traveling with a big group

The pros and cons of traveling with a big group

It’s always amazing when the stars align and somehow eight of your friends have the time and money to go somewhere together. Traveling with a group is different from other kinds of trips, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.

Pro: Traveling with a big group can bring you out of your comfort zone

One of the nice things about traveling with a big group is that you’re more likely to travel with people who have different interests. For example, if you and your best girlfriends go on a trip to Vegas, you may not spend a lot of time gambling. But when we invited the boys along one year, they taught me how to play roulette. I would have never had that experience if I hadn’t traveled with people that wanted to spend a lot of time at the casino. (For the record, I won $175 with my last $5 and cashed out immediately. Nobody bests me, not even the house.)

Con: You may end up doing some things you don’t want to do

It’s a lot easier to compromise with less people. You can quickly come to some agreement about what to do on your trip that works best for everyone. But if you’re traveling with a big group, you have to juggle a lot of different desires at once. On top of wasting time arguing and deciding, you might end up getting stuck doing something boring that everyone else thought was a good idea.

Pro: Groups make it easier to split up and do your own thing

On the other hand, traveling with a group can actually make it easier to do more of what you want. Take a music festival, for example. You can be sure that some people are going to want to see Coldplay instead of Muse. If you’re with one or two people, no one will want to split up, so inevitably someone will end up missing the band they really wanted to see. But if you’re at Lollapalooza with a dozen people, you can split up into smaller groups without leaving anyone alone. And then you get to do exactly what you want.

Con: You’ll probably take a lot less advantage of your destination with a big group

Regardless of how smoothly you can all agree on what to do, traveling with a group is like traveling with kids. Everything is going to take twice as long, which means you’ll have half the time to actually do stuff. Have you ever shared a house with 6 people who need to shower and get ready at the same time? You can pretty much expect to start your day around lunchtime. And lunch will take an hour longer than normal because that’s what happens when you have a group of 9 to feed.

Pro: Traveling with a big group can be more fun

traveling with a big group
Not pictured: the gnome smashed to pieces because we got careless after spending 5 hours at a bottomless mimosa brunch.

Going on a trip with a group is like the travel equivalent of going to a club instead of a bar. When you’re traveling with only a couple of people, most of your interactions will be more intimate and subdued. You’ll see the difference in the time you share in the hotel room or when you go out for dinner and drinks. But when you take a trip with a big group, everything is louder and wilder. Going out for drinks can quickly turn into an unforgettable experience because the group’s collective energy is keeping the party going.

Con: It can be more exhausting

Because you’re more likely to rally when you’re with a big group, it can be way more tiring. When you’re traveling with a couple of friends or a significant other, it’s easier to call it a night early after a long day. In a big group, one or two energetic people usually keep everyone going, even past the point where they should. Because big groups have no chill. The longer the trip, the more exhausting this is. At the end of a group vacation, instead of feeling rejuvenated and rested, you’ll probably feel like you got hit by a truck.

But it’ll still be worth it.


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