I learned a lot about people on my trip to Sturgis. Traveling with a big group can present its challenges, but it can also make for a safe and enriching experience that you wouldn’t have otherwise had. Though not typically one for etiquette guides, these are the lessons I’ve picked up during my years of travel.
Disclaimer: Sturgis was a lovely trip. Big thank you’s go out to the fearless leaders who organized the trip, the gracious followers, and a big cheers that we all have come out of it with friendships in tact.
Lauren’s guide to safe and happy travels in groups:
DO pick your battles. Traveling in large groups is a lesson in diplomacy. DON’T be that one chick who argues about everything. But, this is your vacation too. So if you’re not happy with a group decision to the point that it affects your good times, speak up. Otherwise, learn to let it go.
DO pick a leader, and
DON’T be a jerk if the leader is you. Check with the group and, if it comes down to it, take a vote, draw straws, play rock-paper-scissors. Again, group travel is a lesson in diplomacy. And democracy. Just because you’re the leader doesn’t mean that it’s your job to make all the decisions.
DO have an itinerary, and
DO share it with the ENTIRE group, but
DO let people stray from it. We’re all adults here. Establish meeting places and times, put them on printed out itineraries, and then divide and conquer. A group can get real hostile real fast if you spend too much time together, and many friendships have been broken up over a vacation. That’s lame.
DON’T forget to pitch in. Even if you’re not a leader or a naturally assertive person, don’t be afraid to put your hand in and help. Vacation is work, especially in a big group, and no one appreciates you coasting while we’re busy taking out the trash and washing dishes. If you can’t get anywhere verbally (e.g. “Can I help? Anything I can do?” doesn’t always get a task assigned to you… the leader will say, “No I got it”) just dive in and do something.
DO embrace the group experience. Be a joiner and recognize that your great lodging and awesome excursions might not have been possible without the support (financial, that is) of the group. It’s also way safer, especially when you’re traveling in places that are out of cell phone range.
That said, DON’T forget to create your own experience. This is your vacation too. If there’s something you want to see or do, do it.