How to survive a group holiday

So you, a solo traveller, have somehow managed to book yourself into a holiday with 5+ other people. You’re all sharing this tiny AirBnB flat someone found and found some dirt cheap flights to the closest Spanish island.

I’m joking though, group holidays can be just as awesome as travelling solo, if not better sometimes. I just got back from a trip to Barcelona that was, frankly, wild. There were hard times, tired times, drunk times, crazy times, hilarious times, fun times – and I wish it had gone on several weeks longer than it did. I was really worried the entire month before because I thought I was going to struggle to enjoy myself as I had recently discovered the merits of solo travel, but I promise you, if you’re in a similar situation, that needn’t be the case.

How to survive a group holiday | Maps of Pangea
Park Guell, Barcelona

I’m kind of apprehensive about writing this because I have a feeling some of the people I went with might read this hey Jeff but you know I had an amazing time you dickheads… so here are my tips on how to have a stress-free group holiday without killing one another!

  1. Accept that you will split up into smaller groups

Let’s be realistic, you’re not going to all want to do everything at the same time for an entire week. As soon as everyone is okay when half of you want to hit up the beach but the other half find it boring, everyone is way more chill. Similarly on nights out or eating in restaurants, it’s hard to find one place that everyone wants to go to (especially in large groups), so just go with the flow and don’t be afraid to break it up!

How to survive a group holiday | Maps of Pangea
Park Guell, Barcelona

2. Research and figure out everyone’s top things they want to do, then figure out a loose plan

So you’ve looked at your destination and figured out a few things you absolutely NEED to do. Find the people in your group who have this in common, and make a few educated ideas at when you could do them. Put it all on the Facebook event and then you’ll have a better idea about who wants to do what.

3. Try and avoid being hungry

Hanger is not the one when you’re sleep deprived. Lemme tell ya.

4. Make sure your budgets match up

The last thing you want is one person bringing £500 with them and aiming to eat out every meal when someone else is scraping together £100 and looking to cook for themselves most of the week. Come to an agreement and compromise on spending you can cut back – e.g. eating out only once or twice and hitting up a few more free attractions.

How to survive a group holiday | Maps of Pangea
We ate out every day anyway because we’re lazy

5. Figure out some ground rules

Stuff like no sleeping with someone when you’re sharing a room, no getting stroppy because you’re tired or don’t get your way, not getting completely wasted and having to go to hospital. A good thing to figure out on the plane or waiting at the airport, just choose a few things that you’re worried (but don’t be too square and have a list of a million things)

6. Put each person in charge for an allotted time e.g for dinner

Nothing is more irritating than a group of 10 people wandering around getting hangry because each restaurant someone is like “nah I don’t like this one” – so put one person in charge and whatever they say goes. We realised this worked when it was someone’s birthday and we just decided to let them make the plan and just followed suit, and it was really fun!

7. Book in a few hours solo time

Get all your things done that only you want to do, have a walk around, take some photos, and when you go back you’ll be super refreshed and not want to kill anyone!

How to survive a group holiday | Maps of Pangea
Booking in some solo time on the first day to get it out of my system

8. Make sure everyone has a map on their phone and find friends switched on.

BOOM, iPhone users be thankful for the find friends app. SO handy when someone texts you like “Literally don’t know where I am” and you can pop it up and literally let it lead you to them or vice versa. Also invest in an offline map app (like the Ulmon ones that do most major cities in the world and honestly work better than google and apple maps) that you can use to drop pins and find the closest station etc.

9. Be open to spontaneity

The best memories are made when it’s 6am and you’re watching the sunrise as you’re skinny dipping in the ocean (totally illegal I know but when you’re drunk) when you said 10 hours previously that you were gonna be in bed by midnight.

How to survive a group holiday | Maps of Pangea
A spontaneous tapas tour that ended up in several spontaneous bar trips with some ransomers and our tour guide buying us shots

10. Be on time

Oh my GOD nothing makes me want to die more than when you’re trying to leave for a tour or something and someone is still getting ready… don’t be that person.

11. …But chill out

You might be late, you might argue, you might get stressed. Just try not to micro-manage and just go with the flow –  you’re on holiday to relax and have fun!

So there you have it, now go and enjoy your budget holiday in Malaga. Anyone else got any more tips on how to survive big group holidays when it’s not your usual way of travel?

Group holidays might be something dreaded as a solo traveller as it usually involves a conflict of interests... but it needn't be dreaded! Click through to read some tips on how to make it a smoother experience for everyone involved.
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Liz Wilson

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