As you know, I accompany travel groups as a fun job on the side. I’m currently with a group in India and it occurred to me some of our travelers are new at group travel. Although the groups I accompany are on the smaller size of the spectrum, if you are planning to go on a group tour, there are lots of things you can do to make the trip fun and enjoyable for yourself and for your fellow travelers.
Here is a great checklist to get you started.
1. Pack a small bag to carry along on the bus.
While your main luggage will go in the designated area of the bus, you should pack a small carry on the bus. This will be handy for snacks, books to read, and other accessories you may want easy and quick access to.
2. Don’t’ forget your camera.
And once you have packed your camera, don’t forget to take pictures! I know that sounds obvious, but I always get so caught up with the sights and sounds that I actually forget to take pictures! (Duh!) As a guide, I remind people to take some pictures also.
3. Get a collection of great jokes, riddles, and experiences to share with the group!
And it only takes one joke to get the rest of the group going! We had a great time sharing riddles and jokes and laughing all the way to the next rest area. BUT please make your jokes as politically correct as you can.
4. Take along some great movies.
Many tour buses have DVD players. At least ours do. Find out in advance and if it does, rent some great movies for “en route” entertainment”. Be sure to pick a variety of movies, such as cartoons if you have kids in your group, action movies to keep the teenagers engaged, and perhaps documentaries or family dramas for the adult crowd. We usually go local to get people to experience the culture.
5. Take along some great music CD’s.
Many group tour buses also have CD players. We played our favorite and enjoyed group singing. Perhaps you can organize an “on the road” karaoke contest for your group.
6. Don’t’ forget your medicines.
This is essential. Perhaps this should be at the top of the list, but be sure to keep all necessary medications close to you in the carry on bag you take on the bus. It’s not easy to access them when all the pieces of luggage are inside the designated area of the bus.
7. Pack A small pillow for sleeping comfort.
If you are like me, a moving vehicle and a well-cooled environment is an open invitation for a good snooze! To boost sleeping comfort I took along a small pillow, and had a good nap between rest stops! The group leader has the photo’s to prove it! His “hobby” was collecting photos of sleeping travelers! Maybe I will post that picture here! (Not)
8. A blanket may be necessary.
Those tour buses can get COLD!!! My blanket came in very handy.
If your tour involves outdoor sightseeing, a pair of binoculars is a must.
10. Bathing suits.
Most hotels have swimming pools. This is a wonderful “treat” for kids who behaved nicely while traveling all day! And if you will be anywhere near a beach…you’ve got to take a dip!
11. Don’t forget your passport.
If you are traveling internationally, you will most likely need a passport. Be sure to make copies of the passport and other important travel documents and keep them in a safe place!
12. Don’t forget you Airline tickets.
This may seem obvious, but it has happened before. Thank goodness most airlines are switching to e-tickets, so this may soon be thing of the past. But remember not all country have made the switch yet si please print a copy to be on a safe side.
13. BRING A BIG SMILE!
Smiles are contagious! And most of all… they are FREE!