Group travel and planning group trips is a challenging yet rewarding task for group leaders. We are the people who love to pull people together to have experiences that wouldn’t happen on their own. I’ve heard many horror stories and many triumphant stories of trips gone wrong and trips gone epic. So here’s a few tips I’ve picked up along the way.
1. Plan For The Best
I recommend 6-12 months of pre-planning. If you have an eager audience and an easy trip, 6 months will do, if you have a lot of training required, then 12 months is essential. For our destination wedding we gave our guests 2 years notice! But that was 8 days in Jordan and we knew our American friends would need to allocate their vacation time way in advance.
2. Make Space for Rest
This one is hard for me. I’m always moving and love a packed schedule. It can be so tempting to pack a lot in because usually your travelers won’t be returning to the location. The pressure to cover EVERYTHING will be high. But the reason they have chosen to follow you is they trust you to curate the experience properly. Go for quality over quantity and remember that people move at different speeds. So be sure to create breaks where the energetic can explore and the rest can, well, REST!
Remember that you can use YouLi Travel Pages to share optional experiences within the schedule and allow people to opt-in/out at any time (before or during the trip).
3. Be Prepared For the Worst
Of course we want and hope everything will run perfectly, but as the group leader we must have a plan for contingencies. You may be about to outsource this to an operator with experience at the location or you may be the one making the emergency plans.
Either way, ALWAYS ensure your travelers have the right level of travel/medical insurance for the activities you have planned.
When we did Tanzania I included Flying Doctor’s insurance as a non-optional cost because it was so cheap and provided evacuation from remote areas in case of emergency. Thankfully there were no lion attacks and we never needed to call upon it, but I’ve had it recommended by a number of experienced operators.
Of course, when we got to a certain level on Kilimanjaro, we discovered that all rescue operations were human powered because helicopters couldn’t get to us. But we knew our guides from Afrikabisa had us covered!
When planning group travel, YouLi helps group leaders ensure everyone knows what insurance to buy and collates all the uploaded policies so they are within easy reach as needed.
Our YouLi Ambassador Dr. Fiona Hill shares her tips on being prepared in her profile.