OK, so you have a group and you know how you’re going to split expenses. You know how to find a vacation rental or other type of lodging. So where should you go??
The options, as I am sure you have already discovered, are endless! In 18 trips we’ve only repeated a destination a few times. The right location choice for each group is really a decision unique to that particular group. The makeup of your group and the goal of your trip, as well as the age of your travelers and your budget all play a part in your decision. It’s more of an art than a science. We choose based on interests and availability of activities for the age and size of our group. We also have to factor in the availability of housing for a group of 20. If you have a smaller group, that definitely gives you more flexibility for housing in most locations, but you might not get the group discounts that we can score in most places.
Our group has a lot of conversations about location options, and we do quite a bit of research. Honestly, it’s a bit of entertainment to most of us, I think. I would say we average 10 conversations (at least) before we decide and book. Which, as it turns out, might not be such a bad thing. According to a NYT article, a study, published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, showed that the largest boost in happiness that we get from vacation, actually comes from the act of planning the trip, rather than the actual travel.
How do you start your list of options? Ask the group. Have everyone throw out ideas. If you need more ideas, reach out to co-workers or check your social media feed. Trip Advisor or the Chamber of Commerce for a location you are considering can also be great resources for information, ideas and reviews.
Determine any guidelines for destinations ahead of time. Our group originally tried to choose destinations that were close to at least one family in order to rotate a bit of a break on travel expenses or required vacation time. We were spread across four states at the time, which essentially limited us to one of those four or their neighbors. You may decide that certain destinations are out of your budget. Rather than looking at these guidelines as limitations, try to view them as assistance in narrowing down your options.
Once you have a list, you can vote, or choose one group member to select and plan. If you do assign a group member, though….no complaining! It will be your turn one day, so just relax and enjoy a location that you may not have experienced if you were choosing. We’ve had many great trips at locations that I would not have chosen on my own. Arrive with an open mind and a variety of clothing options. 🙂
Here at Going Dutch, we’ll try to help you choose your destination with some posts reviewing locations that we have traveled. We’ve also created a new page that we’ll fill with our favorite online resources to help with your planning. What are your favorite locations to travel? Share them with us in the comments below!