What would you do?

Old Mar 5th, 2006, 09:55 AM
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What would you do?

What would you do if all your friends depended on you to arrange a great 10-days holiday for them?
Mid-April will be the time. Everyone -that means 2 to 8 other people- trust you to :
1) pick a destination
2) decide on the itinerary
3) make the arrangements (flights, hotels, cost etc.)
4) do all the preparation about the place (reading, reading, reading)
5) just inform them about the cost and tell them what kind of clothing to bring along...
Well, that's the case. They all trust me to do everything as I've travelled more than all the rest of them, enjoy researching about a place and arranging everything before hand.
At first, I'd thought about Sri Lanka. I even posted a thread about it. However, India, Myanmar, Mauritius and the Maldives sound nice, also. I wouldn't leave out the Caribbean, either, or even Kenya and/or Zanzibar. There are so many possibilities for us, as we'll be flying out from Southern Europe.
Let me add that only me and my husband have travelled to SE Asia & the Caribbean some times before. All the others have not (Europe has been the only place for them), so the cultural shock will be great for them.
We'll all be in our late 30s-early 40s. We don't want to just get into a resort and spend all our days by the pool or at a beach. We could easily do this here, without spending so much money on airfare. We all like to end our day in a great hotel but we also want to see and do something more than this.
India will be great, I'm sure, but 10 days is too little, I think, even for the first time. And, like I said before, I'm a bit weary about the cultural shock for all the others. As for Sri Lanka & Myanmar, I think it's going to be more or less OK.
I'd really appreciate some advice, if you have any ideas.
tereza is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2006, 10:16 AM
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Oh this is a tough one. I assume you mean next April right, so you have a year to plan? If not, then I'm not sure I'd take this on.

First, you're going to have to get them involved in the decision making or you will become a scapegoat if anything goes wrong.

If you're like me, and don't mind the research part of it, then do the research and get them ALL together and present the options. Provide 3 destinations and a high/low cost scenerio for each. Get everyone to agree on the destination and the hotels. Otherwise I think it's a recipe for disaster.

Keep in mind that if your friends are unhappy with your choice, then they only have you to blame, not a travel agent. It could ruin the friendship.

Finally, if you agree to make all the reservations and book flights etc., make sure you get the money from everyone upfront. Frankly, I'd give them the info and have them all book for themselves. They need to accept some responsibility, they're not children. I don't mean that to sound harsh, btw.

All those warnings aside, I love to plan trips and would probably relish the challenge myself.

I do think that 10 days is too short for India.

How about Thailand? It's easy to travel there, offers a multitude of cultural opportunities with great hotel options.
Or, what about Morocco? It's so close to Europe, but not really "Europe" so you'd get your exotic destination without a long travel time.
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Old Mar 5th, 2006, 10:35 AM
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Believe it or not, I mean this mid-April, not next year!!! It is a bit over-whelming now that I think about it but I'm good with quick decisions. All I have to do is decide where I want to go most, 1-2 alternatives, do the research and present them with the cost. We've done this before and they all trust my judgement. I can't decide, though!
I've been to Thailand already, and just paid for Morocco but missed the trip (due to sudden illness), so that doesn't bring up good memories.
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Old Mar 5th, 2006, 10:50 AM
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Burma (Myanmar) is lovely. You could begin in Rangoon, spend perhaps three nights there and then go to Pagan for another three nights and spend the last four nights at Inle Lake, which I think is the most beautiful place I've ever been.

Out of all the countries in SEA I've been to, I think Burma is my favorite. The people are lovely and the sights amazing. You can pack in a lot of sightseeing yet it's also very relaxing, maybe because Burma seems like it has been suspended in time. It's also very inexpensive and for a country with little tourist infrastucture, quite easy to get around. You can arrange Air Mandalay flights and hotels on the internet with no trouble.
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Old Mar 5th, 2006, 02:29 PM
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I have done the same thing. How nice to just show up at the airport and let someone else handle the whole trip. I quit when no one even thought to thank me!
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Old Mar 6th, 2006, 08:02 AM
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I'm with Pat on this one. I had one person, not a real long-time friend, show up on a vacation to Paris that I took some years ago, and then complain the whole time. She insisted on coming and asked what hotel I'd be in, so I told her and booked her a room. The entire week was a disaster...from claiming that I'd booked her into a dump...the Hotel de Seine in the 6th is far from a dump...to complaining about the restaurants that I ate in which she insisted on tagging along to eat in. Never again is my motto...my vacation now is MY vacation and NOT someone else's "DRAMA". And people can be SO unappreciative...not even take the 1 second it takes to say,"Thank you". Now, I feel MUCH better now that I've gotten that off of my chest. Happy Travels!
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Old Mar 6th, 2006, 08:15 AM
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Availability will be your biggest issue in many of the place you mentioned. It is high season in the Caribbean in April, Kenya/Tanzania is all booked, India is very popular and would definitely be too stressful if you have to do all the planning.
My suggestion would be BALI....availability will not a problem at the last minute, it is gorgeous, not too expensive and there are enough different activities to make everybody happy. If you want to be all together you can get great deals on a large villa. I have read good things about www.tamugroup.com

Let us know what you decide!
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Old Mar 6th, 2006, 03:56 PM
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Planning for a group is like herding cats for me - but my group planning has been limited and everyone is always appreciative. That's because I bombard them EACH with a volume of material, knowing that at most only 10% will be read. It gives me the option of saying with raised eyebrow: "But it was all laid out on page..., didn't you read the details? It would have simplified your decision for you." (Actually, I've not had to use this speech at all).

I'm with the cautious Fodorites on this one - plan carefully, knowing that you are not going to satisfy everyone everywhere you go. Just giving them the skeleton of a plan is great, let them do the rest.

Having said that, I'd suggest Singapore and Malaysia/Thailand primarily because of your "culture shock" concerns. Singapore is sufficiently Western and yet also has quite a bit to offer (the zoo with its night tour is worth any extended trip into the hinterland). Singapore is an easy entry into all things SE Asia. Malaysia and Thailand have wonderful beaches, a number of which cater to Westerners - again an easier intro to SE Asia. I'm thinking of the likes of Phuket, Phi Phi Island, and any number of beach resorts. Bangkok has superb hotels with o-o-t-w service, veritable havens of refuge after a long day of sightseeing. The Royal compound, a ride along the Chao Phraya River...these are all different enough to give your friends a sense of the exotic.

Have a great trip! You're a good friend to have!
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Old Mar 6th, 2006, 04:07 PM
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How awful, I sympathize greatly. Years ago I offhandedly mentioned to a friend that I was travelling across Central America for a month on my own. I was very surprised when she said she would like to come too.

That was no problem UNTIL she invited she invited some awful chap who was a pain in the neck. Luckily he couldn't rustle up a visa to Nicaragua (he was an American and at the time it took a while)so I managed to ditch him in Costa Rica. I was very grateful to the Sandanistas!
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