When you have several heads of households going on a trip, that’s several folks who are used to making the call for pretty much everything in their family lives on a regular basis.
Several of them can even be trip planners themselves. Though some of them are probably more often just financiers. There’s numerous considerations: logistics, multiple wish lists, multiple personalities, Open Table booking limitations, the list could go on. Here’s some things that have helped me plan trips when it wasn’t just me and my husband.
Agree on a date months ahead.
Some folks in your party may require to request their vacations at the beginning of the year. Or, just at least a heads up months ahead. Obviously your limiting agent here is that one family member who has saved the least amount of vacation hours and the least flexibility. Be nice to this family member and don’t leave him behind entirely 😆. He’s already regretting that day he took off just to binge watch Breaking Bad on Netflix. There may be options where he can go home when he has to and the rest continues on. He will suffer enough with the photos he won’t be in. 😁
Talk about the money.
If each family will be booking on their own, this should not be an issue. Otherwise, there is no reason to not talk about the money. Everyone has different travel standards, and everyone has different capacities. It would be helpful to establish who’s paying for what, or if everything will just be evenly divided, that sort of agreement. If you’re tasked to be the one booking, ensure you talk about how much things cost so there will be no surprises, no awkward moments, and no broken relationships by the end of the trip. At the same time, be open to requests for other options. Not only should you inform about the cost, but also when you need to be paid. That way, you won’t be doubling your own travel expenses and you’re also giving everyone else enough time. There are perks to being the one booking, you get all the credit card points!
Things are better organized in a massive general sense anyway, most especially your thoughts. But really, this is particularly important to me as a safety precaution. Having all your travel information in one place is not only good for you, but also good for the members of your party, as well as for the family members staying back home. I give a hard copy to everyone so they’ll always have information of our home base(s) during the trip in case we do not have the instant internet access we’re so used to. For my husband who has trouble communicating, I place a copy in the bag that would likely stay with him during excursions. If anything happens to me or him, it contains emergency contact info. Likewise, family members not on the trip will have a starting point if they need to get a hold of us, other than our cell phones. It is a plus if you try to make it pretty, so that you are more inspired.
Keep blocks of time for everyone’s Me time.
Unless you’re like my dad who would always rather go where we go (because witnessing our joy is really his joy, right?), you will likely have things you’d like to check out that your brother-in-law’s brother’s girlfriend doesn’t care for. Your nephews and nieces may go berserk if they would have to spend another minute waiting for you to take the perfect picture of the Torre Agbar (there are infinite ways, kids, I kid you not).
All families have their own travel traditions, so allow them, and yourselves, just that. It’s everyone’s vacation so let everyone spend it as they please. You can choose to visit yet another museum while your parents check out the gardens because your dad could really not look at another Picasso. This also encourages each family (or at least a member thereof) to do some research of the destination. And if you do end up touring a place together, it becomes a knowledge sharing session rather than you trying to be a tour guide to a place you’ve never been to before.
But again, if you’re like my dad, you’re probably just going to wait for your grandkids to animatedly share what they just read at the Information kiosk.
Inform them of the weather.
This is really a courtesy that you would be offering, but it would really help. You would be thanking me when suddenly everyone needs to buy a rain jacket in the middle of July because everyone just packed for the summer, and failed to realize that it seems it could rain anytime in England. Then you would have to get an extra luggage to pack all the rain jackets that you would have to check-in, and you would almost forget about it at baggage claim because it does not look like any of your other luggages. I’m just saying, that could happen. 😳
These have immensely helped me in the past. And if you’ve got any more, I would definitely love to hear them!
Bianca is one of the founders of get there | get lost. She is an avid writer and photographer based in Northern California. Her love for history, literature, architecture and food culminate to her passion for traveling and learning about different cultures. She advocates for accessible travel, and continues to explore with her husband and travel partner, Jesús, despite physical limitations. Follow their adventures on Instagram as @gettheregetlost and @coffeeandtherapy.