In Partnership with Seven Corners
Travel evolves like everything in life, and I’ve found myself going from traveling solo, to traveling around the world with my partner, to now coordinating exclusive women-only tours.
I’ve quickly realized that traveling with a group of people is a lot different than traveling alone or simply with a single other person.
You’ll find countless online articles that offer endless travel packing tips, but few focus on how to pack for group getaways.
Packing effectively for a group trip can be a bit different than when simply traveling solo, so I thought I’d offer some of the tricks I’ve picked up over the recent years while traveling with groups.
Planning your next group getaway? Here’s how to pack when you’re part of a travel squad!
How to Pack for Your Next Group Getaway
Traveling in a Group
There are many instances where you might find yourself traveling as part of a larger group, and how you pack for a group trip largely depends on the type of group it is.
You might be traveling with extended family as a part of a special reunion, with colleagues as part of a business trip, or with a bunch of friends for a fun girls’ or boys’ trip.
Traveling with a group often comes with many benefits including feeling safer wherever you go and therefore maybe encourages you to go further off the beaten path and try new things.
Traveling with a group also comes with having extra support there with you and possibly a bit of peer pressure to try new fun and adventurous experiences you may not have thought of doing by yourself before (though we only support giving into peer pressure if you’re comfortable doing it!!).
Make a Group Packing List
While you’ll no doubt have a packing list you normally use for your regular trips, it’s a great idea to also create a shared packing list when traveling as a group.
Coordinating a group packing list helps avoid doubling, tripling, or quadrupling up on an item that could possibly be easily shared amongst the group, thereby saving the group valuable luggage space.
Items that could be shared include things like hair dryers, camping gear, toiletries like sunscreen and insect spray, etc.
Travel Insurance for Group Travel
Travelers traveling as a group often find that it’s cheaper to buy a group travel insurance policy as opposed to purchasing individual plans.
For example, top travel insurers like Seven Corners provides great travel insurance options for groups consisting of 10 or more travelers.
Travel insurance may not be something you can physically pack in a suitcase, but it’s probably the most important thing you should have while on any trip, for the trip protection it provides both before and during your getaway.
Travel Insurance Can Include:
Travel insurance can include trip cancellation coverage should you experience a family emergency or financial hardship that prevents you from traveling, as well as travel medical coverage if you get sick during your getaway.
Optional Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) benefits can provide coverage for other reasons that prompt you to no longer want to travel. There are also Interruption For any Reason (IFAR) benefits that allow you to cut your trip early for any reason you choose, and even more specialized options like sports and golf equipment rental coverage, which may be useful for those group business trips.
The key with any travel insurance is to choose a company that’s backed by many years of experience and 24/7 customer service like that provided by Seven Corners.
Group travel especially should be protected with travel insurance due to the often large costs associated with booking numerous hotel rooms or a large rental home, and organized group tours.
While many travel insurance policies provide the basics like coverage for lost or delayed baggage, travel medical expenses, rental car excess waivers, travel delay expenses, and now COVID-19 protections, you may also want to seek out policies with extra add-on options that could come in handy, especially when traveling in a larger group.
Pro tip: Include CFAR Coverage
As the number of people in your traveling party grows, so too does your chances of having something not go to plan. Life often happens, especially when trying to coordinate a trip with upwards of a dozen people or more.
Having optional insurance benefits like Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) protection will allow those in your group to cancel their trip for reasons not covered under regular trip protection coverage like if there’s a falling out between family, friends or co-workers that results in one or several travelers no longer feeling comfortable to go on the trip.
Purchasing a CFAR travel insurance add-on will increase your premium, but it provides much broader coverage should the need arise for you to cancel before your trip begins and get a bit of your travel investment back.
Some final thoughts worth mentioning when purchasing travel insurance for your group include making sure everyone discloses any pre-existing medical conditions, make sure all your chosen destinations and activities are covered, and explore what your excess options are.
Pack a More Diverse Wardrobe
I usually recommend minimizing your travel wardrobe as much as possible in order to travel light, but when traveling with a group it can be a bit different.
It goes without saying that if you’re planning a work trip with a large group of colleagues, you will probably be needing some proper business attire, whether you’ll be in meetings or maybe trying to land overseas clients over a fancy dinner.
