Spring Break Survival Guide: Tips for Group Travel
Welcome to those of you joining me from Magical Mouse Schoolhouse and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 4th stop on our Magical Blogorail. This month we’re offering our Spring Break Survival Guide.
Spring break can be a great time to make some Disney memories. The weather is beautiful – 70s and 80s – and the rainy season usually hasn’t started yet. And of course, the kids have a week off school so a vacation won’t interfere with their next math test. It’s a great time to get the extended family together, or even travel with a group of friends.
Vacationing with a group heightens the whole experience, intensifying the fun. It can also intensify the stress. With some solid planning, you can minimize the stress of traveling with a large group. Here are my best tips for group travel:
- Communication is essential. Before you plan a group vacation there are a few things to decide: What type of experience is everyone looking for? Does your group want to stick together the whole time, or take some individual or family alone time as well? Is everyone working with the same general budget? Choose one person as the primary planner – group input is important, but we all know how well events by committee work. Eventually, someone has to be responsible for making the final decision and actually booking the vacation. (Sound daunting? This is a great time to use the services of a travel agent. Even if you’re a Disney expert and thrive on planning your own vacations, add in three other families and the process becomes a lot more complicated.)
- Choose your lodging carefully. You might love your sister, but could you live with her for a week? If you’re traveling with friends, consider how much time you’ll spend together. If you’ve never spent 24 hours a day with the other family, think carefully before you decide to share a hotel room. Disney’s Deluxe Villas are a great alternative. They offer one- to three-bedroom suites with a communal living area, and are often priced comparably to two or three standard resort rooms. If “me” time is necessary to your sanity or tastes vary widely within the group, you could even let each family choose their own resort, and meet up for breakfast in the morning before heading to the parks.
- Plan two big events. Whether your group decides to spend every waking moment together or if you’ll go your own way part of the time, you’ll want to kick off your group vacation with a get-together for everyone. Especially if you’re traveling with people you don’t see every day, like extended family, your first group event will be a chance to catch up and share stories without the distractions of the parks. I like to plan these events around a meal, but you could also plan to have everyone gather around the pool. Anywhere that gives your group a chance to come together will work. In the same way, you’ll want to plan a farewell event to close your vacation. This will probably be more low-key than your welcome get-together (everyone will be exhausted by then!), but should still give everyone a last chance to visit and take pictures before heading to the airport.
- Break up the family. A group vacation is a wonderful opportunity to mix things up! Plan one day when the grandparents take all the kids to Magic Kingdom while the parents spend some adult time at Epcot, or plan a kid swap with another family in your group. Whenever we travel with our extended family, my sisters-in-law and I have a standing deal: I’ll take all the cousins (all 9 of them, including 6 girls under five!) for an evening while they and their husbands have date night, and they return the favor another night. We order in-room pizza, Bill takes the boys to the arcade, and us girls paint toenails and watch princess movies. It’s a good time 🙂
Have you done Spring Break with a big group? Share your tips!
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Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Your Highway in the Sky.