Girls trip, guys trip, couples trips, group trips, family vacation….Travel is always better when you experience it with the ones you love and the whole purpose of a trip is to have a great time!
BUT planning travel with others can be challenging. It takes a little effort to make sure everyone’s wants and needs are being met but it can be done, everyone’s sanity still intact!
Successfully plan a trip with friends by following the steps listed in this article
Planning a fun getaway with friends?
Are you wanting to plan a road trip with friends? Or maybe meet up half way around the world? No matter what kind of trip you have in mind a little planning goes a long way to ensure that your trip is a great trip.
The easy steps in this article will help you seamlessly plan group travel while simultaneously allowing everyone to feel involved in the planning process!
But before we start the “how to plan a trip with friends” planning process let’s discuss the one thing that will give you the best chance at a successfully planned and successfully taken trip.
Respect the opinions of all travel partners
The #1 important thing should keep in mind when organizing a group trip and planning group travel is that everyone’s opinion matters. All participants get a vote on all decisions.
Here’s how to get started with group trip planning
Keeping all participants in the travel planning loop can be tricky.
Long email chains? you could send off dozen’s (100’s?) of emails with “reply to all” back and forth (did you forget to reply to all? Did someone get left out of the loop?)
Group calls? Sure as long as everyone can be available at the same time (who’s taking notes?)
I like to use group chat (not group texts, those are the WORST) but the problem with group chats is they get very long and unorganized.
That’s where my #1 trip planning resource for planning and organizing group travel: Social Media is a great way to plan a trip with a group of friends and can save you a lot of time and work. It works for any size travel group, a larger group, smaller groups,
Wondering how to plan a trip with friends the easy way? Facebook groups are the absolute best tool and a good starting point in the planning process! It works the same for a large group or just two of you! long weekends or epic trips across the sea!
Who’s the leader?
First thing: you will want to create a private group for your trip and share with everyone.
Hopefully you have a travel planner in the group. You need 1 person to step up and take charge at the very least to create the group and start a few basic conversation posts.
If you don’t have anyone who is willing to start the process you might want to consider booking an all-inclusive somewhere and just show up with your swimsuit, sunblock and sunny disposition! Not a terrible proposition!
The #1 best way to plan travel with friends: Facebook groups
Organizing group travel with Facebook groups is a snap but what if you don’t use Facebook? You can still use these tips just start a google doc instead. See #8 in the table of contents?
One of my #1 top resource for nearly seamless planning of travel with friends is Facebook groups.
Why use Facebook groups when planning a group trip?
- Everyone has their own travel style. You can use Facebook groups to find the middle ground.
- You can all communicate about your trip in one place.
- It’s organized and I like organization!
- Group members can participate on their terms and when their schedule allows.
- It’s SEARCHABLE! What I love most is the searchable feature. “Let’s see…we discussed golf cart rental weeks ago in the group but I can’t quite recall the details.” Search for it! (magnifying glass at the top of the page)
How to create a Facebook group
Creating a Facebook group is super simple. If you don’t know how you can follow these steps:
Creating a Facebook group on a desktop/laptop computer. First step: on the far left in the scroll down menu select “groups.” On the left again towards the top is a blue bar that says “+create new group.” Now simply start filling in the blanks, easy!
Creating a Facebook group on a phone
Depending which application you are using to view facebook,
- One application works this way: you’ll see the group symbol at the top (a circle with people inside it.) When you select it you’ll see a bar at the top “+create group.”
- Another application works this way: Select the 3 menu bar lines at the top, go to groups, then the dark circle with the plus sign at the top of the page. Not working? try hitting the back button.
Getting Started: How to use Facebook groups to plan travel with friends
Now that you have created a group and all of your travel companions have accepted their invitation you want to start a discussion to answer these questions:
what happens when opinions differ?
Some things to consider when planning a trip with friends are differing opinions. Differing opinions are are a normal part of planning a trip with friends, even with your closest friends.
Here are some easy ways to ensure that everyone gets a vote when organizing group travel.
- Have everyone give their top 3-5 choices and see what matches up.
- Another option is to let participants take turns making choices.
The first thing you probably want to do is decide on a travel budget. It may make a difference on where you will go and set the tone for the whole trip. I have some ideas throughout this article on how to address differences on this subject so keep reading but if you need to start a post to see how much money everyone wants to spend.
Where do you want to go?
Your first order is to pick your spot. Create a post asking where everyone would like to go.
Epic road trip or travel internationally? New places or something familiar? Popular destination or something off the beaten path? Beach babes or Snow bunnies? refreshing mountains or a desert scape? Create a post!
Again, have everyone pick their top 3-5 choices and see what matches up!
Now that you know where you want to go you will want to pick a date.
Certain destinations are best visited at certain times of the year. Beach vacation? avoid hurricane season. Despise crowds? shoulder season! like the mountains but not snow? steer clear of cold months.
You’ll be dealing with work and/or school schedules, prior commitments and some people in your group may need time to save.
How will you get there?
Whether you are traveling together or meeting at your destination, go ahead and start a post about transportation to your destination. This way everyone is on the same page and knows when others are arriving and departing etc.
Looking to score a cheap flight?
Google flights is a great place to shop for the best deals on airfare. They show results for most airlines. You can even track flights and get notifications of fare changes so you can get great deals on your airfare!
