Monday, April 7, 2014

The Pro's Corner: Planning a Group Eurotrip

The Pro's Corner

The Pro's Corner is a series of blog posts dedicated to conducting yourself in a manner that would classify you as a "HugeParty". Years of research has been conducted in this field, bringing cutting-edge information to your party palette.

Volume Two: Planning a Group Eurotrip

With two Eurotrips in 2013, spanning 8 countries, I wouldn't say I'm an expert... but I'd say I'm capable of having an opinion. Below I've detailed a few major points when it comes to planning a Group Eurotrip that is a certified HugeParty. For classification purposes, "Group" refers to 3+ individuals, and Eurotrip accounts for 3+ countries visited. 

I have a penchant for planning and running events. This gift (and sometimes curse) comes in handy when a group of friends are looking to plan a HugeParty. The focus below is on a group plan.
Innsbruck, Austria, Top of the Alps

6 Keys to Success

1) Long-Range Planning - Inevitably, the 1st email you send to 12 people interested will whittle down to 5-7 potential travelers, which will become 3-5 attendees. It's science. Some of your friends are flaky, deal with it. 

Start your 1st conversation 6-8 months away, provide a date range, country/city ideas, and perhaps a target budget. In the 2nd conversation (3-4 months away) outline a detailed budget and potential itinerary. You may consider providing some links to potential lodging and reviews of clubs and attractions, this will help those people on the fence make a decision. 

Once flights are purchased you can start a snowball effect of purchasing and planning. 

Tip: Closer to the event, create a "private" Facebook group for the Eurotrip, this is easier than an email chain, and can help build needed momentum, excitement and anticipation.

2) Space & Split your Costs - Spacing your costs a great way to avoid an empty bank account. Make 1-2 payments each month and you'll find yourself in a much better financial situation when you return from your trip. If you figure each little payment can be $60-80, making a couple payments each month will alleviate the $500-600 lump sum.

Splitting responsibility to pay various "group" amenities is essential. One person shouldn't be charged with purchasing everything. Document your various purchases and settle up after the trip. One strategy is to split based on location ("I'll pay for Prague"), or by amenity ("I'll reserve the hostels").

3) Allow for Individual Freedom - There is little chance your entire group has the exact same party or travel preferences. Some people like to go hard every night, others like to pace themselves and play tourist.

Plus, hangovers vary, which can hurt a major group plan. As awkward as it sounds, plan for free time. Let the group know when there is an open agenda... with opportunities to sight see, shop and relax. This is usually during the day, so sleep in while your friends visit an old church.

Random Thought: If people don't go to church frequently when they're at home, why do they insist on visiting old churches on vacation?

4) Monday Tuesday "Recharge" - A recharge is key to any long stretch of HugeParty. Optimally, you should plan those moments around off nights in low key cities. Mondays and Tuesdays are my preferred "nights off". Relax and get the engines back to neutral for the rest of your trip. Also, this is an excellent time to pretend you enjoy "sight-seeing". (We know you don't, but your friends will appreciate it)

Fact: Berlin is open late every night, so if you don't like to take nights off, plan for Berlin on these days.

5) Expand your group at each stop - European travel is a great way to engage with people of different cultures and make new friends (and lovers). Sure, you're friends are awesome, but you'll be thankful you spent the evening talking to new friends when you're on a 7 hour train the next day.
Made new friends in Amsterdam, HugeParty

6) Variety is Key - You can't go clubbing every night. Your liver is not that awesome. Mix your travels up with Clubs, Live Music, Wineries, Dive Bars, Festivals and Foodie Restaurants.

In addition, find a couple "off the beaten path" tourist spots. It can be nice to tell a different story than your friends who have visited those same cities.
Ibiza with a Larger Group, HugeParty

9-Day/4 City HugeParty Eurotrip Scenario

If you're like me, you're working hard to pay for this Eurotrip, and you likely have a limited amount of vacation. Packing as much fun and excitement into one short trip can be tough. Here's a quick scenario (if you're from the USA) to plan around:

  • Travel Thursday night and arrive Friday morning.
  • Spend Fri/Sat/Sun in London. Go Huge alllll weekend.
  • Travel Monday to Amsterdam. Spend Mon/Tues recharging.
  • Travel Wednesday to Berlin. Go Huge Wed/Thurs.
  • Friday morning, travel to Prague. Fri/Sat go Huge.
  • Fly back Sunday.
Note: The scenario involved requires 6 vacation days, and gives you 9 full days in Europe. Efficient and Fun.

Made new friends on a pub crawl in London, Double Denim!

Travel Quote?

"But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt." -Isaiah 57:20

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