Let’s be real, traveling is always more fun when you have someone to share the experiences with. And while I’m a huge advocate for solo travel, I’ve also had incredible experiences traveling in groups and exploring new places together. So before you embark on your travels together, learn more about how to group travel successfully!
Yeah it’s awkward to talk about money, but face it: if you don’t talk about it before you travel, then you’ll be in the new city, hungry and fighting over if everyone an afford the nice restaurant or moonlit boat tour in front of the Parliament Building and it won’t end up so nice. If people are shy about their money, you can also ask what they’re willing to splurge on and what they do not believe is a good deal. Compromise will be necessary, but whatever you do, don’t let money get in the way of travel friendships!
Be open about accommodations
Chances are when you’re traveling in a big group, you can’t exactly crash on someone’s couch for a couple nights. However, when there’s a bigger group of you, there are also some cheaper options out there. For groups of four or more, it’s usually cheaper to get an Airbnb apartment and split the housing cost. Some big pros of getting an Airbnb include: having a kitchen to cook meals together, being in a more residential/authentic part of the city, having a cool host to give you recommendations of places to eat and and see, and not having to deal with dirty hostel showers or weird bunkmates. Other ideas include: all 8 people getting the same room in an 8-bed hostel dorm room, camping on the beach, and renting out a cheap hotel room. The options are endless!
Be clear about bucket lists
Lots of traveling friends means lots of traveling opinions. Before your visit, be clear about what is important to see and, if necessary, split up into smaller groups for day trips, tours, or hiking trails. In my trip to Germany, a friend and I stayed in Berlin for a bit before traveling Munich because wanted to see the Berlin Wall. The others wanted to visit Neuschwanstein Castle so arrived early to Bavaria. By splitting up, everyone got to see what they wanted and nobody felt like they had to over-compromise by skipping out on their must-sees. In another case, I went to see the Eiffel Tower at night while others went out to eat crepes. Win-win.
A biggest complication I ran into abroad with big groups is that everyone has different metabolisms and hunger schedules. While some of us could go hours without eating, others needed snacks every two hours or we all had to live with their hanger. While it did feel annoying at times to stop often for food, it was absolutely worth it because well-fed traveling buddies make for happy and adventurous traveling buddies. Before traveling, talk about how often everyone needs to eat and plan a bit ahead. If you will be hiking, make sure you stock up on snacks. If you will be in the city, earmark some good restaurants near every attraction so that you can eat a good meal no matter what time it is.
Keep a personal journal of your experiences
Again, as an introvert, I always feel the need to explore a city in my own way. However, if you do choose to spend your travel experience together as a group, don’t forget to recap on your experiences each night. This way, in addition to the numerous of fun stories you’ll have to share with your friends when you return home, you’ll also have a record of your own personal discoveries and perceptions of the city. Moreover, you’ll have a way to solo travel with your best friends as well.
Take pictures but know when to turn off the screens and enjoy each other
More people means more pictures and more ways to capture the moment. However, as with any type of traveling, be sure to put down the electronics, step away from the screen and live in the moment. A huge pet peeve that I had when traveling with a group was when we would all return to our hostel or Airbnb and everyone would just open up their smartphones and scroll through Facebook. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media. However, traveling with friends is a unique experience, so don’t let any moment go wasted.
So where will you travel to next? And who will you travel with?