Tips for planning group travel to Europe

Tips for planning group travel to Europe

 Travel groups can be a great way to see the European continent while meeting new people or getting to know existing friends and family better. In this article, we'll give you tips on how to plan more efficiently and explore some of the benefits of travelling with a group.

[1] Budgeting - travelling with a group can be cheaper than going it alone

Travelling with a group has many advantages. It can help to cut costs, thanks to discounts offered by airlines, travel agents or tour operators when more than one person books together. Rooms in accommodation establishments are usually cheaper when booked for multiple people, plus when grouped together you have the benefit of access to larger facilities such as kitchen and lounge areas. Being part of a group also gives you the security of travelling with others, which can be especially beneficial for first-time travellers abroad. Furthermore, by travelling together, you create lasting memories and friendships that may never have been formed if travelling alone. So regardless of destination, if you're looking to keep your expenses down, it pays to look into travelling with a group.

[2] Visas and Visa Waivers - Non-EU citizens needs a Schengen Visa or an ETIAS

Before booking a group Europe trip with friends and family, a good practice is to ensure all travellers have obtained the necessary travel authorisation for entering Europe. For passport holders of the EU, you can travel freely across any country you wish. For Americans, Canadians and other visa-free nationals, you will need an ETIAS starting in late 2023. Travellers who are not eligible for ETIAS nor hold an EU passport are required to apply for a Schengen Visa. Some exemptions may apply if you have immediate family in the EU. However, regardless if you need an ETIAS or a Schengen Visa, travelles are advised to learn about the requirements in advance of their booking and obtain authorisation for either prior to booking travel. Unfortunately, a majority of travel agents, tour operators, airlines, and cruise-liners do not offer refunds if travellers are unable to depart their home country, or enter their EU destination country, due to not obtaining an appropriate travel authorisation.

Applying for an ETIAS entails completing an online application and paying the €7 fee. Applicants under the age of 18 and over the age of 70 have this €7 fee waived. Group ETIAS applications are not possible so each application will need to be submitted individually, yet can be done so by a family member or third-party.

However, if you're travelling to Europe with a tour operator, then you've only got your own ETIAS or Schengen Visa to worry about. It is usually up to the tour operator to remind the group travellers of their individual obligations to apply for ETIAS or a Schengen Visa.

[3] Booking group travel - find a reputable travel agent or tour operator

Traditionally, tour operators bundle vacations into various flight, hotel, transportation and activity packages and sell these to travel agents or consumers. Travel agents then sell these to consumers. However, nowadays travel agents and tour operators both put together packages and sell them to consumers.

Travel agents

Planning a trip can be overwhelming, but often with group travel it may be easier to find a travel agent or tour operator as they can take the hassle out of sorting out flights and hotels.

You can use any major online travel agent (OTA), such as Booking.com, Expedia and others, as they can help with displaying instant pricing and availability. However, you can also consider getting assistance through your local travel agent depending on the level of service you need.

Research online and read review from past travellers before choosing a travel agent to help with your booking. From there you will have an idea of the type of experience offered, information on costs, levels of customer service and satisfaction. Reviews can often provide insight on whether or not the company is reliable and responsive when working through last minute adjustments or correcting errors. A quality travel agent should make planning your vacation efficient while giving you peace of mind that all components have been taken care of so you can sit back and relax during your stay.

Tour operators

Tour operators now tend to offer more packaged experiences to travellers based on their age, demographics, or travel areas of interest. For example, operators such as Contiki and Topdeck limit the age of the travellers they allow on their tours to between the ages of 18 and mid-to-late 30s. Others, such as Abercrombie & Kent and Audley Travel are focused more on luxury group travel. If the age, income or travel interests of your fellow group travellers are important to you, you may want to consider booking your holiday through a tour operator.

[4] Communication - use messaging apps, forums and cloud documents to synch-up

Planning ahead is the key to a successful group trip. You need to ensure that everyone in the group agrees on where you will be going and what you will be doing each day, or else the trip can quickly become chaotic and dissatisfying for all involved. When you are trying to get the group to agree on a particular spot to visit, communicate clearly about these details in advance to make sure no one is caught off guard when the time to travel finally comes. Creating an itinerary that everybody can agree upon is ideal, as this can serve as a roadmap for the entire journey. Making sure that everyone has access to this information online by using a Google Doc is also essential, if not a group chat or messaging app, as this will ensure that everyone stays well informed throughout their travels. Planning ahead not only creates a smoother experience while on vacation, but it’ll also reduce stress levels both during the get-away and after as it helps retain a record of itinerary and activities you can reflect back upon.

If you're travelling with a group through a travel agent or tour operator, make sure to sign up to their group messaging or forum well in advance before your departure. Tour operators tend to let you mingle with others in your group months before your travel date so you can share interests and plans with one another before you eventually all meet on the tour. Although most of your itinerary will be set by the tour operator, you will still have plenty of time for excursions at your own leisure which you can go solo on or with your new tour companions.

[5] Pace yourself - be prepared for long days of sightseeing

Sightseeing can be a great way to experience a new place, but long days of exploring can leave you exhausted. That’s why it’s important to prepare properly before embarking on such an adventure. Make sure you bring enough food and water with you, wear comfortable clothes and footwear, and take occasional breaks throughout the day to recharge. Additionally, having an itinerary of specific sights in advance will help maximize your time spent sightseeing - this way, there's no need to worry about how to make the most of your day! With the right planning and preparation beforehand, your long days of sightseeing should be enjoyable as well as productive. - pack comfortable shoes and clothes, and bring along snacks and water.

[6] Relaxation - don't forget to leave time for relaxation

Travelling with a group of people can be an extremely rewarding experience. When planning your journey, it's important to remember that all-day structured activities and sight-seeing tours can become tiring for everyone. It is essential when travelling in a group to schedule relaxation times in between organized activities, so that you and others in your group have the opportunity to unwind and rejuvenate after long days of exploration. This may involve relaxed evenings out with members of the group, or simply some quiet time relaxing on the beach or around the hotel pool. Whatever you choose to do during your down time, make sure that you carve out some moments in your trip dedicated only to wind-down and rest. This way, you'll be energized for all the exciting adventures ahead.

[7] Socialise - travelling with a group can be a great way to meet new people and create lasting memories

Socializing and having fun are important components of life, particularly in our fast-paced world. Travelling with a group is an excellent way to take a break from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day activities and make new friends in the process. Group travellers have a great advantage: the ability to work together to find the most cost-effective flights, accommodations, and attractions, while still enjoying a well-planned vacation designed to deliver lasting memories.

Conclusion

Travelling with a group requires careful planning and preparation but can be both enjoyable and cost-efficient. Make sure to research any travel group you plan on booking your trip with, ensuring they have the proper experience and knowledge of the destination you're visiting. Taking time to pack sensible shoes, clothes, snacks, and medication will make it easier to enjoy your vacation. Don't forget to leave some time for relaxation. Having a few hours a day where everyone can unwind and take in the sights at their own pace is important. Ultimately, travelling with a group gives you an opportunity to create lasting memories with friends or family and explore the world in ways that are often difficult when visiting Europe alone.