Planning a group vacation can be an adventure in itself. While your trip may end up being a lot of fun, the process of booking airline flights, hotels, transportation, and activities requires considerable time and effort. And if traveling on a budget is a priority for your group, it can be even harder to coordinate all the details while saving money. But, the good news is affordable group travel is certainly possible, especially if you follow the tips below!
Don’t Take Direct Flights
It’s not a hard-and-fast rule, but direct flights do tend to cost more money. In 2016, commercial airlines carried more than 3.8 billion passengers to their final destinations; some were able to arrive there on only one flight, while others had to take two or even three. With a direct flight, you’re essentially paying for convenience, which doesn’t always come cheap. Connecting flights tend to be on the less expensive side. However, it does depend on the airline, the travel day, and when you book. You’ll want to at least compare prices between direct and connecting flights before making a final booking decision.
Inquire About Group Fares
Some major airline carriers offer booking services and rates specifically for big groups. The ability to make reservations via email, phone, or online form usually is limited to larger groups of 10 people or more. If that applies to your group, you may be able to access lower fares. But keep in mind that it’s still a good idea to compare these rates to that of an individual ticket to ensure you’re really able to get the airline deal that works best for you.
Break Down Reservations
If you aren’t traveling with a group of more than 10 or you don’t think a group rate will save you much, you might want to consider breaking down your airline bookings into smaller portions. When you book tickets for say, six or eight people, an airline may automatically make everyone pay a higher fee due to limited availability of lower-cost seats (for example, if there are only three seats available in a lower price bracket, you might be forced to pay a higher cost for everyone in your party, rather than being given those three lower-cost seats and three higher-priced seats). Often, the best way to tell whether that’s the case is to compare seat availability and costs in real time on separate devices. If you find that booking pairs of seats (or even individual seats) ends up getting a better deal for everyone, that might be the best way to ensure you’re really saving on travel.
Designate a Point of Contact
Everything will go much more smoothly if you have one person in charge of reservations and communications. This will ensure that itineraries are sorted out, costs are paid (and kept low), and that no detail goes unnoticed. All of your airline tickets, hotel information, and other reservation confirmations should be sent to this person to keep together in an organized way. This person should also be the go-to source when questions need to be answered or if anyone from an airline, hotel, or other accommodation needs to contact the group. Ultimately, saving time and eliminating confusion will also reduce unnecessary costs.
Traveling on a budget can be difficult if you’ve got a lot of luggage in tow. This is further complicated by the fact that airlines differ so greatly in their luggage requirements. Some will offer a checked bag for a small fee and a carry-on free of charge, while others will charge for anything more than a personal item. Make sure everyone in your party is well aware of your carrier’s luggage requirements and costs — and that you pay for checked luggage as early as possible. This will save you money and encourage travelers to stick to a strict luggage limit.
Spending less on travel with a large group can be tricky, but it’s certainly not impossible. Check out our available flight offerings, decide on a destination, and start saving money on your trip.