Now you get to plan the trip! Where are you going, when will it be, and how long will it last? This can be a family vacation where everyone rides in the same vehicle, or a destination where people meet and then have a combined vacation. Whether road trip or destination, you still need to pick the dates, figure out how long will fit with everyone’s schedules, and where you want to go.
Hopefully, after reading my previous blog, you have everyone’s expectations and needs figured out regarding how they like spending time on vacation and have set things up for an enjoyable trip.
STEP ONE – Set the date(s)
For a small group, this can be relatively straightforward and hopefully not take more than one or two conversations. For a larger group it might involve initial information gathering, followed by a vote between the best 2 or 3 options that fit.
No matter how many people are involved, be sure to ask clear, specific questions when gathering information. Assuming that asking one general question will automatically result in other information being volunteered can get you in trouble. And it’s easy to not get specific enough.
I made that mistake recently. I asked about what works for everyone (group of about 10 people) and mentioned school as an example for possible scheduling conflicts. Only a handful responded with initial input, and they gave what might work, but neglected to say what absolutely would NOT work for them – except for those who had school schedules, who told me when they needed to be back by for the start of the school year.
As a result, I went with the rough time frame that most said worked, and no one said didn’t work, only to find out that 1/3 of the group had a direct conflict with the dates proposed.
I guess a better question would have been:
Please share dates that you already have prior plans, or that won’t work due to school, work, or other conflicts, and then share time frames that are the best fit in your life.
STEP 2 – Pick the destination
This, in part, will be determined by the time frames available. If the longest available space in everyone’s schedule is one week, then a trip that involves two solid days of flying to a destination may not be worth it.
Again, ask for input:
- Tropical, mountains, urban?
- Roughing it or luxury?
- Budget trip, moderate, or high-end?
Ask if there are any destinations or types of trips that are a hard no for anyone. There’s no point in suggesting a tropical trip if one member suffers from intense reactions to sun and heat. And there’s no point in a trip that takes 10 plus hours on a plane if someone can’t physically tolerate that. And be clear about how the costs will be divvied up and paid for – money can be the biggest point of upset if expectations and budget aren’t clear from the beginning!
Try to narrow it to the top one or two – then put it to a poll or vote.
STEP 3 – How long will the trip last
Are these people that have traveled well together previously or are they a group of relative strangers? If they traveled well together in the past, was it for extended periods of time? Or do they do great for 5 to 7 days, but anything longer inevitably causes friction? Or are they long-weekend travel buddies?
Based on your expectations conversations, will there need to be a lot of down-time or small group optional activities? If yes, does a shorter trip make sense, or a longer trip that allows more down-time while still doing or seeing what everyone wants to?
Once you’ve got the basics, you can drill down on the specifics for transportation, where you will stay, and what activities are available. That can be a group planning or individual planning, but however you do it, be sure to have clear, specific, open communication every step of the way.
Expectations can trip you up at every step, so be sure to ask lots of questions and share why you are asking them. Be clear that you aren’t trying to be difficult, or asking just to ask, you are attempting to make sure everyone has a good time – after all, it’s Vacation!
One last note of caution – financial contributions and responsibilities should also be clearly communicated in advance. There’s nothing like assumptions and lack of clarity around who pays what portion and when to create hard feelings and friction!
Have fun planning awesome vacations!
And if this feels like more than you can manage without support, I’ve got you.
A Complimentary Consultation will let us know if a One Bite communication coaching session will get you set up for success.