What I Forgot About Group Travel
Running a luxury gay group vacation company, I am usually so busy creating experiences for other people and taking care of them, that I don’t actually get to be on the other side of the group travel experience. Well, recently that changed.
As a member of the Belmond LGBTQ+ Advisory Board, I recently attended a board meeting in Rio de Janeiro and stayed at their gorgeous property, the Copacabana Palace, a Belmond hotel. After the meetings were over, we attended a group trip to Iguacu Falls, organized by the Hotel Das Cataracts, a Belmond hotel. Essentially, all I had to do was show up and enjoy, and that is exactly what I did.
I felt so taken care of by the hotel during my weekend at Hotel Das Cataracts, Iguacu Falls, and several times as I enjoyed their amenities and excursions, I wondered, “Is this kind of how my travelers feel on Zoom Vacations tours? I hope so, because I like it.”
With everything organized and taken care of for us, it felt like a massive recharge. Plus, there were other LGBTQ travel advisers and agents on the trip with me, and we got to spend l time getting to know each in a foreign and beautiful place, and none of us were handling any of the details.
When I wanted to break away from the group and enjoy some quiet time by the Falls or at a spa treatment, I did it. And, when I wanted to grab a drink with someone at the bar or hang by the pool there was always someone around who wanted to do the same. Camaraderie ensued.
It is these things that I really appreciate so much about the group travel experience. Plus, traveling with like-minded people who come to the table with their own unique ideas and stories it’s just really really fun and such a great way to connect on a meaningful level.
From social media, it probably looks like I am on these carefree trips all the time, but the reality is that even when I am somewhere having a blast, I am also handling all the details myself. It’s fun, but it’s not the total relaxation experience that an organized group trip provides when you are the recipient. I get it, I am working and not on vacation, and I am more than fine with that.
This is a true vacation, and as much as I truly enjoy providing these experiences for other people, I came back from the trip fully aware that I need more moments like these for myself, with someone else handling the details, and all I have to do is show up and enjoy. I guess it’s kind of like therapists having their own therapists, as many do.
I am admittedly the most biased person in the world in making the following statement, but I do so with more vigor than ever: if you have never tried a group travel experience, you’ve really got to treat yourself and experience it: the ultimate vacation.