Cooking has probably seen more changes in both its form and the way it is viewed, than any other hobby or occupation in the last half century. In the 1960s few men cooked and few women cooked anything other than staple dishes from their own areas. The idea of a man cooking an Indian meal in Sheffield in the early 1960s would be seen as preposterous. Nowadays however, with immigration, broadened travel experiences and the proliferation of TV cooking programmes, just about everyone cooks just about everything. Culinary holidays and cooking classes are growing in popularity and taking a group of people on a cooking holiday offers the chance of excitement, travelling fabulous cuisine. If you are planning a holiday of this kind, these few tips will help you to make it a success.
1 Choose the Group Carefully.
This might sound obvious, but it is amazing how many people get this wrong. Obviously anyone wishing to take part in this type of holiday, will need to have a love of cooking. It is however, also important that the group gets along with each other. It only takes one domineering character to spoil the holiday for everyone. Choose the people carefully, then keep them posted right from the start with developments and any special offers that you find.
2 Choose the Type of Trip
This will, to a certain extent, be governed by budgetary and time restraints. These type of holidays can be anything from a short break with little travel, to a full-on two week holiday involving long-haul flights and other logistical issues. Don’t be scared to push for the latter. During the process of choosing the group you will get an understanding of what they are looking for. The world is shrinking and cooking holidays in far off lands can be an exciting prospect.
3 Be Mindful of your Budget
It is important with any trip to set a budget and stick to it. It is even more important when you are spending other people’s money. Make your planes early, make sure you check for any hidden extra costs and then stick to your plans. Discuss plans with the group and make sure that nobody is going to be financially embarrassed, it is better to disappoint early than have a friend embarrassed and feeling bad about things at a later date. This needs careful planning, it is for example sometimes more cost effective to spend money at the front end, and have less costs later, than to go for what looks like a bargain on paper only to realise that costs are spiralling when you get there.
4 Location, Location, Location
The sky is the limit with this type of trip nowadays. Top hotels, restaurant, colleges, and even cruise ships are offering cookery courses. Discuss with the group to find out which country’s cuisine captures the imagination, then balance that out with finances. Throughout the world, cooking classes are growing in popularity, here are some examples:
Possibly no other country in the world has had so much written about its cuisine as France. From the superb Provencal dishes, to the 5 star chefs of Paris, the glorious country cooking of the Loire Valley and the Farm food of Gascony. France has cooking classes all over the country.
For more information about the best of the superb cooking holidays available in France click here
Nobody effuses more about its food than the Italians. Just listening to an Italian talk about the food of his country makes you hungry. The pasta, pizzas and risotto alone could keep you busy for weeks. Making and eating your own pasta is a wonderful experience, and learning the delicate art of mixing sauces with it, is an interesting subject.
For more information about the best of the superb cooking holidays available in Italy check out the Flavours Website
Spanish food is a strong favourite of many. The wonderful Spanish dish of Paella is prominent all over but particularly in coastal resorts. The many varied dishes that make up Tapas and Pinchos are a challenge for any budding chef. Here again the regional classics are both varied and interesting.
An interesting site for cooking holidays in the Costa Del Sol is Cooking Holidays Spain.
Many people would cite Thailand as the finest cuisine in the world. The freshness of the flavours combined with intelligent use of spices certainly is a delight. Many of the culinary holidays here, take guests out to the early morning floating markets to buy the ingredients ready for the day’s classes.
For more information about the best of the superb cooking holidays available in Thailand check out eFoodys.
The food of Vietnam varies tremendously as you travel from North to South. In the north the food is strongly influenced by its close neighbour, China. The national dish Pho, is from Hanoi and is a beef, noodle soup. In the middle of the country, the food is more highly spiced, whilst in the Mekong Delta in the south, it is the fresh herbs and vegetables that influence the taste most of all. Again ingredients are purchased from the floating markets, the one at Cai Rang is the most famous of all.
For more information about the best of the superb cooking holidays available in Vietnam, visit the Saigon Districts website.
Here alone there are classic courses all over. Padstow has its famous seafood cookery classes, Ireland’s top celebrity couple Darina Allen and her husband Tom run classes at their school in Ballymaloe. Cordon Blue cookery classes can be found in London and week long courses are available right up in the Isle of Harris at Amhuinnsuidhe Castle.
An article in the Daily Telegraph suggested some good examples.
America offers some truly amazing culinary holidays. From Barbecue boot camps, to the Mexican influenced food of the West Coast, the absolutely fabulous food of New England and the themed classes offered by the prestigious Culinary Institute of America. This is a country that likes its food and they have the classes to show you how to cook it.
