How to save money while traveling in a group?
With changing times, we have seen significant changes in the way people travel. Now ‘traveling solo’ is the new trend and everyone wants to experience it. But there is another great way to explore which is safer and cheaper – traveling in a group. Group travel means lots of fun and excitement, as you get to spend some quality time with your friends and relatives. Sadly, with shrinking families, hectic work schedules, social media obsession, and frenetic lifestyles, we have forgotten the thrill of group activities.
Planning for a group trip can be challenging and an adventure in itself. It is not easy to plan a vacation where you have to consider different age groups, budgets, time-frames, distances, and preferences. You definitely need some good managerial skills to overcome all the hiccups you are going to face while planning and executing a group holiday. But it will definitely turn out to be a memorable experience – the one vacation about which you can reminisce fondly for years to come.
One of the biggest advantages of traveling in a group is that it turns out to be more economical if properly planned. So, let us list down the ways of saving money on a group holiday.
Pick on the Right Group to Travel With
The group should be made of like-minded people who share some common interests. If they are radically different from each other or have nothing in common, you are asking for trouble. It is not necessary that members know everyone in the group, but they should be on the same wavelength and willing to make adjustments for others. If there is a vast difference in them financially it is never going to work. You cannot expect anyone to completely come out of their comfort zone.
Decide on a Group Leader
If there is a group, there has to be a leader (or two), depending on the size of the group. Choose a person who is organized, resourceful, considerate, honest, and gets along with all group members. A group leader is going to have his hands full. He has to decide on the dates, itinerary, hotels, budget, meals, excursions, local transport, payments, and lots more. He can delegate duties to other group members, but he should be the man in charge.
When you are in a group, minor discussions and altercations are unavoidable. People will have different budgets, preferences, and capabilities. The duty of the leader is to listen to all viewpoints, bring everyone on the same platform, and then take a final call. Try to plan and inform everyone beforehand, so that people are financially, physically, and emotionally prepared for things to come. In the absence of a good leader, things can really get out of hand and you might end up wasting money due to a lack of proper planning.
Get Group Deals
Airlines, cruises, trains, attractions, holiday packages, and even hotels offer group discounts. If you are more than 10 people, it really helps to invest some time and look around for group deals. The bargains are available on the websites or you may have to call/mail the concerned parties to negotiate a group discount. Wherever you go and whatever you do, keep asking for group rates and you will end up saving a tidy sum. If making online bookings, always break down your booking into small batches. Airlines show the same prices for all the tickets booked in one transaction, ignoring the cheaper fares if all the required seats are not available in the lesser fare slot. Don’t believe in travel myths.
Rent a house or a villa for the Group
Hotels generally fall more expensive than vacation rentals, especially if you are traveling in a group. Hotels charge you on a per person basis whereas Airbnb mostly rents the premises. You can share rooms & bathrooms, sleep on the sofas, play games, chitchat, or just hang out together. In a hotel, there are no common private spaces and the only option is to cram into someone’s room.
Additionally, you can save a large amount of money on food. You can cook, get takeaways, share dishes, and store the leftovers. There are so many helping hands, so all the chores would be easy and fun. If you are in the mood for a formal dinner, hire a private chef who will cook and serve you in your rented accommodation. It will still be cheaper than a dine-out in a snazzy restaurant.
Rent a private vehicle
Renting cars or a van is really convenient and economical when you are traveling in a group. You can use it for traveling within the city or between cities. It gives you flexibility and convenience, besides being economical. Four-five people sharing a vehicle can travel much cheaper than those individuals buying separate tickets. You have the option of stopping anywhere, buying groceries, having picnics, and staying in remote places – easy ways to save money. You can share the cost and responsibility of driving the car amongst yourselves.
Split Up the group if needed
Traveling in a group doesn’t mean that you should always stick together. Groups can have people of all ages and interests. So, if few people want to go to an amusement park, it makes no sense to drag them to a museum and vice versa. You will be wasting precious time and money. But these should be taken as an exception rather than a rule. If everyone continues to engage in different activities, you defeat the purpose of traveling in a group.
All Group Members must Share Duties
Group holiday has to be a team effort, and one person cannot take all the responsibility. Everyone should be assigned duties according to their expertise. Someone can drive, someone can cook, someone can look after the kids, and others can look after the finances. If a couple wants to go to a night club, their parents can offer to babysit. Or if someone is not feeling well, you can finish the duties assigned to him.
If you are traveling in a group, it makes sense to download some Apps and teach everyone how to use it. WhatsApp for communication, Google sheets to organize information, Splittr/Splitwise for tracking everyone’s expenses, Travefy for trip planning, Pay it Square for collecting funds. There are many more such Apps that will make it easy to decide, communicate, and control all the complexities involved in group travel.
Group travel is definitely one of the most enjoyable and affordable ways to travel. It might be a bachelorette, a family trip, a rendezvous with friends, or a birthday celebration – you are going to have a time of your life. However, if it is not planned and executed in a proper manner, it can turn out to be a disaster. Why not you be the one to take an initiative to plan a group tour for your near and dear ones?
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