virtuoso communities How to Make Your Next Group Trip Count

How to Make Your Next Group Trip Count

Rent a private villa to rejoin family and friends.
Rent a private villa to rejoin family and friends.
Photo by Getty Images
Travel advisors share insight on how to plan purposeful travel to reconnect with family and loved ones.

After months of cancelled plans and shuttered social interactions, travel is re-emerging in some parts of the world. Even the most go-getter vacationers now face a new moral question: What type of experience is worth traveling for? The short answer: Reconnecting with loved ones and friends.
 
That doesn’t mean jetting off to a far-away destination. Virtuoso travel advisor Marsha Dolbow has arranged several close-to-home reunions – such as a family ranging in age from teens to the 80s. They wanted a drivable location with access to sweeping outdoor spaces and accommodations that fostered togetherness, so Dolbow suggested western U.S. resort with convenient side-by-side guest homes.
 
“It offered them the natural beauty of Montana and a wide range of activities, from a pre-organized day of activities to sitting on the porch,” Dolbow says. “If you’ve done a good job of listening to people’s needs in the beginning, then the location will likely suit everyone.”

Ranch-style resorts in Montana can offer everything from trail rides to spa treatments. 
Ranch-style resorts in Montana can offer everything from trail rides to spa treatments. 
Photo by Getty Images
Virtuoso travel advisor Michelle Andersen begins planning with an in-depth conversation about goals, preferences, and budget – and then starts to build an itinerary. “I focus on the likes and dislikes, the interests of all,” she says. “Leave time for travelers to explore on their own. Self-discovery is a key element to any experience.”
 
After Virtuoso advisor Elizabeth Breault receives an extensive travel style and preference questionnaire from her clients, she assess the trip’s goals. “Even if they don’t realize it, people usually have an initial vision,” she says. “I might start with, ‘When you picture this trip, do you see a private villa in Tuscany, a beach with a swim-up bar and a kid’s club, a luxury dude ranch, or a Moroccan riad?’ From there we narrow down to the specifics.”
 
As a refreshing alternative from recent Skype and Zoom calls, consider outdoor activities. “For example, I’ll give options such as zip-lining, horseback riding, or rafting, and will make the reservations in advance,” Breault says. “The group will split off on various adventures for the morning and then return for a fun lunch or happy hour. Everybody comes back refreshed with new things to share.”
 
Virtuoso advisor Nikki Miner has planned celebratory trips including a family reunion in the Dominican Republic (a highlight: the sunset catamaran cruises) and a wedding in a Tuscan resort, complete with winetastings. Relaxation is just as important as pre-planned excursions. “During non-scheduled time, I recommend having a meeting place at the property for those who want to do similar things together,” Miner says. It can be as simple as a few hours by the pool, or scheduling spa appointments in the same room. (Catching up with loved ones can include self-pampering, too.)

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