Your Three-Step Group Trip Planner
If you’re like most of us, 2022 was a welcome opportunity to see friends and family in person after two years of being stuck at home. And the upcoming travel season is shaping up to be even better! It's the perfect opportunity to get back out onto the world’s walking trails with the folks you care about the most. To that end, Country Walker’s Group Travel Program helps you create the unforgettable travel experiences you, and the people you care about, will never forget.
There’s no place like the walking trail to reconnect with friends and family. And there are few shared experiences that reinforce bonds like exploring the world together. Group Travel with Country Walkers is the most fun you’ll ever have on vacation. Best of all, it’s a breeze to organize.
Whether you have your sights on Italy or France, Patagonia or New Zealand, Yosemite or Acadia—on a Guided or Self-Guided Walking Adventure—here’s your easy three-step guide to organizing group travel.
Step 1: Reach Out
Determining who to invite is one of the most important aspects of planning a group trip. Choosing people who enjoy being active, whose appetite for adventure and spontaneity is in sync with yours, is key. If you don’t already have a full list of friends or family members in mind, it’s helpful to start by jotting down potential fellow travelers on paper. Don’t feel like you have to overthink it, however: many group organizers have found that it works well to take suggestions from the first few people they invite for additional travelers. Perhaps they’ll have a friend-of-a-friend in mind—or a mutual friend you haven’t thought of.
Here’s our advice to help you put the travel bug in everyone’s ears, whether you’ve identified your destination ahead of time or not:
- Email a personal letter to active-minded family and/or friends. Avoid a form letter here. When people feel like you’re writing specifically to them, they are more likely to respond positively. And give some thought to how active your invitees are. You want to be sure they’ll be fit enough to enjoy a walking adventure.
- Invite friends from a past Country Walkers trip. More than 98% of our guests report that they’d travel with us again, so it’s safe to assume that someone you bonded with on a previous Country Walkers trip will be eager to join you on your next one.
- Get in touch with fellow club members. If you belong to a college alumni group, hiking club, book group, church group, or other social group, let them know about your plans and that you’d love to have them along.
- Connect on video. Many close friends haven’t had a chance to see each other in a year or more. Just seeing your face on Zoom or Facetime will help remind them of good times you’ve had in the past—and the potential for fun times to come.
- Use social media. Once you finalize your destination, post details on your social media feeds like Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms you might subscribe to. You can also “Create an Event” in Facebook to generate interest. Both are great ways to grow your group.
As you start reaching out to guests, be sure to reach out to the Country Walkers Group Travel Team as well. We’re happy to help with all aspects of building your group. We know what works because we’ve helped hundreds of others like you successfully grow their groups.
Step 2: Limit the Menu
Some Group Organizers are hesitant to choose a destination for everyone else. If it’s more your style to let the group as a whole decide where to go, you’ll want to present your travelers with only a few options.
Why? Well, we all remember what it’s like to be a kid in a candy store. You cast your gaze over dozens of sweets, but you’re only allowed to choose a few. It feels like an impossible decision and so you freeze, unable to pick even just one. That’s decision paralysis, and you don’t need us to tell you that we’re prone to it as adults, too. So rather than presenting your group with an entire world of options, it’s worth zeroing in on just a few trips.
Many Group Organizers know their group well enough that they can winnow down the choices on their own. If you need a hand, Country Walkers can help you narrow the selection, perhaps by country, by activity level, or some other factor – depending on the needs of your group. Once we help you develop a short-list, it will be easier for everyone to decide, whether by vote or some other method.
But it’s also important that you, as Group Organizer, make a decision. Your group might decide by democratic vote, for instance, to take a Country Walkers Walking Adventure to Italy. Maybe the minority of voters prefer Spain. It’s up to you to make the final call; in the end, most group members recognize sharing the experience matters more than the destination.
Step 3: Stay in Touch
Once everyone is signed up, the fun really begins. In fact, it’s almost as much fun to share the excitement of your upcoming trip as it is to hit the road together.
Country Walkers handles all the trip-related correspondence with your group members directly, so there’s no need for you to update them every time you hear from us. That takes a lot of pressure off of you.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t share the anticipation and excitement with your fellow travelers. Some groups like to get together for weekly walks in the leadup to their trip. It’s a great way to connect and to bond over a shared goal. If scheduling or geography keeps group members apart, they might share weekly walking goals and keep each other informed of their progress. That also helps everyone stay fit for the trip.
You can also encourage group members to share little nuggets of destination information they stumble on as they’re researching the trip on a shared chat or email chain. Everyone might like to know, for instance, about that village you’re riding through that takes great pride in the pastries prepared at its bakery.
If you want everyone to feel engaged, you might poll members about hobbies, interests, talents, or specializations. If there’s a photographer in the group, she or he might agree to be the official trip shutterbug. A history buff might enjoy providing context about a city or site. This helps everyone feel like they “own” something and are contributing to the adventure.
Come departure day, you need only enjoy the experience! How much or how little you do during the trip is completely up to you. Some group organizers prepare a small gift for each traveler and present them at the welcome dinner. If there’s a birthday or other milestone date that falls during the trip, you can work with your Country Walkers guide to arrange a surprise.
And there’s one thing all Group Organizers take great pleasure in—sitting back and congratulating themselves for taking that first step toward an unforgettable journey with family and friends.
Interested in organizing a trip with friends or family? Reach out to our Group Travel Team today to start planning!