Travel Better: Tips for Vacationing With a Big Group of Friends

Travel Better: Tips for Vacationing With a Big Group of Friends

Written by Shannon O’Donnell on

Shannon O'Donnell is a long-term traveler who has been on the road since 2008 and has lived everywhere from Southeast Asia to Barcelona, where she now calls home. She travels slowly and supports responsible tourism along the way, winning numerous awards for her work advocating for the communities impacted by travel and tourism.

Travel Better: Tips for Vacationing With a Big Group of Friends

Group travel is majorly in right now: girls’ weekends and bro trips are just two examples of friends hitting the road together. Before you dive into planning the nitty-gritty details, review these quick tips to ensure that your friend adventure (dare we say “friendventure”) goes off without a hitch!

Traveling with your family to make memories or with your significant other to enjoy adventures together are both wonderful, but there’s something particularly awesome about a getaway with your friends. And never has there been a better time to indulge in a girls’ or guys’ getaway weekend because group travel is a growing trend worldwide. If you’re planning an epic adventure, or even a cozy gathering with a group of friends, follow this process to ensure it’s a seamless experience for everyone.

Pick a Great Destination

There are some classic destination for group travel: Vegas, Orlando (matching t-shirts at Disney World!), and Hawaii are all American hotspots. Great international destinations for traveling with friends include: St. Lucia (fitness retreats and gorgeous Caribbean views), a hiking trip to Kyrgyzstan for a sporty trip in an off-the-beaten-path location, and Iceland’s range of available adventure activities—you could make an amazing Iceland group itinerary to visit the breathtaking beauty and bounty of natural attractions like Thingvellir National Park and the Blue Lagoon. Of course, the time of year you are traveling will play a big role in determining where you go. Weather is a huge factor in how well you can execute a group trip, so plan your trip in the shoulder seasons for the best combination of good weather in each place and fewer crowds.

Make Planning Fun

One of the best parts of group travel is planning everything together. Research shows that half of the experience is the anticipation, so don’t overlook this time to dream big together and come up with an amazing itinerary. Coordinate your schedules—it’s truly worth figuring out a time everyone can be present!—and gather at someone’s house for dinner, or hit a restaurant or bar that isn’t too loud. Order a few rounds, and let the brainstorming begin! Or, if you need to gather everyone and make plans online you can do that to! As you progress in your planning, plan regular meetups a part of your schedule. You’ll find this way that the excitement of laying plans is as fun as the anticipation of the actual trip!

Make a Group Packing List

To make sure that everyone brings everything they need—no mean feat!—put one person in charge of creating a group packing list. You’ll want the obvious items, like sufficient clothing, undies, and toiletries for the length of your trip, but you’ll also want to customize your list based on where you are going and what you are doing. Heading on a trek? Include hiking boots and moleskin bandages for the inevitable blisters. Are you staying in a big city and hitting lots of museums? Make sure everyone comes equipped with an umbrella for possible rainy days. This is also an excellent time to assign out shared items—like hair driers, portable speakers, and air mattresses—so no one doubles up.

Travel Smart

Coordinating travel with several people in your party can be a logistical nightmare if you don’t go about it the right way. Elect one person in your group—ideally the most responsible one—as your coordinator, and let them handle booking the hotel rooms, transportation, and admission tickets, if necessary. Designate another friend as group treasurer, and put them in charge of the money. Keeping too many hands out of the proverbial pot will help logistics move swifter and with greater efficiency. Whenever you book, whether it’s a block of rooms or an adventure tour, always ask about group discounts. This may not apply if you’re a small group, but if you have a large party, you can possibly save big! Another little tip is to save on baggage fees by combining luggage. A roomy duffel can easily fit clothing and gear for two, especially if they will be sharing a room. Roomies can also share gadgets, like a travel adaptor, hair dryers, and more—anything you can consolidate, you should!


Related Links (from Eagle Creek blog):

Packing Checklist: Girls' Getaway Weekend

7 Tips for Visiting Vegas on a Budget

Tips for International Travel