Commercial break -Travel: Planning group trips

My friends and I are going to Asia together for a wedding.  I believe I’ve already talked about how crazy big this group is going to be.  I had a conversation recently with one of the guys who has done most of the planning for this trip about how it’s going.  It’s funny cause he was actually the one who used to plan our annual Vegas trips right out of college and then we stopped planning group trips in preparation for this wedding. We were chatting about how out of control this trip is getting.  We went into this trip knowing that things would change and we went into this trip knowing that not everyone would be on the same page but with all the different travel plans, it’s definitely made things more difficult.  After this experience here are just a few lessons learned and tips:

  • Determine exactly who is coming from the very beginning.  Anyone else who joins later into the group, will just need to adapt to the current plan or come up with their own plan.
  • Set expectations early. This sounds like something you would do for a meeting, but this needs to be clearly defined so that people know they can either go with the group or plan their own.
  • Facebook messaging is a good way to get people on the same page, but there are better ways to communicate with the group. Use it in the beginning to do some sort of polling or getting emails but Google docs (excel files, word documents) are much easier to use and keep track of.
  • Make known the hard dates that cannot be changed. For example, in the case of the Asia trip, everyone has to be in Taichung for Saturday to Monday.  The only way someone would not plan to be there would be if they were not planning on being at the wedding. This also includes dates for other locations. Hard dates are key to ensure that people can plan accordingly.
  • Multiple options for housing need to be available. In college it was great to shove 6 people into one room for cost savings, but now that you have an adult job, sharing a room with 5 of your closest friends may not be your ideal way to travel.  Look into places that have the option for those who want to save money and those who are willing to pay a little more to have their space.
  • Take into consideration what people are paying for this.  Not everyone wants to pay $150 for a night in a hotel when there are better options that are more affordable.
  • For the people not planning the trip, be okay with going with the flow or planning your own trip.  Everyone has different ways of traveling and the people trying to organize the trip can only accommodate so much.
  • Be transparent and prepared.  Make sure people know travel plans earlier rather than later to ensure that everyone is in the loop.
  • If you’re not planning the trip, and you hear an update, make sure everyone hears the update. Communication is key during this time of organizing
  • Be flexible. Plain and simple. Don’t make things harder than they need to be. The people trying to plan this trip are doing a huge favor and are trying to make this a memorable experience.
  • Make executive decisions. Being indecisive makes planning more difficult, especially as you gain more people into the group
  • Above all else, if you aren’t 100% on board with the plans, there’s nothing wrong with going rogue and planning your own trip around what the group is doing.

Here’s to seeing how our giant Asia trip goes.  I’m really glad that we have some people who have taken charge to plan certain aspects of it. But being the slight control freak/fly by the seat of my pants oxymoron that I am, I have chosen to go slightly rogue on this trip.  We shall see how this goes!

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