We have all been there! Trying to plan a large family gathering or group vacation, and somehow you have been roped into being team captain to bring in the troops. There’s a reason why it’s always you. You’re organized, personable, and dependable. All great traits, but doesn’t mean you have to love doing the job, especially when it can be a logistical nightmare. You can either resign yourself to several hundred-group texts or make your life a heck of a lot easier.

Recently when asked to organize an extended family holiday (because yes I am the go-to family team captain!) I thought of a great idea to help me get my ducks in a row. A survey! Yes seriously, a survey. Call me a nerd, but it helped me plan the most epic trip that met almost everyone’s requirements.

While planning a trip for an extended family of 12, coming from 3 different countries, and 2 different continents, I knew there would be a few challenges ahead of me to say the least. There was so much information I needed, so rather than sharing in email exchanges between 12 different people I used a super easy and user friendly online software to create a survey (there are so many to choose from. Survey Monkey, Zoho, Checkbox… just to name a few). I asked questions like:

· What are your preferred travel dates?

· What airport will you be flying out of?

· What is your ideal budget?

· Do you have any special requirements for the airline / hotel?

· What are your top two excursions you would like to do on the trip?

This technique can even be used for something as simple as planning a small dinner party for friends. With a few clicks everyone can give their input on their preferred restaurant (limit it to 2-3 choices to make it easier), their food allergies and intolerances, and their preferred dates.

With the holidays coming up, why not use an online polling system to help you generate a Secret Santa list for your office holiday party? Or poll your friends to get their input on some of your different home décor ideas (if you’re looking for suggestions that is).

There are so many different ways we can use surveys to help simplify the process of planning. Trying to get everyone’s input can be daunting and quite frankly, annoying.

The idea here is keep it simple. You’re asking people to take time out of their day, so even consider sending the survey link via text, so friends and family can do it on their phones. Trust us when we say using surveys to properly plan on behalf of a group will save you so much time and headache. Save yourself the stress and put awesome technology to good use.