Begin at the Beginning: A Group Travel Planning Checklist

We know that planning a trip can be overwhelming; there are lots of details to work out.  Don’t let that stop you from taking that trip!  We’ve put together a group vacation planning checklist to help you get started.  

6-12 months prior to your trip:

  • Determine who’s traveling!  Which of your friends wants to commit to this experience?  Who haven’t you spent enough time with lately?
  • Pick the dates and duration of your trip.  
  • Set a budget.  Have a frank discussion with your group and determine how much you want to spend on your trip.  This will help you set expectations and avoid potential issues.
  • Choose a general location.  In our earliest conversations this year, our trip destination was listed as “Some Beach”.  We knew we wanted to see the ocean and have a beach vacation.  This narrowed down our lodging search but left us open to fantastic rental options in multiple locations.  It also meant we needed at least a week for travel time and downtime once we arrived.  
  • Book your lodging.  Choose and reserve your hotel or your vacation rental.  Your group will have some non-negotiable amenities, but be flexible.  Nothing is perfect.  Since you’ve set your budget already, make sure you’re searching for places that fall into that range.  Some of our favorite lodging resources are listed here.  
  • Relax for a while, and pat yourself on the back.  You’ve done the hardest part! 

3 months prior to your trip:

  • Make travel arrangements.  We recommend that each family makes its own arrangements for arrival and departure from the vacation site, but everyone should be getting that done about this time.  
  • Discuss food planning.  Will you eat out or cook?  Some of both?  This is a good time to make that decision.  
  • Research and daydream!  Spend a few lunch hours researching your destination.  What activities do you feel are a must-do for your group?  Are reservations or advance tickets required?  
  • Share the planning tasks.  Decide who will do what for your trip.  Having a point person for different tasks means that no one person needs to do everything.  And you can take advantage of your group’s different skills and talents!  

1 month prior to your trip:

  • Plan your menu.  If you will be cooking some of your meals, a basic menu plan is a good idea.  You don’t have to follow it 100%, but it definitely makes things easier to have an idea what you’ll be eating.  Be sure to take into account local cuisine.  Takeout gulf shrimp in Panama City Beach was easily the best meal of the trip.  
  • Determine whether you will pack the groceries or buy at your destination.  We buy most of what we eat after arrival.  Keeping food cold over a long car trip can be difficult, and most of the time that space is needed for other things!  
  • If you need or want to pre-book activities, this is the time!  
  • Start your group and personal packing lists.  If you need a griddle for your pancake breakfast, or a crock pot for taco night, decide who will bring it.  You can work with your rental owner to find out what’s already there.  

The night before your trip:

  • Get yourself and your family packed, and get a good night’s sleep.  You’re going to have so much fun on your vacation!!

Are you still feeling lost and overwhelmed about planning your trip?  We’re here to help!  Ask us your questions in the comments below or send us a message!  

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