Five Destinations Ideal for Group Travel

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In 2022 we are all focusing on connection — finding ways to share experiences and create memories with those we’ve missed spending time with. But deciding where to go for a multi-generational family, reunion, or friend-cation group trip can be tricky. You want to find somewhere with a little something for everyone. Someplace where you can feel safe, and a destination where you can spend a lot of quality time together. And spend time soaking up everything you’ve missed over the past two years. Here are our suggestions for some small-group destinations that would be perfect for this year’s shared adventure:


Mexican All-Inclusives

Sun, beach, and warm sand for the whole family to enjoy! Plus the added luxury of all your meals and drinks included (and no one has to cook or clean!) With a big focus on relaxation, this is a great destination to reconnect. Many all-inclusives have casitas, villas, or stand-alone suites with their own pools. Which gives you a great sense of seclusion and privacy. Plus, they offer a wide range of activities for all ages and interests. You can just enjoy each other’s company without the stress of trying to get to the next landmark or attraction or figure out where to go for dinner that evening. For bigger groups, groups with younger children or those who love chilling on the beach – The Mexican Riviera has a lot to offer.

Costa Rica

a group of friends white water rafting down a river in Costa Rica

With a tropical climate, plenty of private villas, and beautiful beaches, Costa Rica has a lot in common with Mexico. Costa Rica, however, has a greater sense of adventure. Offering a multitude of outdoor activities from hiking to rafting to ziplining. It’s a great destination for friends who love the outdoors and want to have an active vacation with only a few beach days thrown in. Or families with kids who love animals and would enjoy the variety of wildlife in the area. Plus, Costa Rica has a major focus on sustainability, making it a top choice for your eco-conscious friends.

[Photo Credit: Alex via Shared Adventures]

Italy

Often seen as a ‘romantic destination’ (which it can be) Italy has a great advantage for groups — there’s a little bit of everything. If your group has a wide variety of interests, Italy is the place to go. History buffs, foodies, shopaholics, beach bums, and outdoorsy types alike will all find something to enjoy. You can head north to the Dolomites and the fashionably stunning lake district. Or head south into the wine-soaked hills, the small historical cities, and the beautiful beachy coastline. Cities like Rome and Florence offer history and shopping around every corner. And not too far away you’ll find breathtaking coasts and mountains. Italy is all about coming together for an aperitivo or a delicious meal to share stories about the day’s discoveries and adventures. And your accommodations can range from charming local hotels to sleek luxury resorts, city-center apartments, or private villas in the countryside.

Wales

a Castle Ruin in Conwy Wales

For those who aren’t looking for a tropical climate, Wales is great for a multi-generational road trip. The dramatic coastline and beautiful national parks offer a lot for those who love to be active (and for those who prefer a gentle stroll.) Certainly, you’ll find plenty of historic castles and quaint seaside towns to enjoy together. There’s plenty of room for kids to run around, and adults to follow. Above all, there’s something slow and relaxing about the pace of life in this intriguing countryside.

[Photo Credit: Ann via Shared Adventures – read about her UK road trip here! ]

Safari

Whether you head to South Africa, Tanzania, or Kenya – going on safari with your group of friends or family is a magical journey. Share the once-in-a-lifetime experience of seeing incredible wildlife up close. And share stories each night over a gourmet meal back in camp — safaris offer a complete change of scenery away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Additionally, safaris are scheduled and guided to maximize the wildlife (and scenery) viewing potential, making planning your day a breeze. As a result, you have more time to focus on creating memories that you’ll be talking about for years to come. Since most safaris are group activities anyway, why not take your own private group with you?


Vacation Pods

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If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s the importance of connecting with loved ones. Most of us have had plenty of family time at home by now, and are yearning to find a way to get outside the same four walls. Finding a change of scenery, sharing adventures and laughter with friends, letting your little ones get out of the house and be around people their own age — this almost seems like an impossible dream. But there IS a way to make the impossible possible: Vacation Pods. This travel trend is all about minimizing risk while satisfying your urge to travel and your need for connection. Here’s all you need to know:

What is a Vacation Pod?

Vacation Pods (also called travel pods or quaranteams) are a new way of taking a vacation with others while minimizing the health risks typically associated with group travel. A pod is a group of families and/or friends (who follow and value the same safety standards) taking a trip together. This can include two or three families merging together or a group of friends. Typically, pods should be kept to 10 people or fewer.

