If you didn’t read this already, I spent around two weeks over Christmas and New Year’s travelling across Europe in a large group, with Yibo and his friends. There were 8 of us!!!
It was my first time coordinating such a big trip, and my first time travelling with so many people, so there was a lot of adjusting to do and plenty to get used to.
Throughout the trip, there were many thoughts that crossed my mind, and I managed to come up with a few that might help you decide if travelling in a large group is a good idea!
Let’s go! (or not?)
THE MORE THE MERRIER?
I know three is a crowd, but sometimes bigger groups can provide many advantages when you’re on a holiday – like being able to order more food from the menu, or booking serviced apartments for cheaper!
1. Ordering more food for sharing
The problem of too much food, too little space will be completely negated when travelling with a large group. When you have so many stomachs to feed, you have the luxury of ordering more things off the menu to try! Everyone gets to sample more dishes!
Note: Some countries, like in Europe, serve really large portions, so be careful not to over-order…
2. Cooking is even more economical
Cooking is always the cheaper option compared to eating out, but when you have more people to cook for, it’s more worth it! For example, buying a tray of eggs or an entire pack of pasta would make perfect sense for a group meal, instead of for a meal between two people.
Our meals were pretty epic whenever we cooked. I say we, but the real credit goes to head chef Huang hahaha. Those breakfast spreads were awesome!!!
3. Cost savings for big apartments
I don’t like to stay at hostels, nor shabby hotels at dirt cheap prices, so having a big group really helped to cut those costs without compromising on comfort. For a big group of 8, I managed to find some really great serviced apartments at under $150/night per person. Some had a full kitchen, comfy beds, and Netflix on the TV! What?!
Note: The rates were all inflated because we were travelling during the festive/New Year period, so I’m sure you can easily find better rates at other times!
4. Enjoying activities for big groups
Having quality time as a couple is great, but some activities are just more fun when there is a huge group to enjoy it with. We visited an old amusement park in Vienna on one of the days and had a whale of a time there. We played bumper cars (7 people and 7 cars made a pretty epic session LOL) and went for 2 indoor roller coasters!! I think it was the most fun we had on the entire trip. It wouldn’t be the same if only Yibo and I was there
MORE PEOPLE, MORE PROBLEMS?
While all could be fun and games, things can get really complicated for a large group when it comes to the details. Unlike going on holiday with my family, where it’s clear who has the deciding power, having to accommodate a trip among friends calls for plenty of push and pull (and waiting).
1. Making decisions
If you’re chill and you don’t mind decisions being made, you just sit back and agree. If you’re uptight and like things to be planned, you speak your mind and see if anyone else agrees/disagrees. So really, if efficiency is what you’re going for during your trip, you should consider a smaller group… (I say 2 to 4 is ideal)
Tip: In the essence of time, it’s best to make a decision and wait for objections. If you have an objection, speak up! No one’s gonna read your mind.
I cannot emphasise how important it is for everyone’s expectations to be laid out before you all go on a trip together. Everyone has different objectives on a holiday – some are out to eat their way through the city, some want to conquer all the sights, some want a laid-back trip etc. Everyone wants different things!
It’d really suck if you end up spending all that money only to feel disappointed right? Having to manage so many people’s expectations can really be a bitch, so again, if it’s too much of a hassle, it’s totally normal!
If you’re going around in a group all the time, it’s hard to go for things that meets everyone’s budget. For things like accommodation or shared meals, everyone’s pretty much in it together, and everyone shares the same cost. Someone might be really willing to splurge on the trip, while someone else is trying to keep to a tight budget.
Money can be a sensitive subject, but it must be talked about before going on a trip together!!!
4. Sleep schedules
For a large group, everyone has their individual sleep schedules and biological clocks. Some wish to wake up early to make the most of the daylight, and others are okay with sleeping in and take the day slow. To be honest, the simple solution is for the group to split up. If you’re up early, get out early! There’s no obligation to wait for everyone to be up and ready.
For us, we made it a point to all meet for dinner every day, and we went about on our own ways the rest of the time.
This is kind of obvious, but clearly you lose a lot of time when you’re travelling in a group. You take longer to get ready, make decisions, eat, etc. If you want to be ticking off as many attractions as you can with all the time you have, perhaps a group of up to 4 is ideal. In fact, 2 is perfect for being time-efficient! (Assuming you prefer a travel partner, if not solo travel is great.)
There are some things on this list that I’ve never even considered as an issue, until I actually went about to plan a group travel itinerary. It’s pretty challenging I must say, but if all goes well, it’s actually a pretty good experience!
If you have anything else to ask, or I’ve missed out something on this list, please let me know in the comments!
And tell me! What do you think about group travel? Good idea, or no?