Even if you meet someone 30 times for coffee, it’ll never equate to the connection that forms when you’re trying to change a flat tire together on a remote island without cell service. It happened to me. That’s why I’ve made it a personal mission to create memorable group trips that provide space to share experiences and grow relationships (ideally with no flat tires).
My college hosted curated trips for me and my business society. When I was in my first job, I started organizing trips that focused on learning new skills and bonding with others over certain topics. It is my goal to find professional connections for trips that promote bonding and collaboration.
If you’re thinking you’d love to go on a trip but don’t have the time, I challenge you to reframe your thought process. These trips aren’t just vacations — they’re opportunities to learn something new, build deeper relationships, reflect, recharge, and invest in your future success. You can bond with colleagues and friends by organizing group trips. You can also outsource much of the planning which is great for busy professionals.
Why Group trips are a great way to reflect, find new opportunities, and grow.
For years, I attended Jeff Bezos’ annual, invite-only MARS retreat. This event brings together top-level leaders from machine learning, automation and robotics to hear thought-provoking talks about the future, share meals and enjoy activities like hiking or martial arts. People with the same professional interests will meet in a few days and create lasting relationships.
These retreats are some of the most productive “workcations” I’ve attended. I was able to reflect on my work and learn from thought leaders. They also allowed me to make friends with professional contacts. Each MARS retreat leads to new business formations and changes in roles. These retreats can be very enjoyable. You will be successful and you’ll drive new ideas, solid partnerships, and personal growth.
The MARS retreat resembles many of the trips I’ve been doing for 15 years, and it’s the perfect playbook for planning a professional getaway.
These are five essential ingredients to success.
- Curation.You can curate a group that shares a common interest, like meditation experience or women financial executives. It’s important to handpick the right mix of people to ensure they get something valuable out of the trip.
- Purpose.The trip must have a clear purpose. You should expect to devote three hours each day to meditation and inviting in teachers if hosting a retreat on meditation. Rest of your time can be used to bond with others and for group activities.
- Length.It should take at least three to five days for people to form meaningful relationships. This does not include time spent traveling.
- Quality. For a trip lasting three to five days, I recommend that 20 people be invited. You could also invite as many people as you like to make your trip more productive.
- Downtime.Every day, the group needs to have some downtime so they can recharge their batteries and get connected.
“The time to build a network is always before you need one.” – Douglas Conant
Group Trips Aren’t as Difficult to Plan as You Might Think
Group trips can be a great investment for your future success. These three types of trips will make group trips more manageable from a planning standpoint.
1. Your trip should be centered on self-development.
People have hobbies and skill sets that are important to them. For instance, pre-pandemic, a group of entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley went on annual kitesurfing trips around the world (including Richard Branson’s Necker Island). To learn new skills, hire a custom tour company. These companies will set a price and then usually take care of everything once you touch down — all you have to do is book a flight.
I did a four-person girls’ trip to French Polynesia, where we spent a week getting our catamaran skipper certifications. It was one of the most fun trips I’ve ever taken. Each of us took tests together, learned on the boat, and formed bonds over a common goal. Also, we had fun swimming with sharks together, making meals off the boat and sailing around Bora Bora. We chat regularly on WhatsApp about sailing, and are looking for ways to make our certification more useful.
2. Pre-planned trips are a great way to meet people.
Numerous companies provide amazing journeys that have set prices and itinerary. You can travel at a better rate by inviting specific people you’d like to get to know on these trips. A couple of examples of ones I personally like are El Camino Travel (small group travel for women); For the Love of Travel (small group travel for Millennials); Modern Adventure (luxury culinary and wine tours); Abercrombie & Kent (global luxury tours); &Beyond (small group safaris); Nat- Geo Expeditions (history- and culture-themed trips); and Healing Holidays (wellness retreats).
You are most successful as an entrepreneur because of your communication abilities. When you are networking or building a team, as well as talking to investors, it is important to be able to communicate clearly. Group trips can increase your professional contacts and expose you to new situations that could help you as a communicator.
3. Stay in a villa near a place that offers many bonding opportunities.
For this method, I would recommend the Caribbean! You should look for homes with a staff member or concierge. These individuals can help you with responsibilities such as cooking, cleaning, or booking activities to remove those day-to-day stresses so you can focus on bonding with the people you’re traveling with. A five-night, 20 person trip I planned to the Cayman Islands. All of us stayed at the same house. This was basically an adult summer camp. It included night kayaking on a bioluminescent bay and group yoga.
Many people on the trip didn’t know one another, but they were all Millennial tech professionals. The common thread allowed for hours of conversation between people. Invite your friends to host events and conversations that reflect their strengths. On our trip, we had three different events. One taught yoga to everyone, the other showed how to improve your body, and the third presented a lecture about trends in tech. You can encourage people to reflect and share their vulnerabilities by planning topics-based events or hosting daily events.
Making time for group travel — not to mention handling the logistics — can seem daunting with your busy schedule. You will be grateful that you made the decision to take this leap. The growth you’ll experience will be more than worth it.
Addicted 2 Success first published this article: How to build connections and create boundless opportunities.
Addicted 2 Success published the article How to Create Connections and Boundless Opportunities.