By staying in the same group and with the same guides through the whole trip and not mingling with those outside your pod, you reduce risk. Of course, any travel will always carry some risk of infection and spread, and it’s important to stay vigilant, but pods can help you control that risk and keep it to a minimum. Pods also allow you to split the travel costs, making your vacation more affordable.

three young boys jumping into an infinity pool

Pods offer you peace of mind and a sense of safety, while still sharing an adventure. They’re particularly great for families who want to give their children a chance to socialize and play with other kids. Pods are a perfect way to salvage that annual vacation you look forward to every year (as long as you make smart, thoughtful choices.)

[Photo Credit: Marc Tutorials via Pexels]

Keys to making your Vacation Pod great

Same risk-aversion attitudes: When considering who you want to travel with, make sure that you have the same attitudes, priorities and risk aversion thresholds. Find like-minded people who agree with your risk comfort level.

Trust: Forming a vacation pod with another family or two involves a lot of trust. You’re trusting your pod with your health and they’re trusting you with theirs, so you want to make sure to choose people whom you trust to strictly follow the guidelines the group has established.

Communication: When you’re planning any group trip you have to agree on the destination, the activities, and who’s sleeping where. With a vacation pod designed to minimize the risk, there are few more details you need to work out.

a woman wearing a mask with a small backpack on a forest trail

Discuss in detail the precautions you’ll take before the trip. It’s best to negotiate to meet the needs of the most at-risk person. What makes this trip possible for them? Whether it’s everyone getting tested a few days before or going through a two-week quarantine or both. Consider everyone’s habits and who they’re exposed to daily. Make sure everyone agrees to follow social-distancing guidelines and wear a mask when out in public or with people outside of the pod.

[Photo Credit: Tsunami Green via Unsplash]

two women having a picnic in a field with a green tree

After the pre-vacation arrangements are agreed-upon, it’s important to discuss the safety guidelines you’ll follow while actually on the trip. When are masks required? How much exposure are you willing to risk? Are take-away or grocery runs ok? Or do you want to buy all the food beforehand and cook it on-site? We recommend having a zoom call and writing down all the agreed-upon guidelines so there’s no room for misinterpretation.

[ Photo Credit: Toa Heftiba via Unsplash]

Finally, make sure you have some back-up plans in place. Ask yourselves if/then questions. What if someone tests positive? What if someone’s test results don’t arrive on time? Having a clear plan will ensure that your vacation is as relaxing and worry-free as possible.

Where Should You Stay?

These days, vacationers the world over are looking for private, controlled spaces, away from the crowds, and with plenty of outdoor activities. Vacation pods are no different.

Many resorts and hotels are offering pod-friendly accommodations, where you can rent out an entire floor for your pod! These pod packages often include room service, local take-out, in-room entertainment, balconies and large suites that can be configured to perfectly suit your group. Some places have private pod events like wine & chocolate nights or a murder mystery party. Others offer you a private elevator and dedicated beach beds.

a private pool with two lounge chairs and a hotel room at a resort tropical

Some hotels and resorts even offer detached villa-style rooms with private pools. Depending on the size of your group, it can work out to be the same price per person as renting a couple of mid-range hotel rooms.

[Photo Credit: Anam via Unsplash]

a cabin in a snowy landscape across emerald lake, Canada

If you’re looking for even more control over your environment you and your pod can always opt to rent a stand-alone space. Choose from a cozy cabin, a luxury condo, a chill beach house, or a spacious Villa! The possibilities of where to stay with your vacation pod are endless!

[Photo Credit: Alex Hawthorne via Unsplash]

Utilizing the Experts

Ready to start but not sure how to narrow down the endless possibilities? We can help you find the right place to stay with the strongest health and safety protocols (and the right amenities) to make everyone in your pod happy.

Even before the pandemic, organizing a group trip meant juggling multiple opinions, priorities and budgets, but now you also need to know the ins and outs of local COVID regulations. This is where we can really help! We’re staying up-to-date on all the rules, and can keep you advised on the ever-changing local guidelines. We can also find you pod-friendly private tours or specialized events to enhance your trip!

Forming a conscientious vacation pod is becoming the future of travel. Finally getting out of the house and being able to enjoy a little company in a risk-minimal way is great for everyone’s mental health. Let us help you make it a reality, so all you need to do is enjoy the breath of fresh air and a change of scenery with your favorite people!

a group of people standing with their hands up facing a sunrise
[Photo Credit: Min via Pexels]

You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)