How to Plan a Group Getaway in 12 Easy Steps

Organizing a group trip doesn't have to be stressful! Get our planning tips and tricks.

A group of friends snorkelling

5min read

Published 20 June 2024

Flight Centre Author

Copywriter


Share


Organizing a group trip doesn't have to be stressful! Get our planning tips and tricks.


Planning a group trip can be an exciting yet challenging endeavour. In addition to there being multiple individuals involved, there is a lot to coordinate. But you shouldn’t let that deter you!

We chatted with two of our very own Group Travel Experts, Hiba Al-Kinani and Sarah Griffiths, and discovered that you can plan an incredible group trip in just 12 simple steps. Keep on reading to learn how to best get the group trip out of the group chat.

A quick note on group travel types

The travel tips and advice mentioned below will vary slightly depending on the group trip you’re planning — but do apply generally to all types, including destination weddings, school tours, corporate conferences and incentive trips, and more.



Friends celebrating first night of group trip with drinks and dinner
Friends celebrating first night of group trip with drinks and dinner
Friends celebrating first night of group trip with drinks and dinner

Step 1: Form your group

First things first, you need to decide who you’ll be travelling with. You can’t start planning a group trip without a group! Who you invite is entirely up to you, of course — but keep in mind that you need to have at least 10 group members in order to qualify for an airline’s group rate. This is true regardless of whether you’re organizing a special birthday celebration with friends, an incentive trip for colleagues or an intimate destination wedding with relatives.

At this stage, you should also think about group dynamics. Just because you all get along at home, doesn’t mean you’ll mesh well on vacation. Everyone has a different personality and will likely want different things out of a trip. In other words, don’t text every single one of your friends about the potential for a large group trip and see who bites. Spend time creating a guest list, considering personal preferences and travel styles.

Step 2: Appoint a group leader

When you plan a group trip, your first instinct will be to get everyone involved — but that can quickly get complicated. So instead, assign a group leader (or a couple group leaders) to manage the researching and decision making.

Don’t worry! This doesn’t mean that group leaders will be the only ones with a say in the itinerary. It’s simply a way to streamline your group’s communication and ensure the planning process runs smoothly.

Large family posing for a photo while on a group trip
Large family posing for a photo while on a group trip
Large family posing for a photo while on a group trip

Step 3: Select your travel dates

This is one of the most difficult parts of organizing trips for big groups. It can be hard enough finding a date to have dinner with friends, let alone jetting off to an international destination. But there is a way to make this easier.

Rather than selecting specific dates for your large group trip, Hiba suggests that you choose a range. If you want to go on a 7-day trip, for example, ask everyone to block off a span of 10 to 14 days in their calendars. This should not only help your group narrow down what dates work best, but may also save everyone money.

“If you leave on the weekend, it may not hit your budget. But if you leave three days earlier, it might,” explains Hiba. A little bit of advance planning and flexibility is key to selecting dates for a group vacation. 

Friends on a group trip drinking wine at a vineyard
Friends on a group trip drinking wine at a vineyard
Friends on a group trip drinking wine at a vineyard

Step 4: Determine budget and special requirements

Speaking of spending money, it’s important for you and your group to chat about your different budgets and what you anticipate paying. “Budgets are a big one,” says Sarah. “Some [group members] may have wild dreams and expectations and be able to pay for it, but others won’t.”

Since supply and demand dictates the airfare and hotel rates for group trips, plan ahead. The earlier you’re able to have these conversations, the better chance you’ll have of finding a price that works for everyone.

In addition to agreeing on the cost of your flights and accommodations, you should also discuss how you’ll be splitting group expenses and how everyone will be required to pay their share — whether it’s the cost of a sightseeing excursion, tips for the resort staff or a round of drinks at the bar. Figuring out shared expenses is definitely not the most fun part of planning a group trip, but it will ensure that everything goes smoothly once you return home.

This is also a good point in the planning process to ask if anyone has special needs or requests. Does someone in your group require an accessible room? Are a few people hesitant to travel to certain destinations because of their sexual orientation? Make sure you’ve thought all of this through before moving onto the next step.

Friends on a group trip hiking
Friends on a group trip hiking
Friends on a group trip hiking

Step 5: Choose a destination

When it comes to choosing a fantastic destination for your group vacation, the world is your oyster. “It’s really, really limitless,” says Hiba. Flight Centre’s experts, for example, can book group trips in Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Thailand, Cambodia, Peru, Guatemala, Las Vegas and so much more.

So, how do you get everyone to agree on the same place? It comes down to the goal and overall vibe you want for the trip. “Do you want to sit on a beach? Do you want to explore a city centre? What are you looking for on your holiday?” says Sarah. Once you’ve answered those questions, you and your group should be able to align on a clear winner. 

Step 6: Contact a Group Travel Expert

Group trip planning can be complicated, so why not let the travel-industry experts do the hard work for you? Once you’ve made it through the inspiration phase and are ready to start booking, reach out to Flight Centre’s Group Travel Experts.

