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Organising a group Camino

Malcolm

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017
#1
Hi everyone. Just wondering if anyone knows of any resources for large-ish groups doing the Camino? The group in question is about 20 people. I've seen some albergues that only allow large groups after 4pm or so, and the one large group that I encountered (about 60 people) had alternative accommodation lined up everywhere, as well as a bus to get them from the marked route to their accommodation and back. Thanks.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, Soulac, Norte, Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo
#2
I've seen some albergues that only allow large groups after 4pm or so, and the one large group that I encountered (about 60 people) had alternative accommodation lined up everywhere
Hi Malcolm, I took a group of 17 people on the CF last year, and another group of 15 people on the CP this year. I booked private albergues all the way through, and had few problems.

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/look-out-for-the-lowveld-ramblers.49263/

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/look-out-for-the-lowveld-ramblers-we’re-back.56275/

Good luck!
Jill
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte?
#3
I presume you want to stay with your group together in the same accommodation. To be sure of that it is probably necessary to make reservations ahead (perhaps even before you start) That would mean that you can not stay in the regular albergues and will be limited to private accomodations.
I for one am not so happy to share an albergue with so big groups, most of the time they have a big influence on the atmosphere in the albergue.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, Soulac, Norte, Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo
#4
I for one am not so happy to share an albergue with so big groups, most of the time they have a big influence on the atmosphere in the albergue.
Yes, I agree, and that is one very good reason I am not going to take a group on the camino again.
Jill
 
Camino(s) past & future
I intend to leave the UK the day Before Brexit and walkMarch -April 2019 Camino Frances
#5
Personally I would not get involved in a group anything, you are very likely to starve to death. When there are more than 3 people together it is usually impossible to agree where, when and what to eat this leads to many hours of trying to please everyone one untill all the restaurant s are closed. Increase the number of participants to forty and a decision will never be made.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#6
Personally I would not get involved in a group anything, you are very likely to starve to death. When there are more than 3 people together it is usually impossible to agree where, when and what to eat this leads to many hours of trying to please everyone one untill all the restaurant s are closed. Increase the number of participants to forty and a decision will never be made.
Ah, there lies a difference between democracy and organization- if you’re going to organize a group you have to organize it. Where to sleep, where to eat and probably what, route, distances, transport and timings. Then all you have to do is enjoy yourself 😉
 

musicman

Ensuitepilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
2004, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
#7
Have taken a group of 25 on the Portuguese Coastal last June.
Logistically, it is best to have everyone together .
I used Booking.com almost exclusively.
I prebooked flights, coach and luggage transfers, small hotels and even some evening meals.
All done well in advance and we had a great time.
I have similarly organised a group of 16 for the Camino Ingles, September 2019.
Already booked.
 

Malcolm

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017
#9
I haven't given the full context because there are issues of confidentiality here, but in short it's a group Camino or no Camino. So the question is about finding resources to help organise one. Thanks.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#12
I haven't given the full context because there are issues of confidentiality here, but in short it's a group Camino or no Camino. So the question is about finding resources to help organise one. Thanks.
www.gronze.com; www.booking.com - thats about it. Or you turn to the many, oh so many, companies that "organize" caminos for individuals and groups. I'll not post any suggestions here as I would not wish to be accused of bias. A Google search will lead you to an infinity of possibilities though I would advise you to scroll down the page till you get past the paid positions and any link to this forum.

If you really want to take a group of that size on camino then you either need to be prepared to devote weeks of time to the logistics and planning or you will have to be prepared to pay the cost of professionals to do that for you.

The third-way: you provide all the potential participants with a link to this forum and the start date and tell them " see you in StJdlP".


buena suerte amigo
 
Camino(s) past & future
I have walked the Camino Francis 7 times, twice in 2017 and 2018. (2019)
#14
Another resource is Only Pilgrims website. Though this website you can book private albergues and the owner, Jesus, is very helpful. I have used this site many times.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
#15
Or why time doesn't really matter, and you shouldn't use a clock. 😊
I think this mostly applies to life on the camino, unless you are staying in the albergues...in by 10:00, out by 8:00.
Oh, and it can usually apply to retirement as well!
 

