Those of you who know me well, know I am a super researcher and planner, so I wanted to share a few of my tips on how to plan a group vacation successfully! We wanted to celebrate our tenth anniversary with friends, and to take a little break from planning the vow renewal festivities, so we actually went away before the event. It actually worked really well to just take a little rest before the craziness ensued!
My tips for planning a group trip are:
1) Plan at least 4-5 months in advance. It took time for me to confirm who was definitely interested in coming, and to determine where we were going and you need to get on people’s calendars — some folks book their vacation plans way in advance.
2) Narrow down your potential locations choices and type of trip you are taking. We all decided we wanted to go to the beach.
3) Figure out how much people are willing to spend. I actually researched getting a house, but it was out of our price range, so I decided that an all-inclusive resort would be the easiest way to do a trip with 10 people. No one had to worry about splitting checks or someone ordering expensive food/drinks, etc.
4) Once you have this basic information, research resorts, B&B’s, houses, etc. in the locations of interest and the price range. I am super detailed about reading a lot of reviews on TripAdvisor. In this case I focused on the types of activities available, and if the resort was good for groups. I found 7 resorts in two locations (Mexico and Punta Cana) that had great reviews and were in our price range.
5) Create a survey for the group to determine exactly where you want to go. I used Survey Monkey to poll the people who indicated interest in the vacation. Yes people, I actually did a survey. The questions I asked were:
a) Name and are you definitely in?
b) How many nights would you like to stay?
c) Rank the resorts from 1-7. (I listed all of the resorts, price for the resorts, and provided a link to the resort and to the TripAdvisor reviews for each resort in the survey.)
d) A space for free form comments.
6) I got made fun of for the survey, but it gave everyone a voice in selecting the resort and worked really well for us! Once everyone responded to the survey, I emailed out the top ranked choice, number of days, etc. and let each person book their own tickets!
We ended up staying at the Excellence Riviera Cancun, which is about 30 miles south of Cancun. Honestly, all-inclusive resorts are not really Mike and I’s preferred method of traveling. We enjoy going off the beaten path, enjoying the local culture of the place we are in, having more privacy than resorts typically offer, and eating where the locals go. We typically rent houses when we go to the beach; however, the Excellence resorts are an exception to our rule of “no all-inclusives”.
Sian is the woman behind the stylish fashion and beauty blog, Girl, Inbetweenied. She blogs to be a "fashion and beauty inspiration for the average-sized woman" in response to the fashion industry's unrealistic beauty standards of female size. A resident of Washington DC, Sian is a proud Inbetweenie and advocate of universal beauty for all sizes. Follow Sian on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!