Someone needs to take the lead and if that person is you, here are a few easy ways to become the best travel planner in your group
Planning any trip—let alone for a big group—is never stress-free but remind yourself what it's like waking up to the calming sound of gentle waves. This guide is written to help alleviate as much stress as possible because travel should be anything but. If you need to step up to the plate (or you'll never take that overdue vacation), here are five ways to become the one and only travel planner extraordinaire of your group.
1. Make a list of go-to destinations
And know what the main draw of each destination is. Some, like Samui, are ideal for families because of the safe beaches, where else places like Seminyak in Bali are more party-centric. Get familiar with destinations that suit each type of group you may travel with. You wouldn't want to bring a group of vegans to New Zealand without warning; the land of meat pies and possum stew. Having a destination in mind gives everyone something to get excited about.
Go crazy by travelling virtually. Bookmark the most beautiful sights and organise everything according to the destination so it reads like a coffee table book of travel photography. A decade ago you only had printed guides and maps to guide your way, but now with the influx of #travel on social media, the right filter can draw you to your next vacation. If you're a little bit more old-school like we are (let's call ourselves 'timeless' instead), we have a notebook filled with magazine cutouts and tiny notes scribbled on page margins.
Tip: Create Pinterest boards for every destination on your list, pinning attractions and food to each board. If you trust more cooks in the kitchen, add more people to the group.
3. Keep up with travel trends
Sign up for newsletters, insider info, updates on sales and where to travel according to each month. At The Luxe Nomad, you get even more discounts just by signing up or making a booking. If you can haul everyone together, go for it! Or, plan months in advance based on the best time to travel for weather and lower rates. Know the tricks and trades of booking flight tickets at theirlowest.
Tip: The more people you travel with, the more you save on accommodation in a single villa when the cost is divided per head. You can get group villas for less than US$100 per person.
4. Get the little things in order
Ah yes, visas, how this one small thing often escapes us. And are you flying with an infant? Most airlines require you check-in manually in that case. Breathe—here's a recap of what needs attention: visas, authorising credit cards abroad, switching off your mobile data roaming if you don't need it, transfers, and special requests like baby cots and baby-proofing the villa. Take another deep breath and remember that there's no such thing as the 'perfect trip' or the 'perfect trip planner'—which is why we've refrained from naming the article such—because hiccups do happen but it's part and parcel of travelling.
Tip: Set a deadline for your group to come back with their available travel dates, passport info, and other necessary booking info. You snooze, you lose. Literally, you lose your reservation and that's no laughing matter.
5. And the big things, too
The B word; budget. Travelling with couples, children or the odd-one-out budget traveller complicates the expenses plan and we all know how money is a touchy subject. Travelling is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer but where's the money coming from? Some might want to spend on a fancy dinner but others might want their funds on activities.
Tip: Ask the group what they expect from the trip and always have a 'free-and-easy day'.
6. Wow 'em
Stay away from tour groups. Far away. No one discovered an amazing experience with a group of some 30 tourists from China. Go off the beaten path and look for rich experience recommended by other nomads. Or research some of the best sights in the world that are nothing short of unbelievable. The difference between a good travel planner and a great one is how you wow your crowd. Toot your own horn.
Tip: Bring out the big guns like the mysterious Chocolate Hills in Bohol or the Cave of Hands in Argentina. Definitely, travel to one of the last few places you'll get to see the Northern Lights in its final year before a long hiatus.