ORGANIZE A TRIP

Organize a trip to Nepal

visit-nepal

Find out how to organize a group trip to Nepal!

Sure, people love to volunteer and think about traveling to Nepal, but be sure you only start planning once the basics have been decided — such as, who exactly is going? When is this scheduled trip, and are their available flights to match the dates? It doesn’t have to be confirmed down to the details, but an idea of the basics would be good. For example, in January, you might decide  that your group of volunteers or your friends — including adults and children — is available to reunite for 5-6 days either the week of June 11 or July 27. That gives about six months’ planning time.

Designate one person or a small team of people as the ringleaders. Whether you have 8, 15 or 100 people joining you on your trip, you’ll need one person or one team to take on the majority of the planning. Other group members can and should be included in most of the decision-making — where to go, what activities to undertake, etc — but you don’t want seven people making 20 different dinner reservations. The larger the group, the more important this fundamental step becomes!

Decide on a price range. Who is going, and what are their budgets for this trip? Uncle Moneybags might want to spend at least $6,000 for a week, your parents were thinking $4,000 and your newlywed cousin is anticipating $1,500. Stick as close to the low-end of budgets as possible to accommodate everyone. In this case, we might suggest a $2,500 budget, and ask the newlyweds if they’d either like to drive the rental cars or become the ringleaders for a discount, and perhaps Uncle Moneybags could pick up a group dinner or pay for the rental cars. One other thing you could do is to pool money for ‘fixed’ costs only. This would mean you would collect a certain amount of money divided equally by everyone for things like accommodation and transport. However other individual expenses like food, shopping and activities costs should be paid at the individual level.

Choose a location. While this sounds relatively easy, this is one of the most difficult steps. Twenty people aren’t necessarily going to want to go to the same place or do the same things. Listen to what everyone wants, and ask lots of probing questions. While your group might want to go to places as different as Kathmandu, Annapurna or the Jomsom, you’ll see they’re all looking for an active vacation with lots of creature comforts! You might end up choosing a location based on available accommodation and perhaps even heating!

Research the area. You finally have your location, participants and budget. Where do you stay? What will you do? Buy a guidebook or look through the internet for ideas. Better yet, you an ask your contact in Nepal to help you suss out places that might be more budget-friendly. Ask for lots of photos or website, so you can also do your own research. Remember, photographs may have been taken umpteen years ago when the hotel was first built, so do moderate your expectations.

Book your trip. Once you’ve researched the area and found accommodation your group likes well enough, book it. You now have the dates set in stone and members of your group can book their flights and transportation as far in advance as possible. Make sure everyone has their passports up to date and gets all of their visas and shots.

Create an itinerary for your group. Even with a group of friends or family members, an itinerary can be invaluable. Add everyone’s cell phone numbers or local contact information, arrival times, and a loose schedule of daily activities, restaurant reservation times, etc.

If your group is all flying the same airlines, see if they offer a group discount rate. Same goes with hotel rooms.

Hire a local guide for a day — again your Nepalese contact could be a font of information on the best guides for the activities that are more likely to live up to expectations! The benefit of a local’s perspective, especially when the cost is divided by a group, is invaluable. Besides, you’ll get the inside scoop on all the best restaurants and maybe some cultural background too.

Remember: Not everyone will be happy with every decision. Remind these folks that they are only 1/10th or 1/100th of the group, and your memories of your time together is more important than the size of the pool or the lack of television in the rooms.

Then, GO!

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