Traveling with family is great, and a couple’s vacation can be memorable, but have you ever taken a trip with a group of friends?

What started out as meetings among many in the long ago and far away Internet world of Prodigy and AOL developed into a core group of friends who have together visited locales in the country for going on twenty years. We were fans of the band Journey and, ignoring warnings from family (how do you know those people aren’t ax murderers?), our initial gatherings revolved around seeing a show. Over the years we branched out to pure ‘Girls’ trips (with husbands initially tagging along to protect from those ax murderers and then soon developing their own friendships). We live in California and New York and points in between. Our lives are full and different, yet when we come together time melts away and it’s like we’re back at that first Journey concert.

We’ve been to: San Francisco, New Mexico, Kansas City, Oklahoma, New York City, Salt Lake City, Wisconsin, Las Vegas, Disneyland and more. Not all of can attend each gathering, but all are welcome for whenever they are able to join in.

Do you have a group of friends that would be a blast to vacation with? Here are five tips to help.

1.  Start the conversation. By group email, texts or by forming a Facebook Group, start the discussion. What time of year is good? Where to go? Does a member want to ‘host’ by being the ‘guide’ for their area’s highlights, or should you just meet up in a specific place?

2.  Bring the vacation into focus.  You can talk in circles forever, so eventually someone will need to become “Julie your Cruise Director” and narrow down a time and place that are most are in favor of and able to attend. Plan ahead. It’s easier to get folks on board if plans are made in advance. We tend to plan six months to a year out, so there is plenty of time to put in vacation time requests and save, as well as have lots of time to be excited anticipating our trip.

3.  Specific event plans. Closer to the vacation time, narrow your plans further. Where are we staying, how many days, what special activities should we do? Often people can’t come for the whole vacation and only come a couple of days and that is fine. Make the most of the time you have.  We try to at least do one special thing when the whole group is together. How about a limo ride in Las Vegas, a premier dining experience in Disneyland, a visit to Alcatraz in San Francisco? On the flip side schedule nothing time. Time to visit and reminisce and catch up. A drink in the lounge, an afternoon at the pool, an ice cream cone in a quiet corner.

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4.  You may have needed a hip replacement, but you are not attached at the hip. Allow your vacation to be fluid. Some may sleep in; some may be early go getters. Some may be adventurous while some may rather find a store to wander about in. Although you are traveling together, you do not need to travel in a solid clump 24/7. Be free to split off in groups or go solo and then agree to meet up somewhere at some time.

5.  Memories and future plans. Share pictures, go in together to make a photo book or some other memory. Our group has often made concrete pavers for a host home, with our names and little tokens imbedded. Before you say ‘see you later’ start the discussion for the next trip. Will it be back to New York City? How about Washington D.C.? The story is still being written.

 

Nancy Julian is a travel writing, trip planning expert. She has had a life-long love affair with travel, starting with childhood road trips and extending through service in the Air Force, a degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management, professional work in that field, and finally to the creation of her own company, Magic Feather Memories. You can read more at Nancy's blog, http://magicfeathermemories.blogspot.com, and also drop by Mouse Tales travel at http://.mousetalestravel.com/.