Group Travel

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Planning a trip for one or two people is difficult enough, but planning for an entire group adds a whole new set of challenges.

Here are some helpful tips to get you started:

  • Designate a leader
  • Decide who's going, where you're going, and when you're going
    • Tip: If you're wanting to visit multiple countries in Europe, look into getting a Schengen Visa. Learn everything you need to know here
  • Decide on a price range that everyone is comfortable with
  • Research your destination and activities to do there
  • Create a tentative itinerary

Pre-planning is important for any trip but is especially pertinent when you're leaving the country with a group of people.

Spending the extra time and effort beforehand will save you a lot of frustration down the road and leave you more time to enjoy yourselves and make lasting memories.


For Families

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If you're a family going on a vacation, your planning process and priorities may be somewhat different than other group travelers.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • If you have small children:
    • Prepare them for airport security as best you can
    • Take advantage of early boarding
    • Have plenty of activities to keep them occupied
  • Travel documentation:
    • Travel documentation required for minors can vary. Make sure you research requirements based on U.S. laws and laws of the country you're visiting. The U.S. State Department website is a good resource for this.
  • Choose your destination wisely:
    • It's important to pick a vacation spot that your children will love, but that interests you as well
    • According to Tripadvisor.com, these are the top family vacation destinations.

For more great travel resources, check out our blog.

Travel Documentation

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Passports, visas, permits; before you set out on your international quest, be sure you know what types of travel documentation you need for the countries you're visiting. 

It's also a good idea to carry backup copies of all of your documentation in case anything is lost or stolen.

Make front-and-back copies of your passport, credit card, and other documents, and save them to a cloud storage system like Google Docs or Dropbox, where you can access them from any web-enabled device if needed.

A few helpful resources:

 

 



Transportation

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After your group nails down a budget, you can begin deciding which forms of transportation you think would best suit you.

Transporting a group of people to and from destinations can be tricky, so don't forget to pack light- that alone will save you a world of trouble. Also, always remember to be patient, flexible, and keep an open mind.

A few things to consider:

  • Flying
    • Book your tickets at least two months in advance (earlier if possible)
    • Airlines such as JetBLue, Delta, and Southwest have discounts and perks for groups of ten or more, so be sure to shop around
    • Check to see what you can and cannot bring onto the plane
  • Trains
    • Offer a fast, efficient and relatively cheap way to get around no matter the size of your group
    • Often times railroads run through beautiful countrysides and fascinating cities, allowing you to site see while you're traveling from point A to point B.
  • Shuttles and Taxis
    • If you choose to stay at a hotel, it will likely offer some form of free shuttle service
    • UberXL offers larger vehicles for transporting groups
    • Larger, developed cities have excellent public transportation, such as subways and metro links, that offer a good travel solution for groups

Accommodations   

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As a group, staying in a hotel is probably your best bet, but don't rule out other options such as hostels, Airbnb, house rentals, or even camping (for the truly adventurous).

The most important factor when deciding where to stay is what everyone in your group will enjoy most, but be sure to keep your budget in mind.

It's also important to think about where your accommodations are located in relation to your planned activities so you can determine how much extra traveling you'll have to account for.

One perk of staying in a hotel is that the cost can be easily split among individuals in the group. If you book far enough in advance, you should be able to secure a block of adjoining rooms.

Some tips:

  • Book rooms during "off-seasons" to generate the lowest possible prices
  • Decide the sleeping arrangements in advance so you know what type and how many beds you need in each room
  • Don't be afraid to negotiate price, especially if you're booking a large block of rooms
  • Tripadvisor.com is a great resource for shopping hotels

    Download our FREE Ultimate Guide to International Travel for more accommodation tips!



Staying Safe

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When leaving your home country and traveling to unknown destinations, safety should be a top priority.

While you can't control everything that happens to you, you can and should prepare for it. Travelling in a group already puts you one step ahead because there's safety in numbers

Some other things to remember:

  • Establish a rendezvous spot
    • In the event that one or more people get separated from the rest of the group, have a designated point to meet back up.
  • Know your network
    • Know exactly who you will call in an emergency. Be aware of the embassies nearby and look into special traveler programs, like the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) for U.S. citizens, which can provide safety updates and help you reach loved ones in an emergency.
  • Carry the right tools
    • Stash a spare credit card, or emergency cash in a secret location in case your wallet or bag is lost or stolen.
  • Consider travel medical insurance
    • While the medical benefits alone are worth checking into a policy, many plans include travel assistance services like lost passport aid and lost checked luggage coverage.

For more safety tips, check out "How to Stay Safe While Traveling Abroad."


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