1. Decide who can go
This may seem like an easy one but you want to make sure that your group only has those people that like to have fun and are easy going. Traveling doesn’t always go smoothly and you don’t want someone traveling with you that will add drama and stress in what could possibly be a difficult situation.
2. Get everyone’s money in advance
Have you ever traveled with someone and they say, “Oh I’ll pay you when we get there.” Well, that may work if there are only 2 or 3 of you but what happens if you have a group of 20 people and no one can pay until the very last minute? That means that whoever is planning the trip (probably you) will have to spend their money to secure all reservations.
And what happens if someone cancels at the last minute? More than likely they won’t feel obligated to pay since they are no longer going and now you are on the hook for the money they were supposed to spend. Friendships have been strained or broken because of things like this so please, get all money upfront from everyone.
If someone doesn’t have the money by the deadline, then they cannot go. When I plan a group trip I get everyone’s money up front and once everything has been paid, there are no refunds if someone has to cancel at the last minute. A last minute cancellation will affect the whole group and that isn’t fair to everyone else.
3. Have your mode of transportation paid for/decided
Will you need transportation during your trip? Whether you are planning a day trip or a week long adventure, the mode of transportation should be decided beforehand and paid for way in advance.
If there is a bus full of people, what will you do with all of those people when you get to your destination? How will you all get around? Are you traveling somewhere that the bus can park and you can walk? Is everyone in your party able to walk? Will the bus driver let people sit in the bus if they get tired? Bus drivers have hours that they can’t exceed, you need to find out before departing how many hours you will have your mode of transportation and how much will it cost if you need extra time. Please don’t assume your driver can stay over because many times, he won’t be able to.
If you have a limo, are you allowed to eat in the limo? Is alcohol provided? And if you are taking your personal car, is the owner of the car supposed to drive the whole time or will you be taking turns? Are you all splitting the gas? If there will be multiple drivers, does each driver have insurance that covers them in someone else’s car?
4. Make sure where you are going will be open
Now this may seem like a no brainer but trust me, it isn’t. You may be sure that where you want to go will be open so you don’t check. But I have known people that have made all types of plans and when they got to their destination, it was closed that day.
Let’s say you are going to a winery and it’s open every Saturday so you don’t check. When you get there you realize it’s closed because there is a wedding going on and the wedding party has rented the whole winery and the only thing you can do is peruse the gift shop.
Your whole group of friends would be really mad at you so please, before you make all these plans, make sure that where you want to go will be open the day you want to be there.
5. Consider the age group
You have to take into consideration the ages of the group because that can determine what you all will or won’t be able to do. Be realistic. Maybe you want to expose kids to a museum, but will a museum that doesn’t have any hands on activities really be the best thing for them?
Or you want a group of older people to experience a lovely park. Are they all going to be able to walk and enjoy the surroundings or do most of them need wheelchairs, walkers, and canes? It’s great to travel and get to see new things, but you have to think about your group.
Is this trip something they will really appreciate? Is it a place that they will find interesting? Sometimes when planning a trip we get so excited about the destination we forget that maybe it isn’t the right place for the people we are traveling with. Also keep in mind the needs of each age group. If you have kids, is where you are going kid friendly? Does everyone have everything they need for the day? (enough snacks, diapers, electronics, strollers, etc?).
I know of one mother who was on a day trip and she thought that where she was going would have a stroller to rent so she didn’t bring hers. There was no stroller rental so she had to carry her baby all day. Is there anyone that takes medication the same time everyday? If so, do they have their meds? You will be amazed at how many people forget their medication when they travel but if someone takes pills after lunch, those pills still need to be taken, no matter where you are.