Traveling with Friends

Posted by Tammy Murphy

March 2, 2016 at 4:10 PM


WARNING:  You may not want to come home  . . .   
I love hearing travel stories, don't you?  I love hearing which iconic sites were their highlights and especially the really, cool and unique experiences they had "by accident", or so they thought.  Some of the best memories were not actually about the iconic destination itself, but the experiences they had.  First time river cruisers are typically amazed at the experiences they have aboard the ship (AMA Waterways) . . .the sampling of local wines while cruising past hilltop castles and rolling vineyards; the gentle ride along remarkable waterways.  "We saw magnificent cities, historic villages and bespoke experiences."   It is not uncommon to hear that they are already planning their next trip with new friends they met during the wine & chocolate pairings or dining at a local wine vintner's home.   What I love most about these stories are . . . traveling to new places is exciting, but sharing the experiences with others is what really makes the EXPERIENCE!!  It always reminds me that while I LOVE exploring a new destination and meeting new friends, what would make it even better for me is  experiencing these once-in-a-lifetime adventures with my family and friends.
If you are like me, initially I'm planning a couple or family vacation, but when the plans begin to come to life, the excitement is contagious and I don't want any of my friends and family to miss out on this . . . and quickly it turns into a group vacation which ends up being loads more fun.  One really memorable trip that we talk about so often was a trip that began as a group of 4, turned into a group trip of 50 friends and friends of friends.  I couldn't wait to begin the trip because I couldn't wait to meet my friend's friends, etc.  I may not have known everyone on our group roster, but several of them became friends we looked forward to many future travels with.  There is something about bonding on vacation that you just can't describe.  Some friends went in different directions and we may not have traveled together again, but it is still great fun when we do see them at social gatherings to laugh and re-live times on that trip. 

If you are on an excursion with others while on vacation, can you relate to wishing it were your friends and family you're having these adventures with?  It's easier than you may think!!
Choose a Vacation Destination:
After choosing your vacation destination, work with your travel consultant that is interested in learning your interests.  If you're not sure where you want to go, your travel consultant can also help you with destination choices after she learns more about you.  And if you've been with your travel consultant for a while, she can send you ideas throughout the year that may pique your interest.  All inclusive resorts or  tours make it easy to experience the fun together, especially when it comes to dining.   Imagine eating out with friends and never having to worry about splitting the bill since its all included.  And, you can also sneak off for some quiet time as well, even if it is a group vacation. 
Another great choice for a group vacation with friends?  Sailing aboard an ocean or river cruise ship.  Some travelers would love to include their friends but really don't want the added hassle of coordinating everything for them.  No worries, your travel consultant can become the main contact for the group.  Trying to get 12-18 people in a restaurant or on a tour on your own may be aggrivating, but having everything set up in advance by your travel consultant makes it a fun night out. 
Traveling as a group can get complicated, so consider destinations and modes of travel and definitely enlist the help of a trusted travel consultant.
Benefits of Group Travel
As a group, many times we had options for upgrades, discounts, amenities and unique  experiences that weren't available to individual travelers (there is power in numbers).  With a group of 25, you may be able to customize your excursion to specific interest.  Many times, your spouse or bestie just may not be in the mood to do what is on your wish list for the day, with a group, someone else in the group is bound to be thinking of the same activity or adventure.  In some cases, travelers are anxious to travel to a new country, but are afraid of the language barrier or just feel more comfortable with an English speaking guide and friends with common interests.   And what a perfect way to celebrate a milestone birthday or anniversary.
Don't be Afraid to Stick Together OR Split up:
Just because you go on vacation with a group of your friends doesn't mean you have to do everything as a group.  Just let your travel consultant know, she can plan excursions as a group or smaller groups or just as couples.  Some experiences are more amazing as group experiences, but dinner in a quaint little spot "as a couple" can make the trip just perfect.  And don't forget, you may want to schedule in some "me time" at the spa.
In my experience with groups, dining as a large group was loads of fun, but sometimes just two or four of us met in different spots for lunch.  Cruises are excellent for this as they offer several choices of limited edition tours or you can explore the town on your own, and still others may choose to stay onboard.  Not everyone will want to do the same thing at the same time, and IT'S OK, I encourage each couple to discuss in advance what they hope to get out of their vacation and make those decisions accordingly.  
One awesome thing we learned with our large group is that splitting up occassionally is a great idea - when we met back up with the larger group for dinner or drinks, we were able to swap stories about the individual activities we experienced that day.
Another thing I love about river cruising is excursions are limited to 25 people, sometimes its great to be with 25 of my friends, and sometimes I love meeting new people and learning more about where they are from and their interests. 
Keeping the Memories Alive:
The best part of traveling with friends? The anticipation and the planning was always an excuse to "get together" for dinner or drinks to discuss the vacation plans which built up the anticipation of the vacation even more.  Then when we returned from the trip, we met at one of the couple's homes to share photos  and videos and re-live the vacation again.  Sometimes, we even cooked a meal based on one of the ports we had visited.    Experiencing incredible cultures is so cool, but I have to say, it's even  better when we experienced it with good friends. 
I don't know about you, but I've worked myself into "It's time to plan an amazing trip with my friends".  If this sounds like fun to you, get in touch with me and I'll help you put together the perfect itinerary for you and your friends!



Topics: #travelwithfriends, #milestonebirthday, #girlstrip, #groupfun, #milestoneanniversary

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