You will likely need some form of transportation when you arrive whether it’s airport shuttle, public transportation, rental car etc. Maybe you’re taking a road trip and need to discuss who’s driving and what is expected from passengers as far as contributing to fuel/toll expenses. Once you all agree on your mode of transportation someone will want to, look up transit schedules, information on purchasing train tickets, researching car rentals etc.
Where will you stay?
Will you share hotel rooms? Rent multi bedroom accommodations? Gather information on accommodations at your destination, start a post and start sharing links. I like to start a post “accommodations” and share the options in the comments to keep things neat and organized. I like Booking.com and VRBO for searching out accommodation options.
What if you don’t agree on accommodations?
3 star hotel or 5 star hotel? Hostel or vacation rental? This is one area where budgets may not agree.
If you can’t come to a consensus on a price range you could consider staying in different accommodations and meeting up for meals and activities. It just depends on how much time you want to spend together but having your own space isn’t always a bad thing.
One of the best one stop shops for planning activities is tripadvisor. I simply google “ best things to do in _____ ” and then make my way down the list. Now you can create a post with activity options and again let people choose their top 3-5.
Where will you eat?
Dining tastes run the price range gamut. I prefer middle of the road restaurants. I’ve traveled with people who are into Michelin type fine dining.
This is where the compromise comes in. You can either take a vote, majority wins OR I like to take turns choosing so that everyone gets to eat somewhere that they like.
I do my restaurant research the same way I do my activity research “best places to eat in _____.”
More planning may be in order
I find beach vacations require a lot less planning than my whirlwind European vacations do. If yours is a little more complicated, just keep creating those facebook posts until you have it all hashed out. Things you may want to work out:
- Opening times/days/prices. It’s never fun to show up at Versailles or Windsor Castle just to find out they are closed! Or miss the last sailing for that sunset catamaran excursion you were looking forward to.
- Map out routes and points of interest on your trip. I like to get an idea of my surroundings and know where things are in relation to one another.
“travel is better when you experience it with the ones you love”
Other useful features of Facebook groups
You can even crate a poll for your group!
It’s simple to do. Here’s how! Create a post and click the 3 dots…
as you can see you have some really useful options here. In addition to creating a poll you can also create an event, add a file, use write columns (that’s new and ridiculously useful! can’t wait to use that one!) create a room, live video, and host a question and answer!
What if you don’t use Facebook?
If not everyone in your group is on Facebook there is another good way to make your travel plans. I use Google Docs to organize my travels. Just start a Google Doc and share it with everyone in your group. You can set it to allow all participants to edit the document. If you’re not familiar with Google Docs you can read about it here and even create an account.
How do you deal with trip expenses?
How do you approach trip expenses when traveling with friends, family, and groups? This can be a tricky subject.
Some ways to deal with trip expenses are:
- Everyone pays their own way unless discussed beforehand.
- Share the booking responsibilities: example: You can book the first 4 nights, let them book the last 4. Keep a running total of who booked what and how much they spent. It’s pretty easy to keep things square this way. You can make a post for keeping track of expenses too!
- Our airbnb booking allowed us to split the cost between 3 people guests at our Irish Castle Rental.
- Pay for your own tickets, fees etc. whenever possible. That’s less you have to settle up on later.
Avoid taking on the entire expense of the trip unless you can accept getting stuck with the entire bill. I always recommend purchasing “cancel for any reason travel insurance.” I like to shop at Travelinsurance.com where “cancel for any reason” is one of the search parameters.
Also check with your credit card. Many of them include travel protection.
I have had a friend cancel, I went anyway. It was my first solo travel experience and it was a huge success! Yes, it would have been nice to have someone to share transportation and accommodation costs with but I really wanted to go, so I did!
How to make sure to snag an invite to the next big trip:
The Golden Rule, treat others the way you want to be treated. It’s that simple.
- Do not: be a jerk
- Do: Be kind and courteous.
You may find yourself feeling annoyed, anxious or stressed out. Put on your grownup pants and stay respectful or else they may not be willing to travel with you again any time soon, or ever!
Ways to avoid getting “cranky”
Avoid getting cranky and ensure good travel experiences it’s a good idea to:
- We all need alone time. Schedule some down time where everyone has a chance to recover, relax and rejuvenate
- Naps are great!
- Traveling can get hectic at times. Try to stick to meal times or find some delectable treat to enjoy (you’re on vacation!) No one is on their best behavior when they’re overly hungry.
You won’t always get your way
One of the top things to consider when planning a trip for groups: You won’t always get your way.
Get everyone involved in the planning, everyone should be willing to compromise or be willing to go off on their own on occasion (NOT the end of the world!)
what if your not having a good time?
The reality is things may not go the way you had hoped. People can act badly and the stresses involved in travel can turn your lovely bff into a bratty toddler even when their with their best friends. Don’t let your travel partner/partners steam roll you.
If you are feeling disrespected or otherwise mistreated and are at your breaking point, don’t hesitate to speak up and if the behavior persists by all means don’t be afraid to go your own way for a time and enjoy yourself!
Group trip planning: in conclusion
So now you and your travel friends have some tools to help you make a trip with friends a big success!
It’s all about quality time. You can plan a road trip with friends or a getaway half way around the world! simply plan a trip with friends using Facebook groups, one of the best tools for organizing group travel! You may even find yourself using it to plan a big family vacation / family reunions and anything else your imagination dreams up!
Group trip, girls trip, guys trip, family trip or couples trip round up your favorite travel friends and start planning your best trip yet!
This post is dedicated to my sister-in-law who introduced me to using Facebook groups to plan travel and family events. Thank you Angie Marie Kunze!
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