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tips for planning a group trip?

PA
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717 posts
2 reviews
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tips for planning a group trip?

We have a bunch of friends who always want to know when they can join us in Cozumel and I have decided to try to get a group together to celebrate a big b-day for myself and one of my friends. We would like this to be a couples trip and have at least 10 couples we plan to ask. Realistically, I think maybe half might actually go.

The problem I keep thinking about is how to get a price or dates until I know who is actually serious so that I know what size house to rent (should have mentioned that we plan on getting a rental house) This will not happen until June of 2013 but I want to get a head start since it involves a lot of planning. I used to do group trips for a travel agency but that was easy since it was at a hotel and the price did not change if someone dropped out.

Does anyone have tips for planning this and how to prevent the cost pp going up for the rest of us if someone backs out? I thought of asking for a nonrefundable deposit for the house rental but would refund if we found someone to take their place but that seems kind of harsh if we don't. The problem is........I don't want strangers staying in a house with me (I am imagining a friend saying "I can't go but so and so can" and then not really knowing this person....) and I don't know if I would be able to replace a couple since I will be asking almost everyone that I would want to go and that I think would be interested.

I am not too worried about the airfare except that it might be outrageous the way things are going. I checked into group air and there is no discount but the perks are that you only need a $50 deposit and names can be changed one time per ticket in case of a last minute drop out. Of course, everyone could just purchase their own airfare whenever they think the price is right too.

Any thoughts or ideas on this???

ds2
Cozumel, Mexico
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4,044 posts
12 reviews
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1. Re: tips for planning a group trip?

I've done this a few times and invariably, someone can't make the trip -- be it because of an accident, illness, family commitment or something else. So, here's my advice:

Be upfront with everyone. Tell them that, once they're committed to go, you will find accommodations and they need to pay their share before you reserve. If later, they learn that they cannot go, you can't give that money back because it is already spent. Due to the nature of the trip, if they want to substitute others in their place, they should tell you who that would be and you would have to think long and hard about it because this trip is really intended for this specific group of friends and someone outside of the group may not be a comfortable fit.

Yes, if and when it happens, you feel terrible and somehow want to find the money to reimburse those who couldn't go. But everyone needs to understand and accept the realities of the situation -- if any of your friends would suffer hardship should he lose his investment in the house rental, you may want to discourage that person from participating.

Just be up front & honest and all will be OK.

Katy Texas
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1,627 posts
11 reviews
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2. Re: tips for planning a group trip?

No doubt about it!!! Ds2 is 100% correct, get the money up front and expect a cancellation, it always happens without fail.

Wisconsin
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384 posts
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3. Re: tips for planning a group trip?

We do the same.

When we rent the house (5 Bedrooms), we've always had enough soild commitments so that even if all 5 BRs were not used, everyone was comfortable enough with the payment. If we filled more of the BRs, it was like a bonus.

For next spring's trip, we now have a solid 4 BRs filled. If we get a 5th couple, it just knock's everyone's price for the week down.

My wife and I paid the entire deposit. So when it comes time to make the final payment, we'll actually be getting money back from the group.

WindLaker

PA
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4. Re: tips for planning a group trip?

Thanks for the advice Deb and others........any other tips for planning this type of trip?

I am actually hoping for no more than 6 couples so that we can stay in one house. Any thoughts about your favorite houses for larger groups? I was looking at Chango if there are 6 couples and Cielo and Sol Haa if there are 9. If it ends up being 7 or 8 not sure what I will do because I know all my friends want their own bedroom with bath and not to sleep with another couple!

I know we will have rental cars but just the thought of trying to transport a larger group if we want to all eat together in town makes my head spin. Of all the group trips I have arranged and done, my favorite was when there were only 7 total people. It was small enough to be managable but there was always someone up for whatever you wanted to do.

We just love Cozumel so much that we want to share it with all our friends and make new cozaholics.

Cleveland, Ohio
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443 posts
7 reviews
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5. Re: tips for planning a group trip?

I suggest you t row a party inviting your ten couple friends. At the party, tell them of your plans but that besides yourself and spouse, there will only be room for five other couples. Explain the approximate cost of the stay and let them know that the first five couples to put up a deposit will be guaranteed a spot. Also advise them that if they can not make the trip they can only sell their share to the other couples at the party, but they need to make those arrangements themselves. You are then off the hook for deposits and you will know the size of rental to get. I would also suggest each couple get a rental car or one for every two couples so they have some freedom to explore on their own. Leave that up to them. But above all else, keep it simple. If you nail down the rental, you may want to explore maid service and a chef. Get those costs nailed down before your party so you can share them and let the group decide. Advise that airfare is up to each couple to arrange. Good luck.

Cleveland, Ohio
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443 posts
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6. Re: tips for planning a group trip?

Also, at the party, you may want to have photos of your last trip and print a list of things to do and see. This forum is a great source for any info you may need. If you can decide on a rental before the party, you can share photos and amenities of your rental to get the excitement building. You will soon find out which friends are serious about going and which were just playing lip service. It may sound strange, but not everyone is a beach person. Also, there are those few less traveled that thinks of anywhere in Mexico as scary. The more info you have, the more excited your friends will be in joining you.

7. Re: tips for planning a group trip?

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