By The Stack World
Group holidays are amongst some of our greatest memories. So much so that in 2012 researcher Claudia Hammond coined the phrase the “holiday paradox” to describe that heightened sense of wonder and the sensation of time passing in a way that feels at odds with a regular day.
Holidays invite us to get out of our comfort zones, inspire us to try new food, experience new cultures, and take part in activities we wouldn’t usually – in fact in her research Hammond discovered that in a regular fortnight, only around six to nine experiences are fully committed to our memories – on vacations this can more than double.
Where to go...
“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, leaving your mark behind, however small. And in return, life – and travel – leaves marks with you.” – Anthony Bourdain
Start by doing your research, get together with your group and narrow down a list of everyone's top destinations – you could try voting or just talking it out until you end up with the one. We love looking for independent hotels and rentals as well as locations close to the hustle and bustle but a little off the beaten path to get the full experience. A holiday doesn't have to mean an expensive trip halfway across the world, whether the budget or the group is big or small here are the destinations we are coveting for 2023.
By Plane | Egypt is on our minds at the moment as we look to plan our girls' getaways. Beyond the obvious Giza, though of course well worth the visit, Egypt is home to hundreds of breathtaking marvels from both the ancient and modern world. A one-hour flight or train journey from Giza and you will find Luxor. This is the home of the country's New Kingdom which reached its peak in 1539-1075 BC. Built beneath the River Nile, here tombs of Pharaohs are to be found like that of Tutankhamun as well as the incredible burial chambers of Rameses IV and Seti I which are home to hieroglyphic wall murals that still boast their original vibrant shades of blue and gold. Luxor temple is another must-see, and best enjoyed at sunset, whilst the Karnak Temple is Egypt's largest standing site of its kind. There are also Nile River cruises to think about or the ancient city of Aswan, home to the Philae Temple site and dedicated to the goddess Isis.
By Train | Getting to Berlin has never been easier with the opening of a new train service from London’s St Pancras Station. This brand new sleeper train, or The Good Night Train, set to open in May this year and taking bookings from next month, begins its journey in the capital before stopping off in Brussels for a connecting train all the way to the beloved German city. Prices will start for 49 Euros for a reclining chair, 70 Euros for a couchette (a chair that becomes a full bed) or prices starting for 109 euros for a sleeper compartment which you can book with friends. Whether you're a KitKat Club or falafel by the Spree kind of person, Berlin really has something for everyone and is a great place to get away with a smaller group.
By Car | Keeping your trip UK based is by no means a lesser option, with beautiful countryside and amazing cities to explore, keeping your getaway in the country is the perfect option for big groups. We recommend Yorkshire, from the Peak or Lake district to the rolling heather hills of the North Yorkshire Moors, use The National Trust Restoration Rentals site to find unique homes to rent. Get a few designated drivers together and en route get a big shop to stock the fridge - or try getting a place close to a small town and experience local pubs, cafes, and restaurants. Swaledale is top of mind for us at the moment – located in the Yorkshire Dales, rolling hills of wildflowers are at their most beautiful at the dawn of spring, which is when we recommend booking in. The village of Reeth is the perfect place to choose for a group and happens to be the site of the highest pub in England, The Tan Hill Inn– roast with a view anyone?
Who to invite...
“The world is a book and those who do not travel only get one page” – St Augustine
Before booking anywhere, decide on your core trip group – who are you wanting to spend your days off with? From here assemble the girls' holiday list, and make sure everyone is happy with the location.
The easiest way to make your holiday memorable is to find someone with knowledge of your desired location, and look out for local tour guide companies, or independent locations to call home for the duration of your trip.
Remember, travel is a great way to strengthen the bonds of your community, so you could invite collaborators or colleagues on your trip as well as friends and family - the collective experience will create lifelong connections.
What to discuss
"Many a trip continues long after movement in time and space have ceased." - John Steinbeck
If you really want to make memories, a group trip is a perfect way to go about it, you can really get under the skin of your travel buddies whilst in a new place as the stresses of regular day-to-day life fade away.
One of the golden rules of group trips is not being too stringent with your schedule, it’s inevitable that people will want to break off into smaller groups, or do their own thing – let this happen. This way each individual can get what they want out of the destination in the way they want to. On the other hand, one thing you should keep to is a group dinner every evening, if you follow the first rule it will only make this more interesting as everyone can share where their day has taken them. Keep to a time and decide where on the day, just make sure dinner time becomes a circle to bring everyone together.
When visiting anywhere, doing some research beforehand is vital. Zoom into the history of the places you will be heading to, it will make historical sites more impactful, and good spots for food and drinks easier to find – this can be a great way to connect with someone you are perhaps less close with and can even spark new connections with other travelers. Always give yourself time for reflection on vacation, take it in, and let yourself revel in new experiences.
The Stack Top Tips...
Put down a deposit: It pays to be smart about the booking process, for peace of mind make sure everyone puts down their deposit and avoid any issues that may come up if anyone has to drop out for any reason.
Transfers are important: Make sure to check before arrival where your accommodation is, you might find yourselves stuck at an airport if you don't do your due diligence beforehand and that's no way to start a trip - we recommend pre-booking transfers if needed.
Safety first: In a similar vein make sure to do some research ahead of checking in, read up about your location and see if there are any places to avoid or anything you should be mindful of, keeping safe on your trip is vital.
Be flexible: As we have mentioned, the inevitability of a group trip is that people will want to do different things throughout the day - let it happen and make sure everyone gets to experience the trip as they want to. Similarly don't over-schedule the trip either, allow for spontaneity, you never know what you might come across once you are actually there, and the last-minute plans may well turn out to be the most memorable.
If you are looking to book a group vacation this year, we are sharing our top tips to make it happen. This article comes from The Stack World's weekly newsletter - The Superconnector.
By The Stack World