Group travel tips & benefits

Group Travel Tips and Benefits

Are you used to trekking the globe solo or with a significant other? While traveling alone or with a partner has benefits, like quiet “me time” or romantic excursions, voyaging with a group is a whole new experience worth trying. Whether you’re traveling with a group of friends, family members or acquaintances you share interests with, you may feel inspired to visit new destinations when you journey with others. You might also forge new connections and maybe even make lifelong friends.

Let’s look at why you should travel in groups and tips for making the journey enjoyable and unforgettable.

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The Benefits of Group Trips

Imagine hiking through a Costa Rican rainforest, discovering colorful flowers and rare birds you’ve never seen before. Or sampling street foods in Tokyo and trying to find the perfect words to convey the flavors and textures. Wouldn’t these experiences be richer with friends?

If you’re still not sure about voyaging with others, here are more reasons you should travel in groups.

1. Deepen Your Relationships

When you travel with friends, relatives, co-workers, business partners or club members, you’ll see how these people act in new environments and situations and come to understand them better. For example, you probably know how a colleague behaves when talking to clients on the phone. But did you know they have secret navigation skills or can speak enough Italian to lead the way? You’re bound to learn something new about anyone you travel with.

Traveling also invites you to deepen your relationships by sharing new experiences and creating unforgettable memories. You’ll likely go home with inside jokes and entertaining stories to cherish for years.

2. Venture Further off the Beaten Path

If you feel drawn to the mysterious, compelled to escape crowds and eager to uncover a destination’s authentic side, but feel afraid to venture away from tourist areas alone, group travel may be perfect for you. Traveling with a group of people is one of the best ways to find a region’s hidden gems.

Take a bus ride into the countryside where no one speaks a word of English, or paddle out into the sea to claim secluded cays or grottos. Confidently ask locals where to eat and let your group lead the way. With your band of traveling friends, you can leave your worries and the crowds behind.

3. Feel Safe Wherever You Go

Do you dream of sampling tapas and wine in Barcelona all through the night but don’t feel comfortable going solo? Have you been waiting a lifetime to hike through Alaska’s wilderness but don’t know how you’d handle a wildlife encounter alone?

One of the chief benefits of group travel is setting your fears aside and delving into new cultures and environments with greater peace of mind. Nothing has to hold you back when surrounded by like-minded travelers, whether you want to go for a nighttime stroll on the beach or wander around a Mediterranean village without watching your GPS. When you’re with a group, someone will always have your back.

4. Create Lasting Memories

Can you remember the first foreign country you ever visited? How did you feel there? Who did you talk to? What was the tastiest meal you had?

If you’ve traveled abroad before or even to new places domestically, chances are, you remember the moments that were most meaningful to you. You might play pleasant travel-related memories over and over in your mind, savoring the image of a turquoise lagoon or a stranger’s contagious smile.

When you travel in a group, there are countless opportunities to create impactful memories because other human beings are meaningful to us. Watch a traveling companion join locals in traditional dance or an acquaintance surprise you with their haggling skills, and you’re sure to go home with special memories.

5. Try Something New

Having new experiences has many benefits, from giving you a confidence boost to bringing on an adrenaline rush. Not in the mood to go skydiving? That’s perfectly fine. New experiences don’t have to be extreme to be worth it. Taking a cooking class or testing new dance moves can stimulate your mind, awaken your curiosity and welcome tons of fun.

If you tend to need a little push to try new things, traveling with a group can motivate you to step outside of your comfort zone. Plus, people in your group may recommend activities you wouldn’t have thought of on your own.

For example, maybe someone suggests snorkeling with reef sharks or getting pampered at a Turkish hammam. Perhaps a person in the group has friends or relatives in one of your destinations, making it easy to connect with locals and have an authentic experience. Overall, the more people you travel with, the more chances you’ll have to rediscover your sense of wonder as you try something new.

6. Share Your Strengths

Are you a flexible adventurer who prefers to let someone else do most of the planning? If so, maybe someone in your group enjoys leading the way or making plans and can let you explore stress-free. You can contribute your unique strengths to the group, whether you’re a pro at taking photos or an expert at reading maps. When you travel in a group, no one has to handle tasks alone or be an expert in everything. You can benefit from each other’s strengths, inspire each other and work together to enhance the journey. 

7. Feel Supported

Traveling solo has benefits, such as the freedom to do whatever you want. Still, if you ever traveled alone before, you may have had moments you could’ve used a helping hand or wished there was someone to share an experience with. When you travel with others, you don’t have to face challenges alone, whether you get lost in a new city or realize you left your wallet back in your room. Other travelers will be by your side to offer their support and help you overcome any obstacles you encounter.

8. Take Better Photos

Even if you don’t like to be the center of attention, you’ll probably want a few pictures of yourself to take home when you travel to bucket-list destinations. Imagine finally standing in front of the Colosseum or catching the sunset in Santorini. You could take a selfie if you traveled to these places alone, but you’ll get a much better shot if you have friends to snap photos for you.

