So if you haven’t been reading my blog then you don’t know that my BIRTHDAY is coming up. I’m actually turning THIRTY (I feel like the more I say 30, the easier the transition to it will be…..eh doesn’t seem to be getting any easier). Anyways, so this is a BIG birthday and I am big into birthdays! I celebrate every year surrounded by a group of my favorites.
So this year we are going on a ski trip. We….as in 19 of us are all piling into 5 cars, with skis, snowboards, bags packed and a 3 hour drive into the mountains. Sounds awesome right? No doubt it will be. However planning an event that is longer than one day can be challenging. So here are my tips on how to plan a group trip without killing your friends.
1. Assign a host/hostess.
Seriously. I’m all for expressing your opinions, open forums, and group decision-making… however one person needs to be in charge. So tip #1 is to assign one person to communicate the information, collect any dues, and sign on the dotted line. If there are too many options available with a group larger than 5, it is rare that a cohesive decision will be made about anything.. So with one person in charge you are sure to have a successful and stress free trip. The more organized the trip is, the less likely people will get overwhelmed with all the little details. Once your head honcho is elected, it’s up to them to delegate responsibilities and deal with the little situations that might come up.. Trust me, having a go-to person makes trip planning a breeze.
Communication can make your trip or can make you feel like you’re on a trip to hell. First things first, send an email stating what you want to do, when you want to go, the approximate cost and what it takes to get there. Our group of friends is big into email threads. We send out an email to just about everyone you want to be there and those who are available and interested respond. Then the planning begins. Another popular way of getting information out to a large group of people is Facebook invites, Group Texts & Evite. Communication is everything when it comes to planning a big event. The biggest arguments tend to spawn because of a communication breakdown. Over communicate! When responding to one person’s question send the response to everyone, it’s likely that that question will come up again. Also email is great for referring to – what time am I suppose to be there? Oh, it’s in the email. Communicate communicate. communicate.
2 1/2: READ.
Another thing — if someone is taking the time to research and provide information to you –READ IT. One of my biggest pet peeves is putting together an FAQ or sending out links with pertinent information to the event, then getting questions that have been answered. Okay, okay, you get one freebie question, but after that….all I’m going to say to you is DID YOU READ THE EMAIL? … Seriously. Read what is being sent out.
3. Respond to communication.
Nothing is more annoying to me than someone who doesn’t respond. This has happened a few times ,when something is in the works and numbers are being finalized and then alllllll of a sudden Mary Anne wants to go. Respond. If you aren’t sure if you can make it, or you have commitment issues, just respond. I’d rather know that I should plan for you, then not and have to rework my plan. Plus it’s polite. RSVP people.
4. Set deadlines & stick to them.
So for this trip after I got the “I’m interested” responses I looked for a house that would accommodate atleast that many people. Those that didn’t respond were not included in my number (see tip 3). I understand, sometimes you just don’t know. Well unless that is said, no one knows. It is crucial that you set a deadline for RSVPS. Also set a deadline to collect money and set a deadline to take care of any logistical issues that could affect the group. Do we need 4 hotel rooms or 5? Deadlines keep everyone on the same page and help to smooth over the snags that come along with group planning. Also set the deadlines early. If your deposit is due on the 15th ask for the contributions on the 10th. There will always be the one or two people who are technologically challenged, or will be out of the country or just can’t get their share to you in time. No worries, give yourself plenty of time to get your ducks in a row.
Once you plan something with more than 5 people, people have to compromise. Make it clear from the beginning that as a group everyone will work together to make the end result a happy and positive one. Group decision-making has to involve some give and take. Hopefully the individuals involved all know & like each other enough to do this. Oh you drove? Oh here’s some gas money.…oh you’re bringing food? I’ll bring the beer. Teamwork is the best work. Where there is compromise there is a fun and memorable trip! Next time you are included in a group event think about what you can do to make things easier and the planning more effective.
6. This is not a family vacation.
When I travel, I try to make it clear that this is a VACATION. Not just your vacation, but mine. Don’t expect for the group to stick together 24/7. Don’t expect that people shouldn’t want to do their own thing. This is not a family vacation. Everyone may have their own interests and their own agenda. — You want to get up at 5am and watch the sunrise, but other people want to sleep in, LET THEM. Go and enjoy your sunrise! Don’t get bent out of shape or your feelings hurt if no one wants to wake up to watch it with you, it’s nothing personal. Your idea of fun and exciting might not coincide with the entire group, every moment of the day and that’s ok. People will be much happier if they make their expectations known from the get-go & allow everyone to have a good time. With that said I do try to plan a few “group” activities — for example, dinner is normally a mandated group activity. I love group dinner because that is where everyone gets together and shares stories and laughs of what they did that day. Group game nights or planned group activities are your best bet to bring everyone together at the same time.
7. Take photos and video.
These are the memories you will keep forever. You look rough and someone snaps a picture – it happens… there will be plenty of other good ones to make up for it. Take as many cheesy stupid pictures as you can. I promise you, no matter what happens on the trip or what snags might come up –photos always remind you of the good times. Take them. Oh remember when Mary Jane fell down the stairs ? Hilarious. Live it up. You’ll never have these moments back and you’ll never be able to relive them in that moment, with those people, at that time. Capture away.
So yea. Go plan a trip. Don’t be overwhelmed, it is going to be GREAT! 1 person or 20, as long as it’s organized and the communication is solid you are sure to have an outstanding time and then be ready to plan the next get away.