Many people's mental pictures of 'group travel': a tour bus of strangers thrust together, napping between stops, forced to dine with the pushy couple from the front of the bus, loss of privacy and personal space, with rigid adherence to a schedule that lets you stop, see, and selfie, but not EXPERIENCE a destination. So I'll paint a new picture for you - one with your closest friends and loved ones making unforgettable memories together as a result of personalized planning, immersive experiences and unexpected advantages, because one of you recognized that the basis of the group's bonds are a springboard for so much more.
1. Heritage groups. Are you part of a a local Heritage Society? Maybe not, but your entire family is one, isn't it? They were the first group you belonged to. Would you like to celebrate your Jewish heritage together on a European river cruise designed specifically to feature your heritage? What about going beyond your local Scottish or Greek festival and taking a trip to your grandparents' homeland to experience the culture directly, perhaps connecting with relatives you haven't met yet? I'll include here religious pilgrimages and other trips that are based on ethnicity, heritage and culture. A trip like this can be very personal and self-affirming.
2. Social groups that share interests. This list is endless: the gardening club, co-workers, the food/wine club, golf (or any sport) aficionados, antique collectors, a historical preservation society, veteran's club. Perhaps you don't have a group to share your interest with so you'd like to meet them. Experiencing a destination that teaches or heightens the joy of your common interest is bound to be inspiring. Besides, a trip doesn't have to be specific to the interest - it can simply be a way to enjoy each other in new ways and create or deepen friendships.
3. Incentive trips. Do you lead a sales team or other production-centric group? We can create an incentive trip to motivate and/or reward the top people. A travel reward is a huge motivation for team members, and customers too.
4. Educational trips. Professionals (e.g., chefs, teachers, retailers, buyers, inventors, investors) and their groups traveling together to learn and experience first-hand, and meet new peers. Imagine the renewed passion of a group of art-history teachers who have explored the work of the masters in person; or designers being newly inspired after a trip to southeast Asia.
5. Wellness travel. As a fitness instructor, your group looks to you several times per week to keep them on the straight and narrow wellness path. Take them beyond the four walls of the studio or gym, not just outdoors, but way outdoors to another state, country or continent. Just the fun of the journey together is likely to keep them loyal to you. Think of bicycling through the Rhine Valley, yoga in Cambodia, Peruvian rainforest hikes, early-morning meditation in Sonoma, AZ, or pilates on the deck of a smooth-sailing river ship - they'll remember these experiences forever.
Whether it is art, music, battlefields, Chilean food and wine, a club of anglophiles, European car enthusiasts, collectors of fine porcelain, a networking group, or several families that live in the same cul-de-sac, creating group experiences beyond the mundane (you've read my website right?) is important to building and sustaining relationships, heightening the way we enjoy life and expanding ourselves. Travel is the best teacher. Travel is an awesome investment in yourself.
'til next week.