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How to (Actually) Get the Group Trip Out of the Group Chat

We all have that one friend in our group who suggests everyone gets together for a big trip to a fabulous destination in the near future. Maybe they throw out ideas of places like Rome, Thailand, or a beach in California. Everyone in the group chat jumps in and agrees a trip needs to happen, but then it never comes back up again. What is that about? If we all need a vacation and we all love to travel, why does getting the group trip out of the group chat seem like such an impossible feat?

Believe it or not, it doesn’t have to be. As a solo traveler and someone who once planned a group trip to Bali, Indonesia with 10 other women who were complete strangers, I’m here to give you some practical tips on how to get the group trip out of the group chat without the stress.

Three friends with suitcases walk through the lobby of HI New Orleans hostel

Team Captains

In school when we would play sports like soccer, basketball, or dance in my case, we’d have team captains. Planning a group getaway  shouldn’t be any different: try designating team captains for the trip. Assign a different task to everyone who will be joining so that all the planning doesn’t fall on one person. 

It’s best to assign tasks based on peoples’ individual strengths or interests if you can. Your friend who is super type A and organized should be the captain of planning daytime activities. The night owl of the group who is always available anytime past midnight should be in charge of nightlife. Your friend who always has the best restaurant recs and wants to taste the world should plan meals and where you’ll eat. 

a polaroid photo of three friends eating hamburgers and laughing at a table outside.

Do you see where I’m going with this? There’s so much to do on a trip that each person can spearhead an activity. Make sure you get the group’s input and suggestions on things they’d like to do in relation to your task, and plan accordingly. It takes the pressure off that one friend who always ends up having to plan everything, but also adds an element of surprise for the group: each day, you get to see what another friend planned. 

If you want to take it a step further, you can even have each person be captain for a day during the trip. This person will be in charge of making sure everyone wakes up on time, makes all the scheduled times to visit places on your list, and leads you in which direction to go for the day (this comes in handy if you’re directionally challenged like me). This allows the others in the group to just go with the flow and chill. Traveling should be fun for everyone in the group, so share the load and distribute duties evenly amongst each other.

Calendar Milestones

four male friends sit overlooking green mountains

I’m very big on calendars – I currently have three that I use and operate off of daily – and I fully suggest you take advantage of shared calendars for your next group trip! In this shared calendar, you and your friends can mark down big milestones that you should hit as you start to approach your trip. Maybe three months out, everyone should have 75% of the funds needed saved up. Six weeks before your trip, all accommodations/lodging should be booked. Two weeks out, the group has a rough itinerary created. Whatever milestones you need to hit in order to make your trip a reality should go in this calendar. 

I know saving can be a big point of contention when traveling. Having a visual plan in place of how much everyone needs to save and by what date can make a huge difference. It’s a way for everyone in the group to keep each other accountable. The best part is that each milestone can be a cause for celebration because it means your trip is that much closer to becoming a reality.

Get Help if You Need it

I said at the beginning that I planned a group trip with myself and 10 other women to go to Bali, Indonesia, and that is true. But I did have a bit of help, as I organized the trip through a travel company that specializes in group travel. If you are a part of a friend group that won’t abide by deadlines or pick up the mantle when it’s time to lead the charge, there’s no foul in planning through a company. 

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!

Three young women walking down the beach laughing

The biggest takeaway is that so many things need to be communicated in order to keep everyone on the same page. If you may be short on funds, or if you worry about planning an activity for the group because you’re not the best planner, be upfront about it with your friends. If you need more downtime than everyone else and just want a solo day on your trip, let the group know in advance. With good communication, your group can find and enact solutions to any issues that may arise in a timely manner. I’m sure everyone in your group will appreciate it and you’ll all be better for it. You all left for the trip as friends, and I want to make sure you return still friends!

This is the year that your group trip is finally going to happen. Send this post to the group chat and discuss whether these tips are possible for you all to do. You never know – this time next year you could be walking the streets of Paris taking in views of the Eiffel Tower with your best friends and favorite people right next to you.