How to make a large group holiday work

Group trip Copenhagen I recently visited Copenhagen as part of a large group holiday – at one point there were 18 of us. It’s always a risk travelling in a big group but a bit of luck, prep and tolerance meant we were able to enjoy Copenhagen to the max.

Here are some of the reasons why I think the trip worked.

Group consensus on cost of holiday

When the holiday was first proposed, it was clearly set out from the beginning that it would be a cheap and cheerful one as we’re all students. Everyone agreed as we all wanted maximum fun on a minimum budget. We managed to enjoy Copenhagen on a student budget despite being warned by everyone that it’s a very expensive city to go to.

We all agreed to activities that were reasonable and avoided the more expensive ones, including restaurants, bars and excursions. This also extended to pooling money for dinners and breakfasts at the apartment.

Just because we maintained a low budget didn’t mean we didn’t have fun.

Split accommodation

12 bed flat Copenhagen

Accommodation for 15+ people was always going to be difficult in the city centre and so we decided to split the group for accommodation in the easiest way possible – according to gender.

The group didn’t have any couples so that wasn’t an issue, it seemed the easiest split and it worked. The boys managed to find a flat on Airbnb for 6 and us girls found a beautiful 12 bed apartment in the centre of the city, in Indre By, for a very reasonable price. Every one was happy.

The split was a necessity and meant we had the best of both worlds. We were in the centre of town and we were able to enjoy the majority of the group’s company all the time.

In fact, this split meant we were able to enjoy two different evening experiences in Copenhagen. The first night we (the girls) cooked a big meal for the entire group, and everyone ate, drank and got merry in the bigger apartment. As the evening progressed, we carried on with the fun in town, before finally settling on staying in Narnia.

The second evening was spent at the boys’ place. A bit further away from the centre, it was a modern development that overlooked the river and included the use of kayaks. We enjoyed a BBQ in the evening as the weather was pleasant (it being June, the temperature did drop and get a bit nippy). We watched the sun set, some of the group swam and a few even gave the kayaks a spin.

Group kitty of money

I can’t speak for the boys but us girls got a group kitty for the apartment going and it really served us well in terms of shared cooking and other bits and bobs like cleaning essentials. We even decided to forgo on bringing our own shower gels, shampoos and conditioners, and instead bought flat-wide toiletries. It didn’t always work as there were many of us and one major bottle of each but it was another money saving idea.

It also meant less hassle trying to fit a million different liquid items into the plastic bag handed out at the airport and less time at spent faffing at security.

Pooling money for shared items saves money, but going down the group kitty route does require a sharing mindset, which doesn’t always work. You hope that everyone will be considerate but alas.

In our case, one point of contention was a pack of lardons – half the pack was shared among several of the group during breakfast and then a bit later, one group member decided to cook the second half of the pack for one meal leaving none for anyone else for subsequent breakfasts.

Split sightseeing

Being such a large group meant that not everyone wanted to see the same sights or do the same activities. This was compounded by the fact that one person was only around for one night and so had a specific list of things to see and do in that one day. Faced with a specific set of activities, the best thing we could’ve done was amicably split off into smaller groups so that everyone was doing something they were happy with. And split off into two groups we did. We then met up for dinner and drinks as a full group.

The split did roll over into the next day though, as the two groups again diverged on what they wanted to do as one group wanted to do what the other group had already done the day before. However, this didn’t last the whole week and a lot of fun was had, and tensions and drama were kept to a minimum.

Nyhavn coloured buildings, Copenhagen

Time out day(s)

On the penultimate day of the group holiday, suffering from three consecutive early(ish) starts and hangovers, the boys decided to stick to their flat, recuperating by the river, swimming and sunbathing. It meant us girls weren’t waiting around for the boys to get into town, and we were able to plan a chilled day in town on our own.

A side benefit was time off from some of the group, which was needed as we were such a large group. Individual tensions between some members of the group is inevitable and it helped relieve pressure.

Tolerance of individuals and quirks

A high level of tolerance is definitely needed when away on a large group holiday. Being in each other’s space 24/7 all of sudden can be jarring and tensions can run high. Being aware of group members’ habits but not rising to the bait when annoyance flares is key to maintaining a pleasant mood and balance in the group. It’s never nice when the group is stuck between two people’s tiff and bring the group mood down.

Even with our group, minor tiffs and irritations were unavoidable but for the most part, every member tried to maintain a positive atmosphere.



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