Spring Break is not just for students anymore. Groups of all ages and all walks of life have hopped on the bandwagon to take part in a glorious week away from it all. Class trips, sports teams, church groups, extended families — everyone’s invited!
If you haven’t the foggiest idea of how to plan a group trip, or if you’re just looking for a few insider tips to up your vacay game, we’re here for you. We’ve got the lowdown on how to plan the perfect group Spring Break holiday, and make sure it goes off without a hitch.
Choose your Theme
Is your group looking to chill in nature, or party on the beach? To hit the slopes or hit the town? The simplest way to find out is to ask! Come up with a variety of themes and present them to your group.
If you already have a group chat going, you might consider creating a couple of polls, one for general vibe (relaxing, partying, exploring), and one for setting (skiing, nature, beach, city). Not only will this make whittling down your choices easier, your group will appreciate being consulted.
Know Your Destination
Now that you’ve established your theme, you can start looking for destinations that fit the experience you’re seeking, and your budget. The U.S. and Canada offer such diverse landscapes that you’re bound to find a location that suits your group to a tee. Kayak lists the seven most popular Spring Break destinations as follows:
The upside to these locations is that they are definitely accustomed to Spring Breakers, so hotels and AirBnbs are likely to be organized and accommodating for groups, and there are heaps of info about what to do, where to eat, and everything in between.
Pro tip: if you are interested in visiting one of these popular destinations but prefer things off the beaten path, it may be worthwhile to consider the help of a local guide. One easy way to do this is through ViaHero, a travel company that connects you with local experts in your trip target area that can help you craft the perfect adventure for you and your group.
If your group is not looking to party down or rub elbows with crowds of revelers, you might want to forego the more popular vacation spots. Another thing to consider is your budget — these spots will definitely cost more in terms of activities and accommodations.
Luckily, there are loads of destinations throughout North America that won’t break the bank! A quick Google search yields tons of results. And it doesn’t hurt to ask: maybe someone in your group has access to a beach house or mountain cabin you can use for free or at a discounted rate!
If you have to make do without a free house (poor you!), you’ll have to consider what kind of accommodations will best suit your group. If your student group or sports team is looking to bond in a shared space, you might want to consider an AirBnB house rental. Or, if your group members enjoy their privacy, a hotel might be more their style. There are many hotel chains that cater to groups, and do it well. Here are some of our faves:
- Holiday Inn Express: their website makes booking for groups a breeze, and even has a downloadable event planner and budget guide.
- La Quinta Inn & Resorts: they have over 900 locations in North America, and offer a special group rate for blocks of ten or more rooms.
- Best Western: this is a good option for smaller groups, as they offer a group rate for as few as four rooms. They also offer other discounts, such as military and AAA/CAA.
- Marriott: these hotels have a gym and a pool on site, as well as lounging areas for your group to meet and chill together. And, of course, the coveted group discount.
Finally, if your group is looking to meet new people in a super-budget-friendly environment, you can also look into hostels. Keep in mind, though, that you might have to put up with some snoring!
Check out our post on the Best Hotels for Corporate, Sports, and Student Groups for a more in depth guide.
It might seem easier to let everyone organize their own transportation, whether to the airport or to your destination, but organizing safe, reliable group travel in advance will save everyone time, money, and headaches in the days leading up to your trip, so they can focus on the important stuff – like how many bathing suits to pack!
Travelling to your destination by bus is a great way to avoid the airport hassle, and to spend quality time together as a group before hitting the beach or the slopes. For groups of 15 or more, consider chartering a minibus, coach bus, mini coach bus. Comfortable seats, all the electronic amenities (WiFi, DVD/TV), and on-board restrooms… is there really a better way to travel?
Before booking, you’ll want to take inventory of how much luggage and gear your group will have. For instance, ski equipment may take up some seating space if your bus doesn’t have a luggage compartment. For help choosing the right transportation for your group, consult Bus.com’s Guide to Choosing a Bus Type.
The next step is to plan your itinerary. Your group might require more than one pickup spot, and they will definitely need to eat and stretch their legs. Planning rest stops along the way will save you valuable time. Once your itinerary is mapped out, it’s time to reserve your bus! Don’t have everyone’s payment yet? No prob! You don’t have to pay a cent until 21 days before your trip.
And before moving on from any pit stops, make sure to take roll call or. implement a buddy system to make sure your group stays together. No one wants to be left behind at the gas station!
Finally, coach buses are equipped for entertainment, so take advantage! Podcasts are great for quiet time, and can spark lively discussion afterward. And don’t forget movies! It’s time to dust off your DVD collection and revisit some old classics, or you can always rent new releases from your local library.
Make a Bucket List
So you’ve arrived at your destination. What now? Creating a bucket list will make it easier for you to think of activities on the fly or to decide on a place to eat, so you’re not spending your valuable vacation time on your phone, Googling “things to do in ______” or “nearby restaurants” (it’s a good way to avoid tourist traps, too).
The key is to get your group involved from early on. Create a Google Doc that everyone can add to, and voila! You’ve got your own custom tour guide (that you don’t have to tip!).
Enjoy the Journey, not just the Destination
You’re spending an entire week with your group, so why not make the ride part of the destination? Playing games is a great way to pass the time, to strengthen bonds within your group, and to forge new friendships between group members that might not know each other well. Classic games like I Spy and Twenty Questions are always good go-tos, but there are plenty more group games that’ll get you laughing, bonding, and fiercely competing. You can even split the bus into teams and make a tournament out of it!
Once you have your itinerary sorted out, you can also check for roadside attractions along the way that your group might like along the way. Is there a famous kitschy crossroads diner you just have to check out? By all means! Want to Instagram the world’s biggest ball of twine? Done! Check out our guide to America’s weirdest roadside attractions for inspiration.
Stick to Your Budget
We’ve all been there. “What’s a few extra bucks?” is possibly the most uttered sentence at any tourist destination, and it is somewhat true: are you really going to miss that twenty dollars ten years from now? Probably not.
But those extra few bucks here and there can add up real quick. Also, using a credit card can make you feel like you have unlimited funds, but you might feel unlimited regret when you get your statement. We recommend keeping your credit card with you for emergencies only. We also suggest putting your spending money in a separate bank account, or bringing a set amount of cash, so you can easily track how much you’re spending. And hey, if you have some left over at the end of the week, go ahead and treat yourself!