How to Choose a Group Vacation Without Being an Asshole

A group trip can be a dream come true – you will never forget the memory of walking along the beach or exploring a new city with family, friends or partner. But before you can get to that fabulous vacation spot or start planning in your perfect travel spreadsheet , you need to get rid of the headache of actually deciding where to go.



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As luxurious as a vacation may sound in theory, the work it takes to pull a group from point A to point B can put a strain on your relationship. I’d love to throw a dart at a card and buy a ticket to a plan based on my romantic spontaneity, but the reality of group decision making is much more stressful. Here’s how to choose a group vacation without turning into an asshole.

Group decisions are always difficult

There is no shortage of hacks to improve your decision making skills. There is a 37% rule for decision making , as well as our guide to making the best decisions in general. Unfortunately, group dynamics throws these classic tricks out the window.

Before diving into the finer details of places and accommodations, you should evaluate the group you are traveling with. The attraction you have naturally depends on your role in that group, and at this stage of pre-planning, you should be aware of all the different forms an asshole can take.

Let’s state the obvious: an overly controlling and picky person can quickly become an asshole in the group. However, this may be too “ low maintenance”. If you’re cold-blooded to the point where you don’t speak up and participate in a group decision, you’re equally difficult to work with. You act like another asshole, shifting the burden of decision making to everyone else.

As the Harvard Business Review explains, group decision-making reveals everyone’s desire to minimize disagreement and maintain harmony, which can lead to less than ideal results compared to if everyone could make their own choices individually. With this in mind, our trick is to find a way to collect and weigh the individual opinions of everyone so that no one is too biased towards one or the other.

Below, we break down all the different deciding factors that go into planning a vacation so you know which individual opinions to collect first.

Consider the violators of the conditions of your vacation

Not everyone cares about the same details on vacation, and not everyone prioritizes those things in the same way. Here are a few factors that can be ranked individually, hopefully they will help you make a decision as a group. It makes sense to start with any major deal-breakers to really help you narrow down your choices:

  • Location . How far are you willing to go? What kind of weather do you want? How about a shared experience: one person wants a relaxing getaway while another wants a complex culture shock?
  • Budget . This is one of the most useful ways to completely eliminate costly options.
  • Accommodation . Are hostels out of the question? Can the whole beach house be rented out? Consider exploring the best Airbnb rental alternatives .
  • COVID safety . If someone is not happy with flights, then your vacation should be within reach.
  • Commitment to time . If you are planning to book an international flight, how long are you willing to stay abroad? Can some people work remotely if they so choose? What temporary restrictions do they want to impose on people?

After the main obstacles, start working on all the little things like food, photo opportunities, and specific points of interest. All of them will have a different effect on different people. Before joining a group, research what you want to experience.

How to collect and weigh all opinions

Now that you’ve created a list of deciding factors, you need a way to gather and evaluate all of the opinions. Third-party voting apps , like the Doodle Poll or the Google Form , are an easy way to gather and organize all of your thoughts. In addition to polls, you can create a bracket to match all of your different nomination options until a winner emerges. If “voting” doesn’t make sense in your group dynamic, you can also come to group consensus on a shared wish list . It could be a collaborative DIY document or a travel spreadsheet where everyone can edit and add their own comments.

Try online templates to get started planning

It can be difficult to make decisions when everything seems distant and abstract. Sometimes you need to start planning your logistics to understand what your travel priorities are. If you’d rather start planning and then make the big decisions, here are our favorite online travel tools:

  • Johnny Africa , which includes a fantastic explainer and itinerary template for Google Sheets.
  • Travel Itch , similar to the one above and includes tips for working with Excel.
  • Travel Mapper, a Google add-on that includes a customizable template ready to use.

Other tidying apps include TripIt , Tripify , and Wanderlog .

Put the Solution in Perspective

A vacation can be a huge lift in terms of your time and money. However, it will not change the course of your life. You don’t want to paralyze yourself with an abundance of choices or you’ll never leave your home.

The best analogy to lower the rates for your group holiday is: think of it as solving the question “where should we eat?” argument . For example, you can save a lot of work by getting all parties to eliminate what they are “not in the mood for”. Some other recommendations to further narrow down your choices:

  • Think about each other’s travel goals: Are you trying to relax or go on an adventure? Get to know a new culture? Treat yourself to peace and quiet?
  • Consider each other’s travel restrictions: how far are people willing to go? How about transportation once you get there? Look back at the time and money limits from the original shared document.
  • Look ahead: use the power of visualization. Imagine yourself after a vacation and tune in to your gut instinct about how you will feel about it in retrospect.

It’s all too easy to spend months wandering around on the idea of ​​a big family trip, only to realize that you never aspired to your dream destination and now it’s September and you feel like you missed your chance for a summer vacation. A little perspective can help you simply make a decision and act on it. Happy travels.


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