Even when traveling with a group of friends, I often pack more types of clothing in case the group ends up doing something unexpected or something I don’t normally do while traveling.
When traveling in a group, it’s easy to cave into peer pressure and try new things, and you’re bound to have many different personalities within your group which can easily lead to partaking in many different potential experiences.
Diversifying your wardrobe means maybe packing some fancy going-out clothes, fitness wear, casual wear, maybe some hiking boots, and whatever else you think may be useful when considering the group of people you will be traveling with.
Pack Extras and Spares
Who doesn’t like to be a hero every now and then?! When traveling in a group, it’s bound to happen that several members of your traveling party will forget certain items.
Maybe someone didn’t realize that the hotel you’re all staying at has a pool and needs some swimwear or maybe they forgot to pack a toothbrush as I often do.
Having a spare phone charger will also often have you being a lifesaver for someone, and bringing extra snacks on the plane to share with others will have everyone loving you.
Other items that travelers often forget or lose while traveling include aspirin, sunglasses, and motion sickness pills for cruises.
Try to think about the items you most commonly forget and maybe pack extras or spares in case others in the group need them, especially if those items won’t take up too much real estate in your luggage.
Packing Work-Related Items for Work Trips
Travel is often supposed to be about escaping work, but that’s not the case with work trips.
Work trips force you to think about packing a bit more than usual since you not only have to pack like you would for a normal trip but may also be required to pack work-related items and important documents.
Create a business travel checklist ahead of time and maybe double check with bosses or colleagues about what you personally are expected to bring for the business side of things.
At work you may be supplied with office supplies, but what about while traveling? Ask whether you will be expected to pack your own office supplies or if they will be given to you upon arrival by a business group leader or other.
While business cards may be on their way out in today’s digital world, it still pays to bring along a stack. Many people are still old school, especially when it comes to certain businesses in certain countries.
And as I already touched on earlier, be sure to pack business attire you are expected to wear for any meetings or workshops that are scheduled. That may include having a tie, proper dress shoes, belt, sport jacket, etc.
First-Aid and Medications
I always recommend packing a small first-aid kit no matter what kind of trip you are taking, but it’s even more important with group travel. More bodies means there is a greater chance for injuries and health problems.
In addition to packing common first-aid items that could come in handy, it’s also a great idea to take a first-aid course so you may be able to better help travelers in your group if the need arises.
Make sure everyone in your group also discloses any health conditions or allergies they might have. This is important not only in terms of getting proper travel insurance coverage but also so you can help avoid health problems or at least know what’s likely going on with someone if they show signs of a medical episode.
Everyone should also share with the group their emergency contact numbers of family and friends back home in the event they need to be contacted.
Have One Person in Charge of Travel Documents
There’s often a lot to organize when planning group travel and this often equates to numerous reservations and bookings. Like with any group situation, it’s often advantageous and more efficient if you nominate a leader.
Nominate a leader within the group to keep track of all the important travel documents you will be needing and maybe have them be in charge of making sure the planned itinerary goes smoothly.
Having too many people in charge of making and keeping track of reservations and bookings can lead to things getting overlooked and general confusion.
And while it’s important to have a main leader, be sure there is a backup plan in place for accessing travel docs in the event your leader becomes ill or needs to cancel their trip early for some reason.
Final Thoughts on Group Travel
Whether you’re traveling with family, friends, or co-workers, group travel is a great way to deepen relationships. You often get to have experiences and conversations you normally wouldn’t have in your normal everyday lives back home.
You often get to know a true person when they travel, which can often be a great thing as you can discover talents or new sides of their personality you didn’t know existed.
Of course there are also times when you discover negative sides of people, which again can make having add-on interruption for any reason (IFAR) coverage, which can allow you to cut your trip early if you feel its best you get away from the group and return home.
You’ll find plenty of other packing tips for various trips on my site including packing hacks for rainy season travel, packing tips for a weekend getaway, how to avoid overpacking, an ultimate packing list for female travelers, or how to pack like a pro.
Traveling with friends, family, or co-workers can be fun but also challenging if you’re not used to it or are unaware of the logistics of group travel. Hopefully these group travel packing tips will aid you a bit on your next group vacation.
Finally, if you’re looking for some great girls’ trip ideas, I recommend you check out these epic upcoming solo female travel group trips.