Planning a trip with a group: Austin
My sister is getting married in October and I've been tasked with planning her bachelorette. Fun facts: I've never been to a destination bachelorette, I've never planned one, and I've never really met any of the women going other than knowing my sister, of course. So how does one go about planning a trip for a group of strangers? It isn't that easy but it is coming together quite nicely
- USE TECHNOLOGY - once again, Google Trips is going to be my friend. When my friend and I planned our Central Europe trip last year, we relied heavily on our elaborate Google doc for ideas, itineraries, reservation numbers, flight info, etc. I suggest starting with a loose itinerary in Google Docs and sharing it with everyone in the group early on. Everyone should have input and should be involved in the decision process but majority rules (as does the bride). I am a fan of good old fashioned email because I file every trip in a different folder. I also like Gchat, Whatsapp, Facebook messenger, or simple group texts are helpful for this too. Whatsapp was really great when my friends and I were in Colombia and Panama because I was the only one who had cell service and didn't have to rely on wifi, thus I was the navigator, summoner of Ubers, etc.
- Don't plan too much - I can't say this enough, but the larger the group, the more difficult it is to plan too much for adults, in my opinion, unless it is a guided tour of a city and that is another animal entirely. I like to follow a pattern of wake up, find breakfast, do something outdoors for a few hours, find lunch, do something indoors for a few hours, rest at a cafe or bar, head back to lodging to freshen up for dinner and have a little rest, and then head out for dinner and a night out. No adult likes to be rushed around and this pattern makes sure everyone gets food and rest and time to sit on a regular schedule.
- Always have food and drink options in mind - Even if you make a reservation at a restaurant well ahead of time, you might all be in the mood for something different when the time of the reservation comes, or maybe the place is closed or hosting a private party. Have a backup plan. It will save your hangry friends from snapping at one another.
- Keep track of flight number, arrival, and departure info for everyone - This seems like a no-brainer but I also mean it for safety reasons. If your friends don't arrive when they are supposed to, you want to know if it was due to a delayed flight or something else.
- Don't take it too seriously - I used to stress whenever I planned for a group. Are people having fun? Do they like one another? Do they think I've railroaded this entire trip with my ideas? Then I realized, as long as everyone is in the same place and doing things and not complaining, they are fine. They showed up and they're happy to not be at work, at the bare minimum, but they're probably having a lot more fun than that.
- Figure out your late and early evenings and mornings as a group- One person's late is another person's early, just sayin'. Communicate when you want to be out the door each morning and let that dictate your late or early nights. Be prepared to compromise too.