How to be a Good Group Travel Leader
By guest blogger Jeff Gayduk
If you've ever traveled with family and friends, you know what an enjoyable, rewarding experience it can be. Until something goes wrong of course, then everyone turns their attention to the group leader for a quick resolution.
If you're planning your own group trips, being out on an island like this can become very uncomfortable. Here's some tips to help get you through:
Prepare for the best but plan for the worst. While your co-travelers are on vacation, you're working - at least to the extent that everyone is safe and secure. Understand the logistics of your trip and have a contingency plan in case something goes awry. Collect emergency contact information for all your travelers, and a list of any medication they may be on. This way, if something does go wrong, you are prepared to deal with medical professionals and family/friends back home.
Pass out Chill Pills. True story - one group leader gives each of her travelers a sugar pill on the first day of the trip while explaining that at one point during the trip some thing's not going to go as planned, because, well that's the way travel is. She advises them to ingest the pill at the first sign of distress. It sets the mood for a relaxing trip.
Share the responsibility. Not an accountant? Somebody in your group is probably good with numbers. Assign them the task of group accountant for shared meal or drink expenses. Look for buddies that can also help arrange transportation, tours, and make sure everyone stays on schedule and is prepared for the day's activities.
Protect your investment. Travel insurance used to be thought of as an unnecessary expense that was geared for seniors. However, with today's tumultuous travel climate and tighter restrictions on private insurance policies it's a necessary evil. Look for a travel insurance policy with "cancel for any reason" options.
Go with a pro. If handling hotels, sightseeing, meals and activities is too much of a load - find a capable tour operator to plan your group's trip. This is especially true with overseas travel, with companies like Globus, Go Ahead Tours and Collette Vacations specializing in working with small groups. Another benefit? The group leader travels free with as little as 8 paying passengers (shh!).
Group travel planning can be a fun, rewarding experience if you follow these guidelines. For more group travel know-how, visit our magazine website.
Jeff Gayduk is a 24-year veteran of the group travel industry and the founder and publisher of Leisure Group Travel magazine and InSite on Leisure Group Travel e-newsletter.