Six Tips for Staying Sane when Traveling with Large Groups

Traveling in packs is fun. Elephants do it. Wolves do it. And my family does it. There is nothing like the joy of being reunited with family from all over the world. But the chaos that ensues when there are too many people with too many plans can be a real headache.

Here are six tips that saved (and could have saved) my family of 13 during our trip to the Caribbean this summer:

1) Split up. The thought of doing this would get me angry. Like, “You mean to say we traveled all this way to do separate things?” Well, I stopped thinking this way when I realized it was a foolproof tactic to keeping everyone happy. By splitting up into groups, people are able to accomplish what they want out of the destination – shopping, rock climbing, dancing, or just relaxing.

2) Be open-minded. Although splitting up the group is an option, there will be moments that call for family time. Not everyone is going to agree to the plans, so it’s important that you remain open-minded to activities others in the group want to do. You never know – you may discover something new about yourself. Be adventurous!

3) Set a meet-up time and location. When the time calls for everyone to get together, it’s important to organize a concise meet-up time and location. Meet for a meal or unwind by the beach! Just arrange your schedules so that everyone can still do activities altogether at least once a day before or after you all disperse and DON’T BE LATE!

4) Switch up your meal orders. Dying to try everything on the menu? Don’t have the entire group order the same entrée across the table. Instead, order different dishes to get the most out of the local cuisine and SHARE!

5) Take pictures with just ONE camera. Time is often wasted at beautiful locations taking endless pictures of, well, the same picture. When your entire group is altogether, use one camera for group pictures and then share it. Your time is too limited on vacation to spend 30 minutes in front of a “Welcome to the Bahamas” sign.

6) Remember that you love your family (or friends). Traveling with large groups can be a pain and accommodating everyone’s wishes is next to impossible. Refrain from whining and pulling your hair out, and remember to make the most out of your time with family and friends. As my wise Auntie Alma told me while on vacation, “We’re not always together.” So spend your time with them wisely.

valerie villanueva

Valerie Villanueva is the daughter of a wanderlust mother and bon vivant father who taught her the art of travel. She is an adventurer driven by experience and craves conversations with locals, indigenous foods, and excursions to monumental landmarks. Valerie collects articles of clothing found in local marketplaces to support small businesses and finds happiness in getting new stamps added to her passport.