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Buddy Travel Ideas

School’s almost in session, so we’ve decided to pass out some grades of our own.  Three group travel ideas are getting scored on how well they stand up to a variety of vacation styles, eating habits, and tendencies to wander.  We’re also giving you tips for how to vacation without strangling your travel buddies and making recommendations for ways to get the most out of each trip.  Pack your bags!

Cruisin’ Together

Variety of Activities: Stick together and rotate through everyone’s interests (sunbathing, shopping, sporting, playing games, noshing), or divide and conquer.  Stay on the ship, or disembark and explore ports of call.  Adventure through the jungle or lay on the beach.  Participate in all the campy fun, or find secluded corners and keep to yourself.  A

Variety of Dining Choices: Since cruises mean enjoying yourself in a finite amount of space, ship planners go overboard providing a variety of food options that will please every passenger.  Buffets, quick services stations, sit-down meals, and formal feasts serve food from all over the globe.  A

Ease of Reconnecting: Nightly dinner times are the perfect chance to meet back up after a day of individual fun, and the nighttime entertainment options work for making happy, group memories.  A

Overall: Setting sail together is probably the perfect way to vacation with friends or family.  Don’t decide whether you’ll get goofy or just chill – cruising together lets you do both.  A

Best for: All ages, first timers, experienced vacationers, mixed groups.

Tips: Use the daily activities newsletter to plan ahead of time what you’ll for sure do together.

The Great Outdoors

Variety of Activities: Usually camping lets you explore your natural surroundings.  Hiking, climbing, swimming, water sports, and nature walks offer a variety of levels of physical output but may only appeal to those who enjoy outdoor activities.  C

Variety of Dining Choices: Dining options for camping can be limited, and deciding on food that pleases everyone can be downright impossible, especially when you’re carrying anything you’ll eat.  Packing a cooler will expand your choices to include fresh foods, and fishing (in safe waters) can make for a satisfying meal, as well.  However, cooking your own meals without the conveniences of home is never easy, and sometimes the burden falls heavily on one or two people.  D

Ease of Reconnecting: Splitting up too far for too long is dangerous, so most groups stick relatively close when camping.  Barring disaster, getting back to the camp site is pretty simple after a day of fun.  A

Overall: Camping is affordable and unique, and getting touch with nature feels great.  However, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and getting rustic with folks who aren’t willing to pitch in or who can’t keep a positive attitude can really suck.  C

Best for: Younger crowds, experienced vacationers, fans.

Tips: Determine ahead of time who will take charge of which responsibilities (cooking, cleaning, setting up camp).

Walt Disney World

Variety of Activities: In addition to the theme parks, Disney World offers spas, beaches, sailing, golf, shopping, shows, live music, classes, water parks, and nighttime entertainment.  A

Variety of Dining Choices: Pickings in the parks’ quick-service restaurants are variable but improving on the whole and usually offer American cuisine and options from other major culinary influences in the U.S. (e.g., basic Mexican and Asian dishes).  Sit-down restaurants cover a very wide number of bases, including Moroccan, Californian, German, and French – and they are typically decked out in theme environments and serve good food.  B

Ease of Reconnecting: Walt Disney World covers 43 square miles and offers free but not terribly speedy transportation around the entire resort.  Reconnecting after a group split can be very difficult and even annoying, especially given uncontrollable factors like wait-time for rides.  D

Overall: If you do it right, Disney World can be a fabulous vacation for your whole group, but getting all the pieces in order can be tricky when you’re working with a crowd. B

Best for: Most ages (excluding very young and very old), experienced vacationers, fans.

Tips: Discuss and decide before leaving what kind of vacation your group wants to have.  The sheer size of Walt Disney World resort makes it difficult to balance individual tastes and still get “together time,” so consider keeping your group small or going with pals who share your vacation philosophy.

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