Before you go any further, let me stop you right there and tell you that this isn’t the place for you if you’ve been a victim of 33 different “Let’s go to Goa!” plans that have failed, crashed and burned, time and again, on Whatsapp groups. Most of us have been there, done that, and spent long weekends cursing all of our friends for getting excited and then dropping out by giving “Nahi yaar, kaam hai”, or an equally disheartening excuse for cancelling at the last minute.
This is for those of you legends who have successfully managed to gather and convince enough people to agree on the plan and now want to go on a bigger trip. Here is how you follow through!
1. Destination research and time
Two things that you need to know right off the bat: where are you off to, and how long do you plan to be away for. The largest chunk of your plan depends on these two important questions because applying for leaves, booking tickets, hotel confirmations - it all comes down to this.
2. Who’s in, who’s out?
You NEED to finalize your list of people who are going on the trip, and it needs to be done at the earliest. It can’t be a last minute ‘Oh, I’ll have to see’, or a ‘Can I tell you in a few days?’ that’s extended to no foreseeable future.
3. Democracy is your easy way out
With a big group of people, it’s quite obvious that everyone will want to do their own thing and it’s going to be the least productive vacation with everyone headed in different directions. Gather options on activities and take a vote on each of them, and the group has to go with the majority of votes - the easiest solution ever!
Your bookings need to be done in bulk, and at one go. So may it be flight tickets for people, renting a house/cottage for the stay or adjacent rooms in a hotel, getting from point A to B in buses or SUVs; they all need to be done keeping a headcount in mind.
5. Air miles, discounts, and offers up for grabs!
Websites like Kayak, Make My Trip, Expedia, Booking.com, and Agoda are some of the best websites that you need to register on to grab deals on flights and hotel bookings.
6. Communication is key
And so is making sure every member of the group is comfortable and onboard with the kind of communication channel you set up. It can be a Google Sheet of itineraries set up for the whole trip, a Whatsapp group that includes all the members, or even two or three people who can have designated roles of planning different phases of the trip.
7. Be prepped for a lot of not-very-active time
Because of course relaxing on a group holiday is just as important as having fun! Not everyone has the energy boost to stay on their toes for 10 hours a day, and not everyone’s idea of a vacation is to laze around all day and do nothing either. Set the perfect balance between sightseeing and periods of laziness, keeping in mind the general age in the group as well.
8. Remember - it’s a holiday, not a chore!
It can get overwhelming to plan a trip for a group vacation, but you need to keep your eye on the ball - it’s a ‘group’ vacation! Don’t go overboard by signing up for ambitious treks and tours that people may not be up for.
Calm your nerves, let go of the control-freak in you, and don’t forget you’re supposed to be having a good time too, and not take over as a drill sergeant with a sour mood!