I am a huge supporter of group travel because I know how many great things it can do for people and how it can change their lives for the better. Traveling with a group has a lot of benefits, aside from the obvious ones like attractive rates, planned activities, and photos that look good on social media. Taking a trip with a group can be better in many ways. Some of these are the chance to meet new people, change who you are, and go to new places with new people.
So many women love to travel with a group because they have similar interests or feel safer than when they travel alone. In fact, Group Travel is often the driving force behind positive and successful networking, which leads to a group of women who all have similar interests and feel comfortable enough to plan travel together. And if that weren't true, why would you want to travel with people you don't know?
I know you must have a lot of thoughts going through your head as you start to wonder how your time with this new group of people will go. But don't be afraid! I've been there too, so I know what it's like. I remember that my first group trip to London and Paris sold out in 2014. On this trip, I did everything for the first time. After being in business for two years, this was the first group event that sold out, the first time I met all 16 travelers, and the first time I went to London and Paris. Can you imagine? I was a traveler, but I was also a travel agent and the leader of a group. I was so worried about meeting the other women who were going on the trip with me and about how the trip would turn out as a whole that I didn't pay attention to other things that needed my attention.
Even though everything worked out and we had a great time, and some people still talk about the trip to this day, I think about all the nights I didn't sleep because I was worried about nothing.
In my 12 year career as a Travel Advisor and Travel Agency Owner, I have found that traveling with strangers offers so many opportunities for you to live freely and be yourself without judgment. And I have been blessed to experience these moments countless times while traveling around the globe with many wonderful like minded women from all walks of life whom I never knew prior to my trips. So I can honestly attest that seeing a new destination for the first time with new people can be one of the most life-changing trips you'll ever take! And I'll add that just because you're traveling with strangers doesn't mean it has to be an awkward or bad experience. In fact, since you don't know any of the other travelers, isn't this the perfect opportunity to reinvent yourself?
To help lessen your worries and get you focused on enjoying your new travel experience, here are 5 Events to Help You Prepare for Your First Group Trip with Strangers. Since I am a Group Travel Expert, I use these icebreakers when planning travel for The Globe Trotting Divas, LLC to help our clients become more familiar with me and the other ladies they'll be traveling with. These tips are helpful even for the most shy and leery traveler!
Host a Happy Hour - Unlike the corporate holiday party, which most of us normally go over and beyond to avoid, Happy Hour with strangers is the jackpot of after-work events for some unknown reason. Hosting a Happy Hour with your fellow travelers is a fantastic idea that you'll likely wish you'd thought of sooner! What's more, it's a budget-friendly outing with discounted beverages and food, and what female doesn't want that? Check out what's going on in your city this week. For the win, think Wine Down Wednesdays and $2 Tacos!
Facebook Event Page - When The Globe Trotting Divas, LLC announces our travel and social events, we not only post them on our website, but we also post them on Facebook and other social media platforms so that our clients can get more information and communicate with other travelers who have already booked or are interested in our events. This strategy has worked well for us in breaking the ice, asking questions, and even discovering other travelers in or near our area. As a result, take use of your Facebook event to get to know the other members of your group. But have fun with it! Go to the group's Facebook event page and leave a brief introduction just to break the ice, nothing big. If you're the "research traveler," on the other hand, get the group enthusiastic by giving a few intriguing facts about the destination you'll be visiting. Or consider sharing something personal, yet not too informal like your birthday, birth month, fun fact, must see attraction on the trip, or your present location. These topics always tend to get the comments popping!
Day Trip - Show me a traveler who doesn't like an action-packed day excursion, and I'll show you a traveler who's never traveled…with fun people! You're in for a treat if you live in bustling big cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, or New York. These and other large cities are jam-packed with things to do and eager to show you and your group a good time. Post a day trip to your Facebook Event Page so others in your group will know about what you've planned and why you're doing it. A private half day city tour, local food tour, shopping, cooking class, dance lessons, making your own jewelry or lipstick are some of many things to include on your day adventure. Get creative!
Zoom Party - Even though that yucky COVID is still around, video chat has quickly taken the place of voice calls as the main way to talk during this terrible global pandemic. While social distancing isn't enforced as it used to be, many people still find that video chat is the best way to stay in touch. This is especially true when time and place come into play. If your group is spread out in different places, a Zoom Party can seal the deal. Even though you won't be meeting them in person, you can at least see what they look like. This is the perfect time to ask about the other travelers and find out more about them.
Themed Dinner Party - Why not get a taste of your destination before arrival? Hosting a themed dinner party where the restaurant focuses on the cuisine you'll be indulging in during travel is an epic ice breaker! It is over good food, mocktails, and cocktails where you'll truly get to know those you'll be traveling with. So if your group is en route to Jamaica consider your local small business owned Jamaican or Caribbean restaurant to ignite your palate! Oxtails, Browned Stewed Chicken, or Whole Red Snapper for the win!
It doesn't have to be scary to travel with strangers. It's exciting, fun, and often more memorable than going on a trip with people you already know. Break the ice by holding events before you travel so that you and the people you’ll be traveling with can get to know each other before you leave. I hope you can use the advice above, and I'd love to see pictures of your events and your trip with a group of strangers! @theglobetrottingdivas is my Instagram handle. If you want to add something to this list, please do so in the comments.