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How to Travel with Friends (and Make New Ones Along the Way!)

It all started with a group of friends walking together among the scenic hills and fragrant farmer’s markets of Provence. There, they met other like-minded walkers who became close friends and later embarked on great adventures together.

How to Travel with Friends (and Make New Ones Along the Way!)

It all started with a group of friends walking together among the scenic hills and fragrant farmer’s markets of Provence. “Originally, six of my friends and I went on a trip to Provence to celebrate a 60th birthday,” recalls Country Walkers traveler Cathy McDonald. “We had a great time together, and on that tour we met a few other people who we thoroughly enjoyed traveling with. Two years later, we planned another Country Walkers trip that included those new friends! We all went to Ireland together, where we met more wonderful traveling companions, and the group expanded again. Last year our numbers were big enough to fill a whole group departure—which was private for our group.” One of the benefits of a Country Walkers group adventure is the opportunity to book a private departure when you have 15 or more travelers in your group. Smaller groups may have others join them on their adventure—allowing you to meet like-minded walkers. As with Cathy and her crew of companions, these walkers can become close friends—expanding your circle of fellow travelers.

Cathy has used the Country Walkers Group Travel Program to plan several trips with her ever-growing group of adventuresome friends—most recently embarking on the Country Walkers Portugal: Minho & the Douro Valley Guided Tour together. How does Cathy’s group of seasoned travelers pick a destination? “Deciding where to go is always a little tricky,” says Cathy. “People have to be willing to compromise. Luckily for us, we have fun together no matter what, so we all know we would have a blast traveling anywhere together—even if it was to small-town Oklahoma! This time around, a core group of us met up for a weekend away and we decided on Portugal, then we got everyone else on board.”

When It Comes to Scheduling, You’re Not Alone

Wrangling a group of friends from different parts of the country who all have busy schedules can pose a logistical challenge. “Picking the date wasn’t easy, but that’s where Country Walkers Group Tour Manager John Zelig came in,” recalls Cathy. “We narrowed our date options down a bit through group emails, and then John was able to narrow them down further. He helped work with the whole group to coordinate our schedules and find a date that could work for everyone. He really simplified the process.” John has years of experience expertly tailoring group departures to accommodate group members’ schedules and preferences—ensuring a stress-free experience from start to finish.

In addition to the logistical support, guests on group adventures get all the usual perks of a Country Walkers experience, including hand-picked boutique hotels, carefully chosen walking routes, and unique cultural experiences. “We thoroughly enjoyed the accommodations—and we stayed in a good mixture of places that were very unique,” Cathy explains. The group stayed in a vintage-inspired hotel constructed on part of Porto’s medieval city wall, a manor house originally built to accommodate Portugal’s traveling king, and a tranquil riverside hotel on the site of a former vineyard. “Another standout was the Pre-Trip Extension to Porto,” says Cathy. “Everyone really loved that experience, and it was a great way to kick off the trip.”

There’s No Time Like the Present

With her vast experience planning Country Walkers group adventures, Cathy has a word to the wise: “My advice to other group organizers would be to start early,” Cathy says. “People’s calendars are busy, so start talking about where you’d like to go even before dates are published. Getting some potential dates on people’s calendars really far in advance makes it more likely to happen.”

Interested in planning your own group trip? Learn more about the Country Walkers Group Travel Program and find out how you can get support planning the adventure of a lifetime for a group of people you love to walk with.



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