Tips for Traveling with a Big Group

Tips for Traveling with a Big Group

When you’re traveling as a big group, whether you’re a single big family, you’re traveling with extended family, or you’re going with other couples or friends, there are some unique challenges in the planning process.

For example, booking your accommodations and finding the right hotel can be one of those challenges.

Below are some tips for traveling with a big group to help you get started with planning.

Booking Hotel Rooms

First, if you’re a large family booking hotel rooms, it gets tricky. In hotel terms, a family of more than four is usually considered large.

Most hotels in the U.S. let children under 18 stay for free with their parents, and occupancy supports at least two adults and two kids. Some hotels will let you have more kids than that for a fee, such as the price to rent a cot.

Internationally, it’s different. Most hotel rooms in Europe and the rest of the world are very strict about occupancy, so you may have to book multiple rooms.

If you have a large family, look for rooms that are described as suites. They’ll often have a separate bedroom and living area, and the living room may have a pullout bed.

You can also book rooms that connect to each other, but you may have to do this directly because it’s often not a choice you can book online.

If you have a group that’s not immediate family and you want to stay in a hotel or something similar, you should contact hotels in the area and see if they’ll offer discounts for a group booking—most will. Group rates at a hotel might mean you all save 10% or more. If you’re a group of eight or more, you’re especially likely to be able to get a discount. The same is true of group activities.

Most hotels will let you book blocks of rooms, and then each guest individually books their room and pays for their reservation.

Otherwise, if a hotel just isn’t going to meet your needs, you can also opt for something like a condo or house rental.

The downside of this is that it’s going to give you a lot of togetherness, which doesn’t always work for group trips.

Designate a Coordinator

If you’re planning a group trip with multiple families or couples and you haven’t already done so, you should have a coordinator. This person isn’t going to decide everything, but what they are going to do is be the primary point person for reservations and planning.

Things you’ll discuss as a group will be your dates, a hotel versus a homestay, dining, activities, and budget, and then the coordinator can consolidate all of the feedback and start making plans.

Plan for Alone Time

Just because you’re traveling as a group, there’s no rule that says you have to do everything together. In fact, you shouldn’t. All the families, couples, or individuals on the trip should have the amount of alone time they’re comfortable with, without feeling they’re offending anyone.

Along with alone time, plan for plenty of downtimes. Most people are going to want to do their own thing when they’re traveling. That might mean they visit a certain historical site or museum, have a quiet breakfast, or sleep in.

Work Out the Logistics Ahead of Time

While the trip coordinator shouldn’t act like a cruise director, one thing they can focus on is working out the logistics ahead of time for a smoother experience on the actual trip.

For example, if you have a big group and you’re flying in, how will you get to your hotel or accommodations? Do you need something like a bus, or is an airport shuttle available?

Do you want to hire a babysitter or nanny for any period of time?

What will transportation be like when you’re at your destination? Will you rent cars, can you walk or will you take Ubers or taxis?

Finally, communication is essential when planning and traveling with any group. You might set up a separate email account and include everyone who’s going on the trip. That way, you can ask questions, get feedback and send them all the confirmations for your plans.

Everyone should have the full itinerary before you start packing your bags.

Another option aside from emails is to create a Google Doc, and you can share access with the group. You can live update it so that everyone knows exactly what’s going on at any given time.


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