Group travel and the magic of a shared journey

Some people wrinkle their noses when they hear about “group travel.” They might be picturing rowdy teenagers partying their way across Cancun, or crotchety seniors grumbling about a late dinner hour. That’s why we work so hard to ensure our groups click.

We once had a couple who won a trip for two on one of our Muskoka experiences at a charity silent auction.

Muskoka is a magical place, and the itinerary is all about reflection, rejuvenation and refinement. Many of our Muskoka guests are seeking mindful connection, with time to take inventory of their own spiritual wellbeing.

This couple, however, did not seem particularly spiritually inclined. At the welcome cocktail reception, we had an Indigenous elder come and speak about Muskoka, its history, energy and spirituality. This couple stood off to the side, unsure. As we do on all our trips, we made a point of introducing and including everyone, however, we wondered how they would fit in.

At first, they were quiet, watching, a little standoff-ish, gauging how the weekend was going to go. Over the next three nights, it was amazing to watch the change/transformation…they became engaged and animated and by the final night of the trip, they too were gathered around the campfire, singing and dancing! As we parted ways, they were the first to suggest a post-trip dinner and catch up with fellow travellers. As luck would have it, they joined us again the very next year!

Group travel can open doors that would otherwise remain hidden to solo travellers. It’s a chance to connect with like-minded people, and see and experience things in new ways, as travel mates share what they know or what they’re noticing.

But the connections aren’t always instant. Here are six ways we help our travel groups come together:
Connect before you go. We like to put people together, as though we’re welcoming friends for a dinner party, and have their commonalities and connections surface organically. We organize a pre-travel mixer to help our guests feel like they’re travelling with friends, not strangers, and to help people get familiar with the destination and the itinerary.
Plan trips together. Our Divine-by-Design Travel Advisory Board helps us plan itineraries featuring the sites and experiences that resonate most deeply with our travellers. Joining our Travel Advisory Board allows you to create the experience you want, with people who feel the same. The Divine Destination Collection trips are customized to reflect the interests and curiosities of our guests, meaning you’ll find like-minded explorers and an itinerary that appeals most to you.
Keep an open mind. While our itineraries are designed to meet the needs, wants & expectations of travellers, group travel by its very nature means there may be some elements that are more appealing than others. But keep an open mind. Allow space for connection. You may find it in unexpected places!
Rely on your hosts and guides. It’s our job to help our travel groups find cohesion. Co-founders Deb Niven and Allison Frame travel on all our trips and are an essential part of ensuring that everyone is made to feel welcome, included and an integral part of the overall experience. Our best trips happen when our travellers feel comfortable enough to be vulnerable to the place and the people they’re meeting. Lean on us to help you get there.
Take a little alone time if you need it. We understand that people want “white space” or leisure time and there are definitely elements of each program that are at leisure, for you to enjoy. Take a little space, take a deep breath, enjoy the magic of your surroundings. Reconnect with the group when the fancy strikes.
Go deeper. We also know people want to take full advantage of being in an exotic place, so we offer optional activities over and above the trip itinerary and hope travellers will use the additional offerings to immerse themselves deeper into the destination.
It’s always amazing to watch the relationships grow among our fellow travellers. We’ve had many experiences whereby the end of the trip, we hear our guests saying: ‘we gotta get together when we get back, let’s have dinner, let’s exchange emails.’

There is a magical alchemy to our trips that works on people and is truly heartwarming!

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