Family & FriendsGeneral Info

Top 3 Tips for Organizing Trips with Friends & Family

  • June 14, 2024
  • Villa Punto de Vista

what can a family do in costa rica

Do you dream of experiencing the lush green rainforests, gorgeous beaches, and exotic wildlife of Costa Rica with your loved ones? Planning a friends or family trip to Costa Rica can at times be challenging, but with careful organization and the right tools, you can make it an unforgettable adventure that everyone will cherish. 

As travel experts with over 14 years of experience, we have valuable insights and resources to help you make planning your group trip as stress-free as humanly possible!

 

Use Tools to Help Organize Yourselves Pre-Trip (Or Even Pre-Booking)

Whether you’re adventuring with your relatives or chosen family, it’s hard to get everyone on the same page. Communication and seamless organization come down to what tools you’re using. If you’re trying to get answers via text or the group chat, we’re sorry to break it to you, but it’s probably not going to happen. 

Use texting or a group messaging platform like WhatsApp for communication and reminders, but use apps, spreadsheets, and websites to truly get your group organized and get the group trip out of the group chat. 

 

Here are a few tips we love:

Choosing a Date for Your Group Trip: Doodle

Among our guests, the most common challenge is finding dates that work for everyone. Manually, this takes a while. Use a tool like Doodle that offers group polling right online. Create a simple poll, let your group select their availability, and Doodle will tell you which options work best for the entire group. 

 

To Gather Group Feedback: Google Forms

If you need more information than just dates, you can put together a Google Form. This can include dates – or not – if you’ve already checked that off. It can also determine what activities the group wants to participate in (if any, for some, lounging in the pool is enough), how the group wants to handle finances, maximum budget amounts for each traveler, tentative flight options, and more.

Here are some things to consider putting on the form: 

  • Date availability
  • Finances (budget and how to handle deposits, splitting payments, etc.)
  • Preferred flights so you can see if you’ll travel together to your accommodations or separately

We’ve created this Google Form you can use to start organizing your group. Just click here and select “Make a Copy” and a copy of the form will save itself to your Google account.

 

Budgeting & Cost Sharing: Splitwise & Venmo/Zelle

The next struggle some groups have when traveling together is how to split the costs. Splitwise is a cost-sharing app that allows you to create a group and input all your expenses in both local currency, in this case Costa Rican Colónes, or U.S. dollars. Then, at the end of the trip, you can simplify payments, and it will tell you exactly how much you owe – and how much others owe you. Click one button, and it’ll lead you to Venmo for payment. Or, you can use Zelle or another cash transfer app and mark your debts paid.

You can start this as early as your deposit payment and settle up on the way or at the end. It’s a good question to put on your Google Form to gauge group preferences.

 

To Share Itineraries: Villa Punto de Vista Guest Portal or TripIt

Another common challenge is ensuring everyone has the itinerary and knows where they need to be and when. For that reason, Villa Punto de Vista has itinerary planning capabilities within our exclusive guest planning portal, which all our guests receive access to upon booking. This way, you, as the organizer, can share individual itineraries with each guest coming along on your friend or family trip to Costa Rica.

For those who want an added layer of visibility, you can use a trip planner like TripIt, where you can import shared itineraries for the entire group, so there are no surprises or questions.

 

Create a Planning a Group Trip Checklist 

Now, this isn’t a planning a group trip checklist you may expect. 

It’s a checklist that you can give to your potential travel buddies, reminding them what they need to do so you can ensure your trip gets booked before you miss out on the dates you’re craving. 

It could be as simple as having five things they need to do: 

  • Fill out your availability on the Doodle poll
  • Provide your responses in the Google Form

Realistically, you should have one group trip planner who is the go-to person for everything so it doesn’t get messy. They can monitor the responses here and put together the proposed dates, book the property, be the point of contact for the pre-concierge or tour companies you’re booking with, etc. When there are too many hands in the pot, it can get more complicated than it needs to be. 

Then, if you do want to create a group trip planning checklist for your point person, you can do that with items like: 

  • Gather date options
  • Confirm booking with accommodations
  • Pay deposits
  • Gather preferences for and book:
    • Meals
    • Transportation
    • Activities
  • Ensure everyone has travel insurance
  • Start the Splitwise group
  • Create a spreadsheet of guest arrivals, room preferences, dietary restrictions, departures, etc. (or if you’re at VPDV, use the exclusive planning portal to input group travel so your pre-arrival concierge can handle transportation)

Now, the planner can also delegate different tasks if that’s easier. One person can be in charge of transportation, and another person can manage meal planning. But, the main group travel planner should be in the know so they can communicate with your accommodations. 

However, one of the perks of booking with Villa Punto de Vista is that your group’s go-to planner now has a partner to help guide them through the process and make planning simpler.

 

Your Pre-Arrival Concierge Experience at Villa Punto de Vista

Now, because of our level of services, while the checklists will be helpful, they probably won’t be entirely necessary. You’re probably asking, “Well, why is that?”

From the moment you book Villa Punto de Vista, you’ll be introduced to your pre-arrival concierge, whose full-time job is to organize your trip and make the in-country logistics a breeze. You’ll also gain access to an exclusive guest planning portal just for you and your group – with pre-made checklists designed with your trip to Costa Rica in mind.

You’ll communicate with them via your portal to organize travel, activities, meals, events, room preferences, and more. It will be much more in-depth than just a few one-off emails. They’ll handle everything and are the utmost experts after living and breathing tourism in the area for over a decade. Their main job is to help you plan an unforgettable trip personalized to your travel style or needs! You will never be alone in planning. Costa Rica is your oyster, and your travel concierge will ensure you find all the pearls to make your adventure picture-perfect, just as you imagine it.

 

Choose Accommodations That Will Help You Plan

When organizing trips with friends and family, especially when it’s a large group, the key to making planning simple is truly choosing the right accommodations. 

In many cases, you’re booking: 

  • An Airbnb with subpar hosts who leave everything a mystery until you arrive.
  • A villa with a concierge that holds multiple roles and can’t remember what you’ve requested.
  • A standard hotel that hosts hundreds each day with a reservations agent who will only send you a PDF with your reservation confirmation.

In these cases, you’re not going to get the pre-arrival support you need to make planning stress-free.

Not all experiences are like this, though, and that’s why it’s important to choose your accommodations wisely. 

Your personalized experience is one of the many things that sets Villa Punto de Vista apart from the rest. 

When choosing a private luxury resort like Villa Punto de Vista, pre-trip travel planning support is simply a part of the experience. We wholeheartedly believe that your vacation experience begins from the moment you book, and we support you as such.

From the moment you book, you’ll be connected with Gloriela or Yvonne, your personal, pre-arrival, Costa Rica travel concierge who will help you every step of the way and keep your group organized. 

Your group travel planner will have a go-to person in their back pocket to answer questions, help book activities, ensure pre-stocking of your favorite food and beverage, and so much more. We also have a robust guide for all guests to peruse once you book, so the point person doesn’t have to answer all the questions. Simply point them to the guide!

Additionally, we have an exclusive guest portal that we’ve built to help make your experience seamless. Everything for your trip—itinerary, guest room assignments, grocery pre-stocking, etc.—can be managed in one place without the need for spreadsheets or the like. 

 

Organizing Trips to Costa Rica Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult

At Villa Punto de Vista, our ultimate goal is to help you make group trip planning simple and stress-free, which is why your accommodation choice is the easiest way to make your group travel planning easier. 

Learn more about Villa Punto de Vista and why we are the most incredible destination for a friend or family trip to Costa Rica. We’ll be waiting for you where the jungle meets the sea!

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