With more than 250 years of combined experience, our dedicated team takes the stress out of planning big group vacations by:

  • Sourcing the most competitive group rates
  • Booking custom tours and sightseeing activities
  • Negotiating special services, promotions and upgrades
  • Being a trusted point of contact who can solve all your travel needs
  • Offering flexible payment options to your group
  • Providing access to Flight Centre’s emergency assistance

Not only that, but they can also set up registration sites (an absolute must if you’re planning a destination wedding or incentive trip), find a suitable travel insurance plan and give you a ton of first-hand tips and tricks for your chosen destination.

“We have that knowledge,” says Sarah. “If you tell us what you’re hoping for, we know exactly which locations and hotels to recommend.” 

Friends packing up the car for a group trip
Friends packing up the car for a group trip
Friends packing up the car for a group trip

Step 7: Book flights and accommodations

When you work with a Group Travel Expert, this step is super easy. From rented houses to five-star resorts, they’ll help you choose accommodations — and also book your domestic or international travel. Plus, they’ll work hard to ensure you get the most bang for your buck. “We’ll always do our best to make sure you have the best possible combination of value and price,” says Hiba.

You’ll get a couple different flight and hotel options to choose from, and once you’ve made your decision, will learn of any special perks that apply. This will vary depending on your airline and hotel, but may include reduced holding fees, luggage inclusions and room upgrades, among other benefits.

At this point, you also have the option of making special requests. So, go ahead and ask for the suite with the hot tub! 

Step 8: Sort out your transportation

Now that you know which destination you’re travelling to, when you’ll be arriving and what hotel you’re staying at, it’s time to arrange transportation. Do you want to book a group shuttle or private transfer? Is Uber or other ride-share services available? Would you prefer to go old-school and flag down a taxi at the airport?

Your Group Travel Expert can walk you through all the options, and help you decide what’s best for you and your fellow travellers.

Friends on a hot air balloon ride during a group trip
Friends on a hot air balloon ride during a group trip
Friends on a hot air balloon ride during a group trip

Step 9: Create a flexible itinerary

This is arguably the most important step of group trip planning. As mentioned before, each individual will likely have different expectations for the group vacation. You probably have at least one friend who prefers to sit by the pool — and at the same time, a handful of friends who want to go ziplining or hit the golf course.

To make everyone happy, create an itinerary that includes both group activities and free time. That way, you get the best of both worlds: opportunities to explore and bond together, and the liberty to break away and embark upon your own adventure. It’s okay if you split into smaller groups! Besides, no one said you have to separate for an entire day. Some of you can participate in sightseeing tours while others relax at the spa during the days before you all meet again for your evening meals. 

Friends on a group trip at viewpoint of hiking travel
Friends on a group trip at viewpoint of hiking travel
Friends on a group trip at viewpoint of hiking travel

Step 10: Share information and plans

There are two types of people on every group trip: the ones who spend weeks planning every detail, and the ones who arrive at the airport without a clue what’s on the itinerary.

Regardless of how many of each are on your trip, make sure to share all the details and travel plans with your group members. We really can’t stress this enough: the more you communicate, the easier your group vacation will be.

Group on a tour bus in a desert location
Group on a tour bus in a desert location
Group on a tour bus in a desert location

Step 11: Make payments

Swiping the ol’ credit card is the last thing you need to do when you plan a group trip. While this can be stressful for some travellers, Sarah, Hiba and other Flight Centre Group Travel Experts are able to find a payment plan that works for each individual. In fact, aside from meeting the deposit and final payment due dates, you have the option of paying in whatever increments make the most sense for you.

Note: Payment dates will vary depending on the type of group vacation you book. For example, those booking a destination wedding will need to make final payments approximately 75–90 days prior to departure; those planning relaxing vacations for large groups of colleagues will need to make final payments 40–45 days prior to departure.

Step 12: Go on the group trip of a lifetime!

Get excited! Now that all the hard work is done, you can jet off on your group vacation. If you’ve followed the steps above, you’re bound to have a fun time (and will probably even come home with a few new inside jokes).

 

Ready to start planning a group trip? Get in touch with our Group Travel Experts today!

Flight Centre Author

Copywriter


Share



...loading
Flight Centre

© Flight Centre (NZ) Limited.

Lowest Airfare Guarantee is no longer valid at Flight Centre stores in New Zealand as of Thursday 14 July 2022. Click here for more information.

A Travel Expert Service Fee will be applied to bookings made in store, over the phone or via email, and is charged in addition to the advertised price. Click here for more information.

*Travel restrictions & conditions apply. Review any specific conditions stated and our general terms at Terms and Conditions. Prices & taxes are in NZD and are correct as at the date of publication & are subject to availability and change without notice. Prices quoted are on sale until the dates specified unless otherwise stated or sold out prior. Prices are per person.