March 18th, 2014

How to Survive a Group Vacation

How to Survive a Group Vacation

Heading out of town for a family reunion trip, guys weekend, girlfriend getaway? Use these strategies to ensure that you have an incredible time with your crew—no matter what the group dynamic or curveballs you may encounter on along the way.

Whether you’re thinking of hopping a flight with your extended family, a handful of close friends, or a huge group of long-lost buddies, a group vacation offers you and your traveling companions the opportunity to reconnect, recharge, and make some new memories. Once you’ve nailed down the group travel logistics (where you’d like to go, the size of your travel budget, and what you hope to do together) take these extra steps to ensure that you make the most of your trip—and experience the relaxing benefits of your long-awaited getaway.

#1. Plan to Compromise

It goes without saying you’ll want to pre-agree on all the logistical stuff – like where you want to go, how you’ll get there, who’s packing what, and how much you want to spend. But just as important is preparing your mind for the inevitable compromising you’ll face once you arrive. There’s probably little chance you and your traveling companions will be able to do, see, and eat everything on your wish list, so whittle down your must-do items. Or, agree to split up one day in order to hit the spots that are most important to each one of you.

#2. Take Care of Your Heath

When you prioritize your well being, you’ll be better equipped to deal with whatever the day brings. So don’t compromise on eating healthy meals, exercising, and getting a proper night of sleep (or whatever else keeps your motor running!). For most of us, mental health also calls for a healthy dose of alone time, so try to weave that in, too – find a moment to quietly read by yourself, break off for dinner with a smaller group, or even throw on your day pack for a solo hike. These small moments are wise investments for you and whoever’s traveling with you.

#3. Lose the Kids, If You Have Them

Okay, not literally – but just for a few hours, so you can enjoy some much deserved alone time with your significant other. Several hotel destinations have kids-only game rooms and events that come with plenty of adult supervision. Some properties also offer babysitting services, often conducted through a reputable third party, so you can enjoy a romantic dinner or a night out with the entire group.

#4 Prepare for Not-So-Fun Moments

At some point, you could be stuck on a tour led by a guide with absolutely no sense of humor. Figure out your coping strategy now. Plan to practice covert meditation, work on solving a bunch of pre-memorized logic puzzles, or invent a basic silent code language with a trusted compatriot. Challenging yourself to take these less-than-exciting moments in good humor will keep them from ruining your day, and hearing the hundredth fact about rock sediment is a lot more bearable when you can secretly signal a friend that you’re zoning out and thinking about dinner.

#5 Play to the Group’s Strengths

When traveling, we all bring something to the table—some of us like to research restaurants, hikes and activities, while others like to navigate, negotiate or help settle up the bill. If you’re the trip organizer, divvy up these tasks so that your traveling companions feel involved in the planning experience (and you don’t end up doing all the work!). If you’re just along for the ride, offer to help the main planner with a specific activity or task.

#6 Don’t Indulge the Drama Queen

There’s usually one in every group: that person who decided your group vacation is the perfect time to air a grievance or stir up trouble among the ranks. Resist the temptation to get dragged into a loaded conversation that end up ruining the day—or your trip. Acknowledge the person’s feelings, and request that you discuss the situation privately (or better yet, after you return home). Despite what we see on reality TV, group vacations are not the time to resolve major issues!

#7 Focus on the Positive

More people on your group getaway equals more potential for more fun and a broader experience. Try to learn something positive from every person – they can be a reason to go someplace you might not have chosen, pick up a new skill, or discuss a new country or lifestyle you don’t know much about. And if your co-vacationers are from all over the country (or better yet, world), start getting tips about what to see and do on your next trip (it’s never too early to think about your next destination!).

What advice would you give to someone planning a big group getaway? Share you tips in the comment section below!

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