reflect on what you have been up to. If you are really type-A plot the time you plan to spend into a pie chart.
Be sure to include travel time, time for the activities, time for sorting out logistics and miscellany, as well as rest and relaxation time. Since humans need to sleep for about one-third of the day, and that is the bare minimum of downtime you need, a pie chart can be a gut check for whether your plans are realistic or doomed to drive you to exhaustion.
If rest and relaxation are only a small fraction, then you are probably overbooked. If it’s more than half, you will probably have a lot of downtime on your hands.
The most important part is that your team is on board and agrees to the plan! So, get going with helping them visualize what’s to come.
How about you? How do you plan for a group trip? Have any suggestions? Do share!
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