Organising a group trip can, on occasion, feel like you’re herding cats.
On some level you know that it must be technically possible… but that doesn’t mean you have got any idea of how to do it.
Things don’t have to be this way, of course. Many people organise a group trip that goes off without a hitch, giving everyone the best vacation or experience that they could hope for. Yet it seems impossible when you contemplate it. There are so many different preferences you have to accommodate, people who have to respond to you, sourcing places that can take a large group – it’s one long headache after another. It doesn’t matter if you’re just organising a big family holiday, going camping or something more formal like youth group mission trips, you’re going to come up against problems at every turn.
So rather than surrendering to the chaos and just doing the best you can with what you have available, why not follow a step-by-step guide to getting it right – every time?
Step One: Ask For Special Requests
If anyone in the party has any special request – such as dietary requirements or wanting to avoid a certain form of transport – then this needs to be your starting guide.
Inform everyone – ideally by email or in writing – of an end date, by which they must have told you all of their special requests. Explain that, to keep things clear, anything submitted to you after this date may not be accommodated. If necessary, send a reminder 24 hours before the deadline to ensure no one sends something three days later with an “I forgot the deadline!” apology.
Try and stick firm to this deadline. You need the information in hand so you can make the best decisions for everyone involved, so don’t stretch it unless there is an extremely good reason for doing so.
Step Two: Get Firm Dates
If you ask a member of your party for when they might be available and they give you anything other than a resounding yes, then it’s not good enough. You need to start looking at availability and how everyone is going to coordinate, so you need firm agreements that can be penned in rather than pencilled.
The best way of getting everyone to agree to this is to set a date in your mind and then ask everyone if they are okay with it. You can switch this if you have enough objections. Otherwise, proceed on the basis of the date you chose.
Step Three: Write Everything Down
Create a spreadsheet or document that you can share with everyone; Google Docs is the perfect tool for this. That means everyone can see what is being planned and what you are intending to do. This stops you having to answer the same question over and over again as various parties solicit more information.
This is also where you should put your itinerary for the trip. If people want to add to it or make amendments, be open to suggestions but don’t just bow to everything. In step one you ensured the things that are absolutely necessary were taken care of; everything else is a preference. Accommodate a request if it’s easy enough to do, but otherwise, stand firm.