Planning group travel does not have to cost an arm and a leg. There are many things that you can do to cut the cost without feeling it. Consider the following 10 tips when you are considering ways to save on your next group trip.
If you are going on a road trip, consider packing your lunch in a cooler to enjoy as a picnic when you stop to stretch your legs. You will save money on the cost of eating at a restaurant while spending time together as a group. Take along some fun outdoor items like fishing poles and lawn chairs and spend some time at a local beach.
If you are planning to fly, try to make your schedule flexible. You will often get the best discounts if you are able to book on off seasons or around black-out dates. When you are making your reservations for your hotel you can also save by asking about group deals and choosing to stay away from peak season travel.
Group hotel rates are simply a function of supply and demand. There are several factors that play a big role in this, including time of year, group events, festivals, and sporting events (e.g. Super Bowl). If you were to be booking a class reunion in New York City at the same time as the Auto Show, you could expect to pay higher rates since there is a lack of hotel rooms in the area. If the hotels in New York know that they can book rooms at higher rates, they will quote group rates that are much higher as well. They know they can get it, and in a market driven by occupancy, rates generally go the way of the former.
Alternatively, if your group travels to different parts of the state every year (e.g. Sports teams), you may want to try talking to a hotel chain itself instead of talking to individual hotels. By talking to the hotel chain, they may offer you better rates of you agree to stay at hotels that are part of their franchise system only. The chain benefits since your group is locked into their franchise, and you benefit with lower group hotel rates for your hotel booking.
You should discuss with your group what the budget will be for your trip. It is important to find out how everyone wants to spend their money, which person will pay for what things and how much money you have to work with. You may want to appoint a “treasurer” for your group that will take on the responsibility for keeping a record of the budget in a more formal way. If you are trying to work toward a goal of saving a certain amount of money for the trip, discuss with everyone the amount that must be attained and how you are planning on going about reaching your total.
While this may seem like a small order of business to attend to it is really quite important. Airlines are having more trouble with checking baggage because of security reasons and other factors. If you are someone who always checks your baggage and you are traveling with someone with a more get-off-and-go attitude you could run into problems as one person has to wait for the other to get checked in and then again when retrieving the luggage. If the entire group has decided ahead of time whether to have your baggage checked in it will save from the trip being hectic or starting off on the wrong foot.
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By Christina Madawa