Group Travel Tips for Direct Groups: Part 1 – First Decisions – Travel Development

Congratulations! You have chosen to embark upon planning a group trip on your own. Now that you have made this decision, you will have a number of details to sort out while developing a well-crafted, purposeful tour. As the official tour organizer, you have the challenging task of planning everything that will be included on your trip itinerary. To help you get started, we have created a series of articles that include step-by-step guides to ease your overall trip planning. This article targets your very first decisions that must be made before beginning your trip planning.Step 1: The Purpose of Your TripAsk yourself the following questions when deciding upon the purpose of your trip:- What type of trip are you taking? Is the trip strictly a fun tour? Or is it a sightseeing tour? Educational tour? Religious tour? Reunion? Sports Trip? Meeting? Senior Citizen Trip?
- What do you want your group to take/learn from this trip?
- How can you relate it to your class, organization, team, club, corporation, etc.?
- Will the trip include academic elements, performances, sports, religious themes, scouting themes, meetings, outdoor activities, dine-arounds?
- What are your groups’ needs?Once you have answered these questions, decisions then must be made as to what destination to choose and when to travel.Step 2: Choose a DestinationThe next step is to ask yourself “where should we go?” There are hundreds of options, but a lot will be determined by the purpose of your trip (Step 1). First, by means of researching, choose multiple destinations that cater to your groups’ needs. For example, if you are looking for a historical experience for a student group, senior citizen group or scouting troop, etc., then cities like Boston, Philadelphia and Washington DC are perfect destinations. If you are looking for cities that cater to meetings and conventions, then Las Vegas, Orlando and Chicago are perfect destinations. It all depends on what you and your group wants out of the trip. There are a tremendous amount of group-friendly destinations throughout the U.S. that are ready to cater to your group.Second, narrow down the list of the top three destinations you think are most suited for the purpose of your trip. Lastly, weigh all of the advantages and disadvantages (if any) of each and choose your perfect destination. Also, take Step 3 into consideration as to when to travel… summer, fall, winter or spring. This can definitely play into your decision-making process as well.Step 3: When to TravelThe best time to travel to your chosen destination depends upon a number of factors including weather, when school is out (if your tour includes students), vacation periods, work schedules, company calendar, and more.Spring: The weather in March through May is warmer in the southern states than the northern. If you travel during this period, reserve flights and hotels far in advance to avoid disappointment during this busy group travel period.Summer: Summer offers the most flexibility, but keep in mind that if your trip includes youth, many students may have summer jobs, travel with their families, participate in sports or go to camp. If you are a religious, reunion, sports, senior citizen, scouting troop or affinity group, a summer trip is probably one of the best times for your group to travel.Fall: This is prime time for corporate meetings, religious retreats, and more. Note that airfares are traditionally less expensive in the fall which can be of benefit to your budget.Winter: This is another prime time to travel, especially when trying to escape the winter blues. Many groups travel to warmer climates to escape “Ole Man Winter.” Other types of groups book winter activities like skiing excursions, and more.Remember though, if you are flying, airfares are higher and winter weather could force flight delays. Furthermore, you may have trouble recruiting because the holidays are times for family gatherings.Overall, if you plan on traveling on your own without employing a travel planner, deciding upon what the purpose of your trip is, what destination to travel to and what time of the year you want to travel are key important elements when beginning your planning. Once you arrive at these decisions, your trip planning will now have both purpose and direction. In your upcoming planning stages, there will be many questions to answer, lots of details to complete and numerous deadlines to meet. By reading and employing our step-by-step process, you will have a good understanding of what to tackle at each planning stage. This, in turn, will make your trip planning run smoother.Next Article: Part 2 – Planning Your Trip Timeline