School holidays are a time to get together with friends and families and nothing makes for a more fun hangout than travelling somewhere as a group. But just to avoid any squabbles brought on by such a large group travelling together, here are a few tips.
1. Use your ‘group power’ to bargain
Most hospitality outlets normally include discounted group rates that are not open to solo travellers. Let such establishments know beforehand that you will be part of an organized group when making travel and accommodation bookings. Most of them are happy extending discounts or some complimentary services such as in-house drinks or early check-in with the hope that you will bring in more business in future.
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2. Create a group chat
According to Airbnb, this is where all group travel should start. In this era of cheap or free social media accounts, creating a chat group and designating a few among yourselves as ‘administrators’ will go a long way in helping with planning. Post the estimated costs of travel such as fares, accommodation costs and places of interest and make any communications there.
3. Involve all in planning
Whether traveling with family or close friends, involve all in the preliminary plans. No one person should dominate the plans where everyone is chipping in. Do not underestimate the power of young ones in the planning process. After all, they will be the ones who will remember the holiday the most. Give everyone in your group a voice. Be clear about the costs of the trip as well as each member’s contribution. Nothing frustrates people than lack of clear communication. Let people know when to eat at the main restaurant or where to go for some group activities. In fact, excuse those who do not want to engage in that game you so love. Get the input of the timid ones who may feel left out of major plans.
4. Set some house rules
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All activities involving more than one person require rules. Group travel is no exception. Set the time for departure and adhere to it. If your children are in tow, let them know that rules that apply at home such as being courteous will not be relaxed once the family gets on holiday. Be careful though not to rob the group of their joy by creating needless rules that dampen the holiday mood. In Kenyan parlance, “holiday ni kujiachilia kidogo.”
5. Have fun activities that interest all
You may like a certain game, movie or a specific hike. That does not necessarily mean that all in the group will want the same. In the spirit of good communication mentioned earlier, get to know the interests of the majority in the group. Remember, making compromises is the order of group travel. It is better to forgo a particular event rather than have a disgruntled group for days or weeks on end.
6. Manage expectations
You may have contributed to the group choosing a specific destination. Perhaps you relied on company fliers or other means of advertising that over hyped the particular location. It may spare you some trouble if you managed the members’ expectations beforehand. That ‘infinity’ pool may be nothing more than a moss-ridden body of water at the rear end of the hotel with ‘modern amenities.’ When it comes to activities, plan a realistic schedule.
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7. Document the fun
Take loads of pictures and videos. Afterall, who knows when next you will have such precious moments together?
SPOTS PERFECT FOR SOME GROUP FUN
Kenya is not short of locations where group activities can be enjoyed with ease. These include:
1. Hell’s Gate National Park
The name itself creates a rush of adrenalin in adventure lovers. The park has some of the spectacular sceneries including towering cliffs, rock towers, and belching plumes of geothermal steam. Hell’s Gate is an ideal venue for a group trip from Nairobi where all can camp, picnic and ride bikes alongside galloping wildlife.
2. Karura Forest
This is one of the forests within the confines of a capital city popular with groups. Nature walks, cycling, and other group activities are the order of the day at Karura. Let the group keep to the well-marked trails. However, there is nothing wrong in letting the group get lost in some of the Mau Mau caves.
The region around Lake Naivash is popular with group campers. The lush vegetation is ideal for laying out the tents, barbecues and team-building activities. A caution though: Hippos love to munch on the short grass around the lake. Be vigilant after dark.
4. Ngong Hills
The hills just outside of the city provide a perfect getaway for groups. Managed by the Kenya Forest Service, Ngong Hills can be hiked by anyone with relatively good health. Enjoy scenic views from the top as well as some group activities such as zip lining and archery.