More years ago than I’d care to admit in a public forum, I stepped onto the campus of a small midwestern liberal arts college. Over my next 4 years there I came to meet and get to know 3 other amazing women. We had a great college career, and then it was time to head off into the real world to pursue our lives. Each of us got married and the other three of us came and did what friends do at weddings. As so often happens, this could have been the end of our story. We were scattered into different states and different careers, and well, sometimes that means you lose touch with awesome people.
Then one of us had the idea to get together for a weekend. Four couples at a Minnesota campground. Low key, inexpensive for recent college grads, and lots of fun. And a tradition was born.
Eighteen years and 12 kids later, we get together for up to a week every year. So far we’ve been to eight different states. We’ve stayed in hotels, vacation homes and campgrounds. We’ve been on trains, planes, horses, jeeps and rafts. We’ve battled raccoons, suffered through heat-waves, shivered through rainstorms and drank hot-chocolate while watching 4th of July fireworks. Our kids enjoy these trips so much we are convinced they believe college is where you go to find the people you will vacation with every year!
Over all these trips, we’ve developed a system of traveling with a group of people. Every year we tweak it depending on the location. We make mistakes and promise not to do it that way next year. We’ve all followed roughly the same format with family groups. It works for us. It works so well we end up planning the next year’s trip almost as soon as we show up for this years’ trip.
Through our trips we’ve learned that traveling with friends has a LOT of benefits. These are some of the best experiences and memories of our lives. Our kids have built-in friends. If we plan things right, we can build in kid-free time for all of the adults on the trip. But when we tell others we’re going to vacation for a week with 3 other families, the reaction is generally curiousity mixed with a diagnosis of insanity…”you’re going to go on vacation with HOW many people? Wow…”
Yes, group trips definitely have some pitfalls. But here’s the thing. Yes, our group is special, but all groups are! Traveling together is something that we think lots of groups can do successfully. With busy lives being what they are, time to connect with friends is limited. Making time for a shared vacation every year helps keep everyone in touch and is a great way to spend some of your 365 allotted days every year. Our blog is here to help you travel with your friends AND keep them in the end!