As you might expect, we're HUGE fans of travelling. It should come as no surprise that we do it quite a bit here at Vacation Home Rentals, Worldwide (VHR, WORLDWIDE) ... for business (to check out the properties we represent and update our information on the various destinations where our properties are located) and leisure (with family and friends). There's a great, big, wonderful planet out there just waiting to be discovered. And exploring it with friends can result in memories that will last a lifetime.
Here's our list of guidelines and recommendations to make them good memories based on our 30+ years of personal experience planning vacations for groups of friends (including our own):
1. Choose appropriate traveling companions
You're going to be with these people for several days or a week or more, and if they are driving you nuts now (they're always late, they're cheap, they're slobs ... for starters), the situation will only get exponentially worse on the road. Be aware of their habits. Leave the drama queens at home. Choose like-minded travel companions who are laid back, flexible, kind, generous, easy-going, and respectful of others.
2. Have "The Meeting"
This is where you all get together, in person and/or via Skype, and figure out where everyone wants to go and what they want to do. As a part of arriving at that conclusion, be honest about your expectations. Keep in mind the cost of airfare and frequency of flights out of each person's nearest airport as some destinations (such as Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic) can be inexpensive due to the number of flights from numerous hubs, and others are not as affordable and have limited flights to their island. Our Villa Specialists can help you with your airline reservations if you do not have a travel agent.
Just because you all want to go to Jamaica doesn't mean that everyone wants to run around naked in Negril (not that we have any problem with that, but ...). Really get a good feel for what individual members of the group envision the ideal vacation experience to be. Have each person make a list of five things that are important to them, in priority order, and discuss it.
3. Set up a budget
After you all agree on the destination, the next step will be to determine the type of atmosphere everyone will enjoy - whether it be a cozy beach bungalow, modern high-rise condo, or luxurious estate - and how much each person can afford for their share of the accommodation and other expenses. Keep in mind that some of the larger, fully-staffed villas with multiple bedrooms may be higher in rental price overall but are a better value because the per person cost is less. Here are some excellent examples: