Have you ever planned a trip with a partner, friend or group and been left feeling like a travel agent or tour guide?
Frequent travellers with a passion for sharing their experiences can often get left with all the responsibilities of planning and coordinating trips for their travel companions.
There is no secret or magic trick to planning a trip. We all have access to the same websites, guide books, search engines and, most importantly, time, as anyone else who’s planning a trip. However, it seems there’s always the one person who gets left with the group leader role.
I’m actually a professional tour leader and I love it. But when it comes to my personal getaways, I don’t want to be left with all the planning, booking and organising for my fellow travellers.
Planning your holiday doesn’t have to be a chore or a bore.
Here are some tips, learned from some of my own travel experiences, on how to share the load when it comes to travelling with others.
Discuss your travel styles
It’s all about being open, honest and clear about what you each expect from your trip.
Do you prefer relaxation or activity-packed days? Do you want to hike mountains or sip wine over long lunches? Do you like group outings or would you like to include some alone time to explore?
Setting clear expectations about what you want from the trip, and asking your travel companions the same, will help with planning and decision making.
Share the research
Trawling through various websites for the best deal and scouring guide books for ideas is time consuming.
Give your fellow travellers aspects of the holiday to help with. You could divide up the jobs in several ways by allocating the planning of specific days, locations, activities or tasks, such as hotel or flight bookings, to different people in your group.
Sharing the research phase can give each person a sense of ownership and responsibility to make the trip enjoyable for all.
Delegate the bookings
The crucial step of booking and paying for a trip can be a huge responsibility and pressure if left to just one person.
In 2018, my partner and I went on a seven-week holiday which included 13 flights, let alone the hotels, car hire and activities we needed to book for the trip.
After working out the overall itinerary, I delegated various reservations for my partner to research and book. Once narrowed down to two options, we would confirm one together, and he would make his allocated bookings.
It took a lot of pressure off me and also meant if something went wrong with any of the reservations, we could both be accountable for finding a solution.
Go over the plan together each day
This ‘holiday’ is beginning to sound more like boot camp, right? Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you have each minute of your day itemised on an itinerary.
Your ‘plan’ for the day could be to do absolutely nothing but everyone needs to know what to expect.
One of my favourite family holidays was to Bali when I was 11. My parents managed our expectations by letting us know that every second day we would go on excursions. The alternate days would be spent relaxing at our beautiful resort.
By laying out a rough plan and, importantly, sending it to all travellers prior to the trip, everyone can be on the same page and prepare for the journey.
Ask for help during the trip
If all your well-laid plans go out the window, ask your travel companions for help to find a solution.
Whether it’s booking an activity or selecting the restaurant for the evening meal, ask them to join in the decision-making process, or let them take charge.
You can also limit the options. Instead of asking the open-ended question of “what would you like to do today?”, which can be daunting and overwhelming, propose only two options. When the opportunities are endless, it’s nice to have fewer decisions to make.
Factor in alone time
As someone who loves to regularly travel solo, time by myself is a must on any shared holiday.
Having this discussion with family, friends, groups and my partner before a trip has set me up for a carefree parting when I’m ready for some me time.
Just because you’re travelling with others, doesn’t mean you have to share every single activity and moment with them.
Leave it to the professionals
If it’s all getting too hard, enlist the help of a travel agent or tour company to organise a package for you.
It may cost more, but removing the stress of trying to work out what to do and booking each element by yourself will allow for a much more carefree holiday.
TELL US: Do you travel with partners, friends and family? How do you share the load when planning trips? Share your top tips in the comments below.