In a couple of weeks time we’re heading to Berlin for a long weekend with a group of friends. I’m so excited, as it will be my first visit to the city and I’ve heard so much good stuff about it that I don’t even know where to start with my exploring! I’m also really looking forward to hanging out with our friends again as they are the same people we did our road trip with in South Africa.
I was just thinking about it the other day and realised that we all learnt some valuable lessons about group travel from that trip. With up to 12 of us travelling together at times (we had all gone over for our friends’ wedding) it was obviously important to ensure that things ran smoothly and that we didn’t all end up falling out along the way!
So here are my top tips for successful group travel:
Decide beforehand how you’re going to make decisions
Whenever you’re in a large group people are always going to have different views so it’s best to decide in advance how you’re going to settle any differences. As we were such a big group we used a voting system. If we were trying to decide which town to stop in or where to go for lunch we were given the options and each person had one vote. We found that this was the fairest (and, more importantly, the quickest!) way to do things. I guess in a smaller group you could take it in turns to decide what to do each day. But whichever way you choose to do it, it’s best to agree in advance so that everyone knows
Have a kitty
We learnt this lesson the hard way, after trying to split a dinner bill at the end of a long day. We’d all had a fantastic meal but the stress of everyone trying to work out their own proportion of the bill at the end of the meal meant lots of needless little arguments were caused. From then on we just decided to pay into a kitty, which was used to for meals, petrol and entrance fees to parks etc. If people in the group prefer to pay for their own meals then I’d recommend two things: 1. Just let one person be in charge of working out the bill 2. Take a calculator!
Make sure you have some down time
Sometimes it’s difficult if you’re on a short trip, or you have a lot of things to fit in to your itinerary, to make sure that you get enough rest. But this can sometimes lead to you feeling tired and a bit grumpy, which is especially not good in a group situation, where one person’s terrible taste in music could tip you over the edge! So we found it really helpful just to have some days where we spent the morning chilling out on the beach or had an afternoon when we could just potter around the town we were staying in. It gave us a chance to explore and also stopped us from going crazy with each other!
Share out the chores
This is really important if you’re doing self-catering, like we were, and especially when there’s a big group. We spent two-and-a-half weeks together so during that time we had to make a lot of trips to the supermarket, do a lot of cooking and lots and lots of washing up! Luckily everyone was really good about mucking in and helping out, but sometimes in a large group it’s easy to sit back and let others do all of the work but that won’t go unnoticed for long and can often be the start of problems.
Don’t be afraid to do your own thing
During out trip Mr A and I had a lovely couple of days by ourselves in Cape Town. As much fun as we had hanging out with all of our friends it was also really nice to go off and do our own thing for a bit. We had an amazing chilled out afternoon at the Mount Nelson Hotel and felt totally refreshed when we went back to join our friends. I’m sure they also appreciated the break from my constant chatting!
Do you have any tips for travelling in a group?