MichaelB10398

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes to SdC, SJPP to SdC
#16
Hi everyone. Just wondering if anyone knows of any resources for large-ish groups doing the Camino? The group in question is about 20 people. I've seen some albergues that only allow large groups after 4pm or so, and the one large group that I encountered (about 60 people) had alternative accommodation lined up everywhere, as well as a bus to get them from the marked route to their accommodation and back. Thanks.
Malcolm, several people on this forum consistently "guide" groups on trips. Each of them has done multiple Caminos multiple times. If you have that kind of experience or if someone in your group has that caliber of experience, your group will be well on its way to success. If not, I suggest you contact such a guide to assist you in having a wonderful Camino experience.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 was Camino #14
#17
I haven't given the full context because there are issues of confidentiality here, but in short it's a group Camino or no Camino. So the question is about finding resources to help organise one. Thanks.
I organize and lead groups on the Camino and have some questions to consider.

1) When did you want to walk?
2) Do you want to do the entire Camino?
3) Do you want to book private lodging for each night?
4) Does your group of 20 need to stay in the same lodgings together?
5) Are you walkers trained at all? Can each one walk at least 20 k per day?
6) How much do you expect each pilgrim to pay?
7) Have you done anything like leading a group this size before?

I haven't taken 20 but I've taken 16 and I hope you have the patience of Job . . .
Depending on your answers, if you're looking for someone to help organize you, I may be interested.
You can PM me if you'd like.
 
Camino(s) past & future
I have walked the Camino Francis 7 times, twice in 2017 and 2018. (2019)
#23
Jesus is owner of the albergues???
Is that JC or "just" Jesus (Hernandez for example)???
Jesus is a lovely young man that runs the website. He lives in Leon and I had the privilege of meeting him last September. I don't know if I even asked for his last name. When I walked the Camino alone last May he gave me his personal cell number which I used when a 76 year old woman was worried because every place was full the next night and for health reasons she needed to transfer her backpack which requires a reservation address. I called him and he found her a bed in a place she had been told was full and even arranged the backpack transport. I am older too but I think he treats all his customers with the same kindness.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
#24
A group of 20 requires a co-leader – to bring up the rear and pick up stragglers – and most importantly to give assistance in a crisis. Sh*t happens :eek:.
Jill
Oh the stories you could probably tell, Jill! 😉
 
#25
When I walked the Corfu trail in Greece as part of a group with a single guide, every day someone was appointed to be the “back marker”, whose job was to be the last and make sure no one had fallen behind. We took turns, simple but effective.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances to Sahagun, Primitivo to Santiago (2016)
Camino Frances from Burgos (June 2018)
#26
Well, I am going with a group of 13 people from my parish on Portuguese way from Porto in May. I have booked most of the accommodation already through booking.com or by contacting albergues. I am hoping my group, which has a wide range of ages, won't be too much of bother for other pilgrims.. I have read some horror stories of groups causing problems for others. we won't be wearing any group shirts, so you won't know us until you are lucky enough to meet us in albergues.. :)
 