Once you have beautiful pictures of the places you’ve visited, you can relive the experiences whenever your heart aches for traveling. Make sure you get plenty of photos taken with your friends, too, so you can look back and remember how wonderful it was to have their company.

9. Celebrate Cuisine Together

When you look at a new restaurant’s menu, do you wish you could try just about everything? While you could order a feast by yourself, you’d probably need to haul leftovers back to your room. When you travel with like-minded food lovers, you can arrange a festival of flavors and sample a region’s cuisine. Also, meals typically taste better when accompanied by stories, laugher and a shared passion for food.

10. Make New Friends

Do you plan to travel with a hobby group or social club? Traveling is an excellent way to meet new people, make friends or nurture budding relationships. As you explore destinations and try new things, you’ll have many opportunities to bond with others and see their personalities in action. You’ll also spend time with people who share similar interests, making it easier to connect and enjoy the experiences you have. Once the journey is over, you can keep in touch with your new friends and maybe even plan for future trips together.

11. Have a Great Time

Traveling in a group is more fun. You don’t have to focus as much on safety or getting around, so you can relax and enjoy yourself more fully. You may also be with people with very different backgrounds than you, which lets you view your adventures through new perspectives, enhancing the journey. 

Lastly, shared experiences are often more enjoyable. Catching the aurora borealis swirling in an Icelandic sky, absorbing sweeping views in Cinque Terre or watching whales feasting off Alaska’s coast can all feel extra-special when you experience these moments with others.

Tips for Traveling in a Group

While traveling in a group makes a journey fun and memorable, it can come with challenges. Unlike solo travel, you’ll probably have less control over the itinerary when you travel in a group, and you may be around people who have different priorities and preferences than you do. Still, no matter who’s in your group, you can stay positive and have a life-changing journey together. Here are some tips for making group travel as smooth and stress-free as possible:

1. Assign Roles

Organizing group activities will be easier if you choose people to fulfill different roles. For example, you might select someone to take charge of the financial details and someone else to research excursions. Consider everyone’s strengths and what they like to do so they can enjoy being part of the planning process. 

2. Create a Balanced Itinerary

If you’re in charge of planning the itinerary, avoid cramming too many activities in one day and reserve time for relaxation. For example, one day, you might book an adventurous excursion, like hiking to ancient ruins, and plan to relax on the beach the next. With a balanced itinerary, you can avoid stress and keep the group energized.

3. Vote on Activities

To ensure everyone has a chance to share their ideas and preferences, ask group members to vote on activities, destinations, restaurants and anything else people may have different opinions about. In some cases, the group may want to split up for the day, so everyone’s content. 

4. Be Open to New Experiences

If someone in your group suggests trying something you never considered before, whether it’s sampling frog porridge in Singapore or riding an all-terrain vehicle in Mexico, be open to the idea. You might discover something new about yourself, which is one of the best parts of traveling.

5. Stay in Touch

Ensure everyone in your group has a way to communicate with each other, so if someone gets lost or the group splits up, it’s easy to reconnect. You might exchange phone numbers, set up a group text or print a list of contact information for everyone to keep with them, along with the itinerary. 

6. Be Patient

Traveling in a large group means some activities will take longer than if you did them alone. For example, you may have to wait for someone to get ready in the morning before heading out or stick around a souvenir shop until a friend finishes browsing. Before you embark on your trip, set realistic expectations and get into a flexible mindset. If you can go with the flow during your group trip, you’ll be more likely to have a relaxing experience.

7. Set Aside Alone Time

It’s OK to skip a group activityif you need some time alone. It’s also OK to replace a group excursion with something else, such as reading a book by the pool. Taking time to reflect on your experiences, pamper yourself or explore on your own can leave you rejuvenated and ready for more group adventures.

8. Let a Vacation Planner Do the Work

Planning a group trip can be a breeze with a professional helping you. An experienced planner can map out all the details, including where you’ll stay, what you’ll do and how you’ll get around. That way, you and the rest of your group can finish planning before your trip begins and focus on enjoying the present as you travel. At Windstar Cruises, our Vacation Planners are ready to help you build your dream escape, whether you’re traveling with a group, your spouse or going solo.

Plan Your Group Trip With Windstar Cruises

If you’re excited to explore faraway destinations or share new experiences with the people you love, it’s time to prioritize a group trip. After all, a group vacation combines two of life’s greatest treasures — traveling and spending time with friends.

Windstar Cruises can help you create an itinerary everyone in your group will enjoy and make you and your companions feel completely pampered throughout the journey. With Windstar, you’ll discover the best reasons to cruise in a group, such as fearlessly immersing yourself in local cultures, experiencing a rainbow of delicious flavors with others or realizing your adventurous side as you join friends on the Watersports Platform. You’ll have many opportunities to bond with friends while aboard our intimate, elegant and uncrowded cruise ship.

Ready to set sail? Contact us to learn more about planning a group cruise or chartering a ship with Windstar.

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