Table for 10, the joy of small group travel

Hands down my favourite part of travelling is sharing amazing experiences with my peeps.

When I say ‘experiences’ , it’s not just about where we are or what we do that make it an ‘experience’, or even make it amazing, it’s the people I’m with that really take it next level.

So although I love travelling and I’m fortunate enough to have travelled far and often, it’s the travels with my travel posse that give me my most memorable travel moments.

But hey let’s face it, an amazing setting doesn’t hurt!

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Jumping for joy at Peregrine winery, Queenstown New Zealand

So what are my top picks for group holidays??

Chateaux in France, Villas in Italy

The holiday that really kicked off our love of group holidays was my 40th in Burgundy.  I actually blogged about it at the time, and believe it or not, we still talk about it to this day. We’ve also rented villas in Italy and this is the beauty of travelling in a group – chateaux and villas can be rented for the same price, or even less than the hotels you’ve been looking at.

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Chateau de Mercurey

Just make the decision to stay in one place for a week with your group instead of a series of meaningless one night stands and a whole range of possibilities opens up! Funnily enough it was looking for images of villas and chateaux to temp my friends on holidays that I came across 2 of the properties I ended up renting – love at first sight! Tip – thoroughly search villa and chateaux websites that list a range of villas and then search for villa direct websites, some owners use third parties as well as taking bookings direct.

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Imagine dinner under a tree in Tuscany, just add wine and friends.
Beach House in Tonga

Wow. Just wow. 7 of our group (sorry!) spent an amazing time in Vava’u, Tonga, on a private island with our own beach, and access to our own boat to take us swimming with whales.  Yes, private island, private beach, swimming with whales. I first came across the property through my love of Grand Designs and then stumbled across it later while looking for some ideas to scratch my whale swim itch.  Sadly the number of guests is restricted but we still managed to squeeze 7 in here and it’s also one of our most memorable trips. Tip – private whale swims can only take 4 at time so make sure you factor that in!

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The ultimate last night – beach bonfire on our own beach! Vava’u Tonga
Villa in Nusa Lembongan (or Bali in general!)

The possibilities are endless in Bali. There are countless multi bedroom villas available nowadays but spare a thought for Nusa Lembongan.  It’s a short boat ride away from the hustle and bustle of Bali and there are some truly incredible villas that will fit groups of all sizes.  And you just cannot fault the Balinese hospitality, any time we wanted to go out for dinner they sent a truck to pick us up!  Tip – look for a villa with a boat to take you swimming with Mantas – epic!

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I could barely tear myself away from this Nusa Lembongan view!
Maui en masse

Hawaii continues to be popular and with good reason.  A group trip to Maui was easy with large aircraft to get there and a good range of large houses and large cars available to rent by the week. There are some amazing sights to see (rug up for the volcano!) and some great road trips.  Tip – if you need 2 cars, keep in touch with the other car with some walkie-talkies from the local Costco!

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Any excuse for a silly group shot! Haleakala Volcano, Maui
Lake House in Queenstown

What’s not to love about settling in front of the fire with a glass of the local Pinot Noir with this view?

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Epic Queenstown sunset

For Australians, Queenstown is an easy flight away and boasts stunning scenery and stunning wines.  For a group, it’s a wonderful combination of trips to the local wineries all together, or else doing your own thing on the ski slopes or sightseeing. Tip – with a group there are a number of fantastic restaurants and wineries that can fit you in a private room or at a long table – book in advance!

African Safari

Ok I’m cheating a bit here – my last safari was just 3 of us but it was so good we’re doing it again with the posse to celebrate a milestone birthday and it will be fabulous (I am beyond excited!).

With a larger group, a private safari becomes a real possibility and cheaper than joining a shared group. Private safari trucks seat 7 with everyone on the window, so with 2 trucks in convoy you’ve got room to spare and some ready made banter over sundowners! Tip – do some research and look for local operators in the country you’re wanting to travel in, cutting out the middle man can save you $$$.

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Can’t wait to do this again!

Although planning in advance might not be your usual MO, it will definitely pay dividends when travelling in a small group.  Think about your airport transfers, first night dinner bookings, in-house chefs for special occasions (or just because), private sightseeing tours, wine tasting, cooking lessons – everything becomes a little bit more logistical, but so much more affordable and enjoyable just with your group!

There’s quite literally a whole world of possibilities out there if you have a small group wanting to travel together, hopefully this may have given you some ideas to get you started.

Happy Travels!

Please contact me if you’d like more details on anywhere I’ve stayed.

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Incredible.  There’s no other words. Vava’u Tonga.
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Baby Humpback, Vava’u, Tonga.
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Swimming with Manta Rays, Nusa Lembongan
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