Mark McCarthy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2014 2015
Lourdes 2 SdC 2016
Sarria 2 SdC April&Oct 2016 & (April 2018)
Camino Baztan June 2017
#27
I have taken two groups this year but just Sarria to Santiago. I booked all the accommodation in advance, directly with the albergues, who were generally very helpful. All but one needed no deposit. The albergues asked me to contact them a day or two in advance to confirm the booking and on the day of arrival to confirm arrival time. We found Whatsapp invaluable for keeping in contact. If people were unable to walk on a particular day, they had to get a taxi at their own expense to keep the group together. The groups naturally split up during the day in to fast, medium and slow walkers, but met up for most breaks and lunch. Most evenings we dined together but occasionally some people were too tired to join the group. Walking the whole CF as a group would be more of a challenge. If you need any advice you are welcome to message me. Going in groups helps a lot of people make the Camino who would not feel able or motivated to do so alone and gives people the confidence and desire to come back later as individuals or couples. Buen Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte?
#28
Well, I am going with a group of 13 people from my parish on Portuguese way from Porto in May. I have booked most of the accommodation already through booking.com or by contacting albergues. I am hoping my group, which has a wide range of ages, won't be too much of bother for other pilgrims.. I have read some horror stories of groups causing problems for others. we won't be wearing any group shirts, so you won't know us until you are lucky enough to meet us in albergues.. :)
As far as I am concerned wearing a group shirt would be the least of my problems with big groups. In fact it could have a advantage for me, if upon arrival I would see people with a uniform shirt, I could decide to walk on. (I don't have problems with individual people in a group, they are just as nice as any other pilgrims. Many times I don't like the, unavoidable group behaviour which can have a big influence in an albergue.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances to Sahagun, Primitivo to Santiago (2016)
Camino Frances from Burgos (June 2018)
#29
And what is the group behaviour that you are concerned about? Personally, I have never encountered groups in albergue on previous two caminos, only on the road, so I don't know what that would be. Maybe I can talk to the group so that won't offend anyone.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte?
#30
And what is the group behaviour that you are concerned about? Personally, I have never encountered groups in albergue on previous two caminos, only on the road, so I don't know what that would be. Maybe I can talk to the group so that won't offend anyone.
There are two kind of problems with group travels that mingle with individual travellers: avoidable and unavoidable ones. Avoidable ones are in itself wrong in my opinion, examples are sending backpacks ahead and deposing backpacks next to beds in the albergue as a way of reserving a bed. Or at resting places reserve tables ahead by ropes or something like dad.
Unavoidable problems follow directly from the fact that you are a big group that can easily dominate the atmosphere. For instance in conversations there will often be references to things that have happened during the day. or things that have to do with the groupdynamics. For individual pilgrims this can be a disturbance, for them it is also more difficult to connect. Many times there will be group activities like planning for the next day, or evaluation of the day passed and so on. Groups can be noisy.
These things are not reproachable in itself, are a natural consequence of traveling in a group.
If you would be staying in albergues groupeffects will be stronger, in private houses it will probably be less of a problem, because you will have more room for yourself.
(Another, a little bit aside the, point with affects my aversion to group travel is that I don't see the advantage of walking a Camino in a group)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances to Sahagun, Primitivo to Santiago (2016)
Camino Frances from Burgos (June 2018)
#31
Thank you for letting me know about your opinion on a group walking the camino. Certainly we won't be doing anything that you described as reserving beds such way or any other public resting places. I have walked by myself and another time with few friends and no matter who we encounter, I believe respecting others is an important element of the camino. So, that's what we will do as a group.
Also, I believe everyone has different reason to be on Camino and has a place on it whether as a solo walker or as a group. I don't think you can generalize saying that solo walking has advantage over group or vice versa. Everyone has their reason and we need to respect that. Yes, groups can be noisy, but so is single walker or camino family you form along the way, when people do not respect others.
If your mind is set to dislike groups you will always have problem with them, but if you are open to them, who knows, you may realize that not all the groups are the same just like no individual you encounter on the camino and life is the same.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte?
#32
Thank you for letting me know about your opinion on a group walking the camino. Certainly we won't be doing anything that you described as reserving beds such way or any other public resting places. I have walked by myself and another time with few friends and no matter who we encounter, I believe respecting others is an important element of the camino. So, that's what we will do as a group.
Also, I believe everyone has different reason to be on Camino and has a place on it whether as a solo walker or as a group. I don't think you can generalize saying that solo walking has advantage over group or vice versa. Everyone has their reason and we need to respect that. Yes, groups can be noisy, but so is single walker or camino family you form along the way, when people do not respect others.
If your mind is set to dislike groups you will always have problem with them, but if you are open to them, who knows, you may realize that not all the groups are the same just like no individual you encounter on the camino and life is the same.
Of course not all groups are the same: people in groups are just as likely to be nice, loveworthy people as individual walkers. Groupbehaviour though has unavoidable effects. If I meet a fellow traveller that I don't like, I can neglect him or her much easier than I could a whole group. I can imagine circumstances though where people tend to prefer traveling in a group. I wish you and your companions a very good Camino and hope that it will bring you everything that you are looking for
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances to Sahagun, Primitivo to Santiago (2016)
Camino Frances from Burgos (June 2018)
#33
Thank you.
I really don't know what to expect myself from this camino as I have never taken such a large number on any pilgrimage. Could be lots of fun and rewarding, but could be a nightmare too. But one thing for sure is that there are lots of people who wish to go on camino but don't have the courage to do it by themselves. So I told them this would be just a taste of it, and that I hope they will be able to do it by themselves in the future.
It will be an interesting journey for sure...
 

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