Wednesday - March 20, 2013 Filed in: Travel Tips
Image © Concierge in Umbria
Your entire extended family has decided to spend 10 days in Italy and you’ve volunteered to plan it. Coraggio
- you’ve signed up for a lot!
Let these fundamental questions guide you to a better understanding of how to plan your trip.
How many are you?Image © Concierge in Umbria
Don’t say you don’t know. You’re allowed not to know, but don’t try to start planning if you’re still waiting to hear if your sister and her three daughters and their friends might join.
If you don’t know how large your group is, you won’t be able to reserve or put in a deposit on anything. So get that nailed down first.
What is your budget?
This is probably the hardest and most important question to answer before planning begins. Is one generous group member treating everyone or are you sharing the cost evenly? The former scenario is generally easier to plan - one financial decision maker generally guides the group to a quick consensus on a number of trip variables. If, however, people with diverse budgets are traveling together and everyone is splitting the costs equally, things can get dicey. In this case, it is critical to decide on “per person” or “per family group” budget parameters first, as this will determine the level of accommodation and services for your trip. Being up front with each other about the level of accommodations and services you’re willing to divide equally with the other members of the group will get things going in the right direction. That way, if someone in the group wants to splurge on a special activity or upgrade their accommodation, it can easily be added in later.
How do you plan to get around Italy?
You’ll also need to think about how you’re going to travel safely with minimal stress. We have had clients rent a big van with plans to drive themselves around the countryside only to call us on day two to have the van picked up and replaced with a professional driver. Think about it - if no one in your group has ever driven a big van in Florence, SC let alone Florence, Italy, you might want to consider letting someone else do the driving.
As it is, large vans are a rarity in Italy, and anything that fits more than 8 people will be slow and unable to fit into many narrow Italian streets. Whether you drive yourselves or hire help, consider splitting your group into smaller subsets with a smaller minivan each.
Which brings us to . . .
What do you (and everyone else) want to do?Image © Concierge in Umbria
At least in broad strokes, you need some sort of idea as to what interests your group. Food. Wine. Music. Art.
It’s fine to split into a few groups with different interests, but you want to figure that out early on so you can plan your schedule and activities accordingly.
Gather everyone’s one or two top “must do” activities and see if it’s possible to accomplish those items together or if it’s better to have different options available each day.
But who is in charge of collating all that information? It’s important to have a group leader.
The best way to have a great trip as a group is to make sure everyone has a say but then let one person handle the coordination so nothing falls through the cracks.
There will also be times when a quick decision needs to be made, say between one villa and another or one day excursion and another lest both get filled while the whole group deliberates.Image © Concierge in Umbria
Have we scared you away from planning a group trip to Italy?
We hope not. (Get re-inspired here!
But if you’re feeling overwhelmed, give us a call
and we’ll make sure your group has the trip of its dreams.
Brian Dore and Maria Gabriella Landers | Contact Us
Condé Nast Traveler Top Travel Specialist: Italy