Are you the group geek? Along for the ride and prefer not to bother with trip details? Enthusiastic about one very specific element of the trip but indifferent about others? See how to use your natural talents to the fullest when planning that next group trip.
Here are common group profiles I've witnessed over the years:
- Group geek: The one who must bring a cell phone, blackberry, or other widget lest they feel isolated from their real world of technology. This is also the person who brings a GPS and on camping trips, ski trips, or outdoor adventures and everyone ends up appreciating this person the most. Sound familiar?
Suggestion: Careful not to geek out by tripping on the latest iPod or Zune features. Instead, think outward and perhaps suggest a GPS treasure hunt activity for the gang while traveling together. Offer your uber efficient Internet research skills for the troop leader in finding the best hotel and give your quick comments in the hotel discussion area of search results, then post it to the group's trip home page.
- Troop leader: The idea person. The charismatic rally gal/guy. The motivated one who seems to have an internal compass pointing them in the right direction and helping them make decisions quickly, gather input, urge people to make reservations on time, offer activity options, and send out invites. This person is the point person of the trip, who can get as frazzled about pulling loose ends together as excited for the trip itself. Sound familiar?
Suggestion: A smart troop leader delegates. If you prefer to be in control of certain trip aspects, just make sure you ask for input on key decisions such as hotel rooms, etc.
- Indecisive: They love their friends, family, or the people with whom they'll travel. Or perhaps they like the ski club with whom they'll swish down the slopes. They're an open person who sees all sides of arguments and is likely philosophical. The good thing is they really don't care which mountain to ski on, what time the group leaves, which shuttle is used for transportation, as long as they're on the slopes. Problem is people sometimes need input and opinions so they can make decisions about where to stay. While the indecisive person oscillates between choice A and B because they may not want to hurt anyone's feelings who recommended either, ultimately decisions need to be made. "Whatever everyone else wants" can be a disguise for "I have no freakin' idea!" Sound familiar?
Suggestion: Take a stand. Take your pick. Your flexibility and openness is appreciated, but your vote counts and is desired. In trip blog discussions, join in on conversation topics so decisions can quickly be made. Just as on election day, your voice counts.
- Whiner and/or Frequent Special Requester: Surprisingly, these people may not realize they are doing this because it can be so subtle. The overt whiners are obvious and tend to bring the group down by taking every opportunity to moan about something or other. Subtle whiners can hold back key trip decisions by being slightly selfish or continually making changes to pre-set plans; for instance, saying they agree to a wine-tasting tour but later announce that they might go on a no alcohol detox diet (after the tour has been booked) so may not be able to participate. These are the special request kings/queens. The high maintenance types. We all want what we want, but consensus (which may mean compromise) on group trips is imperative. Sound familiar?
Suggestion: Careful not to let negative feedback cloud the pre-trip planning process. Remember the trip is geared around everyone and remind yourself how great the rewards will be: seeing old friends and getting away. If you have a special request, you may be able to arrange that separately. Or save the most important special request to share with the group.
- Group Socialite: This type of person wants to be in the heart of everything all the time. That doesn't mean they necessarily have to be the center of attention (although extreme versions exist). But they have more energy than most people and often push to stay up late, go the extra distance on physical activities, and even make new friends while traveling. This natural extrovert is an ideal person to help get the word out about the trip if you're organizing a trip where you can invite anyone. Sound familiar?
Suggestion: You're a natural trip promoter and might be the best person to help organize key parts of the trip such as researching activities, etc. Let your enthusiasm bubble over into the trip planning process.
Who am I missing? Know of any other group profile that sounds familiar?