If you're used to traveling solo or with a partner, then traveling with a group of 20-somethings (or strangers) might be a whole new ball game. And if that's the case for you, then you're in for the experience of a lifetime!
Traveling with a group can no doubt be a ton of fun, and there are so many benefits that come with it. Some obvious group travel tips: never dine alone; have someone to explore the outdoors with; have another human to bounce ideas and observations off of; have a friend to sip wine or chug a beer with; have a guaranteed buddy for a night out; and discover the beautiful world alongside another. If you're lucky enough to travel with a big group of friends (or want to seize your luck with new friends at FTLO this year), then here's some great group travel advice to keep in mind to make the most of your experience together.
1. Keep an open mind
The key to maintaining good vibes throughout a trip that involves many people is keeping an open mind. When you practice flexibility and understanding, you give others the room to be themselves, which will help set a great tone for your trip.
Encourage Authenticity: Authenticity thrives when there's acceptance, and this atmosphere allows your fellow travelers to feel more at ease. It's about acknowledging that each person brings their unique perspective, interests, and quirks to the table, making the trip richer and more dynamic.
2. Be nice to everyone
Back to the good old "golden rule" of treat others the way you want to be treated. This rule is particularly impactful when you're traveling with a group of people. Why? Because people tend to be tired, jet-lagged, anxious, excited or feeling many other ways that aren't always visible to the eye, so when you're nice to people, it helps offset any of those negative feelings. Additionally, if you're traveling with people you don't know very well, then being nice and respectful of others is a good way to start a friendship that could last a lifetime.
Cultivating Empathy: Empathy is a valuable trait for any traveler. When you put yourself in the shoes of your fellow group members, you gain a better understanding of their perspectives and needs.
3. Consider everyone's wants and goals for the trip
Remember that everyone has invested a bit of themselves to be here (time, money, *dreams*), so you might not all have the exact same vision of what your trip should look like – and that's OK! For some, alone time might be important, while for others, connecting with lots of new locals might be a lifelong dream. Whatever the case may be, keep in mind that everyone is ultimately excited to be here and just wants to make the most of their experience, so again, practicing some flexibility or deciding to split up for a few activities is totally alright!
Practicing Adaptability: Travel, by its nature, is unpredictable. Plans may change, weather might not cooperate, and unexpected adventures may unfold. Maintaining an open mind is akin to having a flexible attitude. It enables you to adapt to unforeseen circumstances and make the most of spontaneous opportunities. Remember, some of the most memorable moments on a trip are the ones you didn't plan for.
4. Be present
Being present is important when you're traveling for several reasons. For one, it improves safety when you're alert and aware of your environment, but aside from that, it just makes for better interactions between you and everyone around you. There's nothing worse than someone trying to have a conversation and the other person is on their phone, browsing the Insta. Your friends are here, now, in this moment...and there are memories waiting to me made. Your email can wait!
Fostering a Positive Tone: An open mind sets the stage for a fantastic travel experience. By respecting each other's choices and being open to new ideas, you contribute to a harmonious group dynamic that can turn challenges into opportunities for growth and shared laughter.
5. Be open to splitting up occasionally
When you're traveling with a group of people, there's no doubt there will be moments in which different people want to do different things. Everyone's energy levels and interests are different (we're human!), so there's no problem if some people are down to go to a bar, and others want to stay in an enjoy some wine from the comfort of their bed (yes). Splitting up for some activities is alright, and in fact, might give you some breathing space you didn't know you needed!
Catering to Varied Interests: In any group, you'll find a spectrum of interests and passions. Some may be eager to explore bustling nightlife in Havana, while others might prefer a quieter evening in, savoring Cuban wine from the comfort of their bed. Allowing for the occasional split in the group enables each traveler to indulge in activities that resonate with them personally.
Listen to the needs of others and also don't be afraid to voice the things that you're interested in doing. When you communicate clearly and honestly, it makes it easier for decisions to be made and for things to keep moving along smoothly.
Embracing Differences: Group travel often brings together people from various backgrounds, cultures, and age groups. Embrace these differences as opportunities for learning and enrichment. Engage in conversations with fellow travelers to discover their unique stories, interests, and travel goals. You'll likely find common ground and shared passions that can deepen your connections.
7. Go with the flow
One thing any experienced traveler will tell you is that things don't always go as planned. So, here's a good group travel trip, oftentimes, it's for the best, or it's an opportunity to laugh things off and exercise your spontaneity. So when things aren't going quite as you had imagined, practice some flexibility and humor (if appropriate), and remember there are still a lot of good memories waiting to be made.
Spontaneity as a Superpower: Flexibility and spontaneity can be your greatest assets when things don't go as planned. They allow you to pivot gracefully in response to changes, seize new opportunities, and navigate challenges with a positive attitude. Think of them as your superpower for turning the unexpected into a memorable adventure.
8. Respect budgets
Discussing budgets at the beginning at the trip is helpful so that you're all on the same page about what types of activities or experiences you'll be enjoying together throughout your trip. However, if there are moments in which you want to splurge and others cannot, see if maybe it's an activity you can try by yourself or maybe choose to forego the activity all together. On the other hand, if others want to splurge and it's not in your budget, then don't be afraid to communicate that you hadn't planned to budget that into your trip, and propose splitting up for the activity or finding an alternative that you can all enjoy together.
Avoid Guilt Trips: In the course of your journey, there may be moments when some group members wish to spend on activities or experiences that others may not have budgeted for. It's essential to avoid guilting or pressuring fellow travelers into exceeding their budgetary limits. Guilt can sour the travel experience for everyone involved.
9. Schedule in some 'me' time
When you're traveling with a group of people, it's actually very important to schedule in some 'me' time. That's not group travel advice, you say! Well, you might not expect it, but chances are you will benefit from having some time to just soak up the environment on your own, take a nap, or simply sit with your own thoughts for a minute. This also gives everyone a chance to replenish their energy and come back together in a few hours with more good vibes to give and memories to create.
Space for Personal Exploration: Travel is not just about experiencing a destination but also about self-discovery. By splitting up for a while, you grant yourself and your fellow travelers the freedom to explore independently. This solo time can be a valuable opportunity for introspection, self-reflection, and the chance to meet locals or fellow travelers on your terms.
10. Remember you're all here for a great time
At the end of the day, everyone is investing some time, money and energy to make this trip happen, and everyone is putting themselves "out there" for the goal of having a good time and building some great memories. So relax, enjoy each other's company, and you're bound to have an awesome experience that you can talk about for years to come.
Embrace the Moment: With the hustle and bustle of daily life, it's easy to forget to savor the present moment. Group travel offers a unique opportunity to escape the routine and fully immerse yourself in the experience. Relax, appreciate the company of your fellow travelers, and be present in the sights, sounds, and sensations of your chosen destination.
Looking for new opportunities to travel and make new friends? Check out FTLO's upcoming group trips to different regions of the world and join us for an awesome adventure!