Close your eyes and picture your favorite spot on the planet. Maybe it’s a cabin in the woods, surrounded by a whole lot of nothing, or maybe it’s a bustling city filled with things to see. Either way, spend a moment imagining yourself in that place—heading out for a walk, drinking coffee on the porch, listening to birds chirping or the snow falling. Sounds pretty great, right?
What if you added in a few of your favorite people? That’s the idea behind a Good People Getaway. It’s a chance to spend a weekend (or, if you’re lucky, even longer) in the company of excellent friends, preferably punctuated by daytime adventures and evenings huddled around a campfire. Whether you’re looking to visit the nearest adventure town, rent out a cabin in the woods, or rough it with a big car camping trip, follow these tips to nail your next Good People Getaway.
Pick Your Crew
A solid getaway is less about where you do it and more about who you’re doing it with. Consider whether you’re in the market for a weekend with a big, varied crew, or a smaller, more intimate gathering. Are you gathering friends from work, your pals from college, or introducing a few different friend groups? As you’re putting together your roster, take a few minutes to think about the group’s dynamics—at this point, it’s less about everyone’s fitness levels or interests than about their overall demeanors. If you’re mixing introverts and extroverts, for example, think about picking a spot where some folks can retreat for a little quiet time if need be.
Decide on a Budget
Choose meals that are easy to cook with flexible ingredients to accommodate people who are vegetarians or have food allergies. Dan Gold
If money were no object, where would you be headed? Odds are, if you’re planning a friends’ weekend, you’re not skiing to the South Pole or surfing in Australia—but you can still use your dream trip to inform your planning for this one. Do a little research on the costs of food and lodging at your intended destination, and mock up a daily budget for your trip. Depending on everyone’s tastes and budgets (and how well you know everyone in attendance), it might be easiest to pay for things up front and divvy up costs later with Venmo or a similar payment app.
Determine Your Travel Time
Depending on where you and your crew are based, your trip can usually take one of two general paths. You can head somewhere close to home, meaning you won’t have to spend much time traveling and can have more time adventuring once you’re there. Or you can strike out a little farther from your comfort zone, which will mean more time spent on the road (you can make it part of the vacation) and a little less time spent at your destination. Either way, consider how you’ll get everyone from Point A to Point B, and factor travel into your plans.
Tailor Your Activities and Gear
Pass along a packing list to ensure all the members of the group can bring what they need to enjoy the activities at your destination. Erol Ahmed
Now’s the time to do some homework. As the planner, you don’t have to babysit everyone, but it’s great to point folks in the right direction, depending on their interests, fitness, and experience levels. That way, you won’t have anyone in way over their head on double black-diamond ski runs or leave expert mountain bikers bored on an outing with their beginner friends. Consider sending a basic gear list for whatever activity you’ll all be doing, then putting an email out to the crew so folks know who’s missing gear and needs to borrow something. Give your friends plenty of notice with this one.
Figure Out Food
Ask any event planner: food can make or break an event. Never planned a menu for a big crew before? No sweat—the stakes may be high, but it’s easier than it sounds to pull it off. Put together a few options that are simple to cook en masse and can easily be made vegetarian, like tacos or a pasta dish. (Those two can also accommodate common dietary restrictions like being gluten-free.) Depending on the group, it’s sometimes easiest to just include a daily food budget in the cost, have everyone give you cash or transfer via an app, and buy food to cook together. Ask your friends to let you know about any dietary restrictions well in advance so you can either plan accordingly or let them off the hook for the extra cash and bring food they know they can eat.
Divvy Up Responsibilities
Split up the chores so you have more time for fun. Kelsey Chance
You might think it’s all sunshine and rainbows among a big group of friends when it comes to chores, and you wouldn’t be the first. But great friendships are forged on great communication, and when you don’t let folks know it’s their turn to do the dishes or mop the mud off the floor, not everyone will jump up to do their share. Head this off by dividing up chores so everyone knows what they’re responsible for, and you’ll avoid the hard feelings when so-and-so is cracking another beer rather than helping with dinner. It can be casual—"Hey, do you mind starting the campfire tonight?"—or, if you’re in a really big group, consider posting a list in a common area like the kitchen.
Whether you’re planning a trip for a few close friends or a big reunion, give yourself more time than you think you’ll need to get the details ironed out. Think of it this way: you’ll never wish you’d had less time to put together a gathering of your favorite Good People.