It is no secret that planning group trips is a feat many have failed at time and time again. From starting off with 30 attendees, that somehow dwindles to five when it’s time to fly out, to disagreements over itinerary activities, planning group trips can sometimes be anything but pleasant.
To prevent dozens of future group trip fiascos, Black millennials chimed in on how to avoid pitfalls and unforeseen disasters when preparing for a travel excursion with your friends and family.
Know Everyone’s Budget First
One of the biggest issues encountered when planning a group trip is inconsistencies amongst attendees when it comes to the cost of the trip. Whether you’re traveling frugally or balling out of control, make sure everyone is aligned and in agreement on how much each individual will pay to attend.
“Understand your friends and their incomes and responsibilities,” Nigil Horton said. “If you know one of your friends doesn’t have the disposable income to spend $1,000 plus dollars on a random vacation, or might not have the support system to have a reliable babysitter, don’t plan a trip that would put them in a bind.”
In addition to having funds for their travel and housing, make sure each attendee also has money for food, activities, and to cover any other out-of-town expenses they may incur.
Travel With Like Minded Personalities
Traveling with like-minded people guarantees you’ll have the experiences you desire while visiting your destination. Everyone is different, and you have to keep that in mind when planning a getaway as a group.
“Some people like to relax on vacation and some like to turn up,” Jasmine Goodwin said. “So you have to balance that.”
When planning your group trip, it’s vital that everyone is on the same page when it comes to vacation plans both before and during the trip to avoid frustration and confusion.
Don’t Be Afraid to Opt for A Hotel Over An Airbnb
The idea of a massive mansion laced with a pool and a bidet in every bathroom for you and your friends to party in for a week may seem alluring. However, don’t be afraid to go for a hotel stay over a rental property for your next group trip.
While planning her travel destination wedding to Puerto Rico in 2017, Anastasia Lige found a hotel better suited the needs of her 54 traveling guests.
“We wanted to make sure that no one would be inconvenienced with price changes due to anyone backing out at the last minute,” Lige said. “The hotel offered us a group rate with a window for people to pay for their stay. This alleviated a lot of stress and made the process more, ‘If you come, you come. If you don’t, you don’t!'”
Thoroughly assess the needs and budgets of your group to decide the best choice for housing on your trip.
Have an Itinerary
Planning an itinerary ensures you and your traveling buddies have a set list of activities for each day of your stay, while also helping with establishing the overall budget. Take account of everyone’s interests and research similar activities in the area.
An itinerary also helps you ensure your group can enjoy time together instead of having to split up.
“It’s easier to stay together the whole day instead of having half the people run off and do one and the rest go do something else,” Monique Mitchell said.
Make A Group Chat
Unsure of which activities to include on your itinerary? Or maybe you want a hub for all group trip communication? Creating a trip group chat is the perfect way to stay in constant contact with your attendees, brainstorm on itinerary activities, and keep everyone excited as the trip draws nearer.
A group chat is also a great way to send reminders of deadlines for payments and to make sure everyone gets their money in on time.
Plan Ahead For Pandemic Restrictions
Waiting until the last minute when planning for a group trip can lead to a plethora of problems that could have easily been avoided. Due to the pandemic, airlines, attractions, and hotels have all experienced delays, price increases, and cancellations that you want to plan for when traveling.
Some restaurants even have new safety and social distancing guidelines in place that may not accommodate large parties. Nya Fuentes witnessed this firsthand on a group trip to Puerto Rico, creating a rift in their cultural dining experience.
“We went in the middle of the pandemic, so dining was kinda a toss-up,” Fuentes said.
Plan ahead for COVID-19 restrictions by contacting restaurants and attractions beforehand to make sure they can accommodate your group and ensure they are still in business.
Tap In with A Travel Agent
If filtering through an endless list of hotels and flights makes you cringe, you might want to connect with a travel agent to assist your group with tapping into all the fun and opportunities available in your destination. While traveling internationally with Black Girls Backpack, Porsha Key was able to rest easy on every trip knowing a travel agent mapped everything out for her.
“The good thing about this trip is I didn’t have to plan a thing,” Key said. “The creator/vacation travel agent planned everything from flights to lodging. She even included excursions at each destination.”
Anticipate Snags Early
No matter how great of a planner you are, chances are at least one thing will go wrong when planning a group trip. Save everyone some stress by anticipating these hiccups in advance and creating a game plan in case something does go wrong.
While traveling abroad, Key encountered a few mishaps with flights and says to always be prepared when tapping into travel deals.
“Prices changed because of peaks in season,” she said. “Also, some of the airline layovers weren’t my favorite. We spent long periods of time in airports. You can catch really great deals taking advantage of layovers, however, be prepared for connecting flight delays.”
Set & Stick to Deadlines
Being transparent and firm with deadlines aids in being inclusive of everyone’s budget and time. Make sure you give each attendee ample notice, so they have enough time to pay for their trips and prepare to travel.
“Everyone’s finances are different, so the more advanced notice you give people, the more successful the trip will probably be and the more people you’ll be able to have go,” Goodwin said. “People start backing out when their money is acting funny, but if you give them enough notice ahead of time, usually it all works out.”
Don't Hesitate to Explore Solo
Are you going on a group trip but want to plan a few solo missions during your vacation? Don’t hesitate to venture out on your own and explore your travel destination through a self-guided lens.
“I’d say be prepared to move alone,” Key said. “Everyone is not going to want to do the same thing. Especially when the group is larger and made up of smaller sets of friends. Don’t be afraid to break out.”
If you do decide to explore solo, away stay by keeping the group updated on your whereabouts or by sharing your location with a friend traveling with you.