Planning A Group Trip Lecture Notes
By Wayne Horodowich

The purpose of today’s lecture is to make you aware of the many aspects one should consider when planning a group trip. In addition it will address many of the common pitfalls, so you can hopefully avoid causing the trip from hell. “One cannot create a trip guide in a one hour+ presentation.”

Who has been on a group trip?
Was it commercial, club or friends?
Were you completely satisfied with the trip?
What could have been done better?
Why are you here today?
What do you want from a group trip and the leaders?

Define a group? (Active vs passive groups)
Our group definition -  “Individuals who are working together towards common goals”

Types of trips:
Leader Based (Most commercial trips)
            Leaders plan it and participants are given their parameters

Planned Cooperative
            Is a leader needed?
            Shared responsibilities?
            Who’s in charge in an emergency?  How is this decided?

Casual Group
            What does this mean to you?
            Is this a discussion item for planning a trip?

Basic Trip Needs:
Creating the trip
Trip Goals (Reason for the trip)
Org chart with responsibilities
Skill level
Norms (dress, equipment, staying together, individual behavior)
Pace (speed, stops, rest breaks)
Bail out plan (when, why, how, where, reasonable plan, alternative plans)
Emergency plans
On going evaluation and oversight
Who says yes or no? (A body without a head is not very functional)
Filing a float plan


General Oversight (The trip is going as planned)
            Trip – itinerary, environment,
            Group – participant behavior, group progress,
Leadership goals
Leadership philosophies
Leadership styles
Leader responsibilities
Knowing the limits of his/her authority
Needs assessment
Self & group awareness
Safety issues


Are you a follower or participator?
What are your responsibilities?
Trip desires?  (Why are you going on this trip?)
Your behavior in the group
Self & group awareness
Safety issues


Anticipate and handle possible problems
Signaling devices
Emergency equipment (1st aid, clothing, food & water, flashlights, energy snacks)
Escape routes
Emergency services
Medical profiles


Pit falls:
False expectations (set in advertising and in answers to simple questions)
Inappropriate skill level
Not paying attention
Reacting too late (towing, soreness, behavior problems)
Poor communication (with the group)
Unreasonable itinerary
You can lead a kayaker to water…
Requests from participants (reasonable vs unreasonable)
Leader ego
Leader superhero myth
Sticking to the itinerary at all costs
Lack up to date information
No back up plans
Inadequate equipment
No float plan &/or deviating from float plan without notification to the outside world



Sit down with some kayaking friends and answer the following questions. List the answers. If you address the issues and answers raised by these questions, more than likely you will plan a successful trip.

What is the purpose of the trip?
Who is in charge?
What are the qualities of a good leader?
What qualities do you dislike in leaders?
What are the responsibilities of the leader?
What participant behaviors have annoyed you on past trips?
What are the responsibilities of participants?
What do you need to know about your participants?
What are your equipment standards?
What are your equipment needs?
What are the skill needs for the trip?
What is the up-to-date info regarding the environment of your route?
What safety equipment do you need?
What emergency equipment do you need?
What are your emergency plans?
What are your back-up plans?
Who calls authorities when if you don’t return on time?


Keep in mind your answers to these questions are based upon your knowledge and experience. “You don’t know, what you don’t know.” Therefore the more you learn and experience the more options you will have when planning a trip and/or reacting to situations.


P3MP3 -  Prior Proper Planning Minimizes Particularly Poor Performance
“Plan for the worst and work towards the best”

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