If you’ve ever travelled together with many people, you probably know you never get bored. And sometimes – you get annoyed. Is it possible to travel with many friends and avoid practical issues and frustration? It is. I have had several travels in a group of 6 to 12 friends – some of these were holidays in popular resorts while others were road trips to rather alternative locations. During my trips I’ve found out that the basics of group travel remain similar in all types of adventures. So here I present 9 tips that are sure to make your group travel more fun and smooth.
1. Book accommodation with sufficient amenities
Staying in a big hostel room or booking an apartment through Airbnb? Whichever option you choose, make sure you have a fair amount of bathrooms and showers, and the kitchen is big enough. My most memorable group travel was a recent trip to Mallorca with 12 friends. The beautiful house we rented had one bathroom for all of us (with a shower and WC combined). Unless you’d enjoy making a waiting list for using the toilet, make sure there is at least one bathroom for 4-5 people.
2. Agree it is OK to split up for a while
Our Mallorca team compiled architects, engineers, artists, programmers, and others. Naturally, we had different sights and activities on our to-do lists. To keep everyone happy, some days we split up – some of us went to the museum, while others sunbathed or went on a boat trip. We tried to plan the activities so that all of us could do everything we had in mind.
Splitting up for some time can be a good thing. Here’s why:
- A smaller group can organize itself better and get around easier.
- You won’t grow tired of each other too soon.
- You’ll be able to share your experiences and find out about other cool stuff to be done in your destination.
3. Order thematic t-shirts or accessories
Here comes the fun part where you show all the world what a cool crowd you are! You can even come up with your own “tour agency” and name it after an inside joke of your group.
4. Book restaurants & bars ahead
Not all places will have enough free tables for a big group of people – especially if you travel to a touristic location in high season. If possible, I suggest to choose a place before and book a table ahead. This way you’ll also avoid tiring discussions when choosing a restaurant – in a big group, there are usually many different opinions. In any case – always remember Tip No 2. If some of you are vegetarians while others dream about a dinner in a steak restaurant, splitting up is a good solution to keep everyone happy.
5. Use an app for splitting expenses
When traveling with a bunch of friends, it’s impossible to avoid issues with paying and sharing costs. At least it wasn’t until apps like Tricount or Splitwise came along. These tools are real life-savers for going out and traveling with a group of friends. Instead of collecting receipts and remembering who paid what, just log the payment in the application and it will do all the calculations for you. At the end of the travel, just check who owes money to whom and settle it all in one go!
6. Switch “Flexible mode” on
In any group of friends, there can be small misunderstandings and arguments. However, it’s important to remember you’re all here to enjoy your holidays and have a great time. Sometimes you have to give up a bit of comfort for the sake of someone else or the whole group. This will be easier if you set your mood to easygoing from the moment you start packing your suitcase.
Still, if at some point during the travel you feel you need some alone time, that’s perfectly fine too. Refresh yourself for a few hours and come back even more happy and lively than before.
7. Activities are more fun in a group
The best thing about group travel are the fun activities you can do together!
Pro Tip: While you’re having all the fun in the world, try making a video of it and later adding music in the background. If you’re not really a pro in video editing, chip in with your friends and order it from a video editing service. This will be a fantastic souvenir of your epic trip!
8. Ask for group discounts
What counts as a “group” can vary – starting from flight tickets until different museums, touristic sights and other points of interest. However, it’s worth to check online (or ask at the ticket office) if you are eligible for a discount. For example, we got a discount for renting four scooters in our Mallorca trip. Also, if you all shop together in a market or an artisan shop, you can try to bargain for a better price if you buy several items.
9. Make a soundtrack for your trip
Music is a great way to add an emotional dimension to your travel. A few days before your trip, ask everyone to pick 5-15 of their favorite songs, depending on the size of your group. Add them to a shared Spotify playlist or make a copy of a CD as a souvenir for each of your travel buddies. Then listen to these songs wherever you go! But don’t make the playlist too long – otherwise, it will be difficult to develop associative memories with your trip.
The more, the merrier…?
No doubt, traveling in groups is fun and exciting. However, don’t make your group too large or it can turn into a disorganized bunch of grumpy people who want different things. The most important piece of advice for your travelling crowd – take everything lightly! If you face a problem, take it with a smile or even laugh about it. All the travelling hiccups are easier to overcome with a bunch of supportive friends’ shoulders around you.