For more information about the best of the superb cooking holidays available in the United States click here
5 Extracurricular Activities
Don’t simply rely on the cooking course to provide everything you need for your holiday. There is no point having delightful days in the kitchen learning new types of cuisine and cooking methods, only to be stuck somewhere in the evenings with nothing to do. Make sure when you are booking that you find out, what else is in the area. If there are nice bars and bistros in an area close to one cooking class, but not another, then that should at least come into your thinking. People who like cooking, generally enjoy eating. Allow space during your schedule for sightseeing and exploration of the local areas.
When the trip does, in fact, come to an end, send out a follow-up email to gather feedback. This is a great opportunity to thank the group for participating and also gather information, useful in planning future trips.
7 Use Your Group Buying Power
It is important to remember that at all times while making inquiries into the cost of travel, accommodation or activities, that you have the strength of your group buying power. Any business that can see a booking coming their way with upwards or 10, 20 or 30 people will definitely not want to loose out, and will be happy to offer incentives to win your custom.
If you take for example the many businesses out there that are offering up to a 80% discount on their services including administration fees, to post discount deals on some of the most renowned discount sites like Groupon.com and LastMinute.com and many other sites like these, to try and gain customers to promote their services. Bare this in mind if you’re a bit shy when it comes to haggling for discounts, go for it as you’ve nothing to loose, as all they can do is say no.
8 Choosing Accommodations
There are many options for choosing accommodation that need to be considered when considering the level of budget for the overall group, although most Adventure Camp Centers would have accommodation on site. If you need to arrange your own accommodation the first and most obvious option is hotel accommodation.
Hotel Accommodation is in abundance on many price comparison sites, but sometimes you already know where you want to go based on recommendations from others who have visited the area where you wish to travel. It is always best practice to contact the hotel directly to see if you can get your own discount for your group booking.
Recommendations from others are most helpful in deciding your accommodation, as you don’t want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere!
You can view many of the most popular hotel booking service providers on the Hotels Section of DIYHolidays.com.
Private Properties are also another great option for affordable accommodation with a twist. There are many fabulous private luxurious villas available for short-term rentals. Some of these villas are like those in which you would imagine movie stars living in. Some of These will have features beyond your wildest imagination, including private swimming pools, Jacuzzis, and a room for everyone in the group!
The cost of renting these villas can be surprisingly affordable when you divide the cost up among the members of your group. There are many websites that provide these options for you, but you can see them all in one location on the Private Properties Section on DIYHolidays.com.
B&B’s are also an option to consider as this might suit a smaller group traveling, especially if you are heading to an area that can be quite expensive for accommodation. This can also be an adventurous option as you are dealing with local people presenting their local hospitality, and local knowledge. You can also view a multiple of service providers offering B&B accommodation from all over the world on the B&B Section on DIYHolidays.com.
Hostel’s are a very cost effective option to consider as this might suit a smaller group traveling, especially if you are heading to an area that can be quite expensive for accommodation. Hostels do have rooms with a number of bunks in it that might suit the number of people in your group.
This can be a great solution as sleeping can be the last thing on the itinerary for your group, although it can be a noisy option if everybody comes back at different times with a little too much to drink! There are many Hostel booking agents available on line for booking Hostels all over the world and you can see them all in one location here on the Hostel Section on DIYHolidays.com.
9 Keep your Group Informed
It is always best to inform the people in your group of exactly what costs are involved, what is included in the trip and what, if any, discounts you have managed to squeeze out of service providers.
Collecting the money can also be challenging as this can sometimes create difficulty especially when deposits have to be paid. This is where you avail of the services of GroupandPay.com.
GroupandPay.com is a hugely popular online platform that is free for organisers to use when informing their group of what has been arranged for them, and it also provides an easy hassle free system for collecting the money. It prides itself on being very user friendly.
Watch this video to see how it works!
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10 Travel Insurance
Many people overlook this, but it is so important especially if traveling abroad. Group insurance policies are readily available and do not have to be expensive. The peace of mind that it brings is worth it, especially for the organiser. Many companies specialise in this kind of cover. There are many service providers listed here on the Travel Insurance Section on DIYHolidays.com for you to choose from!
11 Need inspiration for Planning your Group Experience?
Check out DIYHolidays.com as they inspire individuals and groups to travel, especially around their interests and hobbies.
Here you will see a multitude of interests and hobbies for you to get inspired from and for each one you will see enthusiasts recommending amazing places to go. You also see them sharing their experiences through videos, photos, and blogs. You can participate in live surveys, or ask questions and partake in live discussions. You can also view all the most popular online specialists stores from all over the world for each interest and hobby, all in one location, and you can even play related online games.
And as you have probably guessed it, DIYHolidays.com is a sister company of GroupandPay.com, so we are all about Inspiring Individuals and Groups to do more Traveling and enjoy more Social Engagement!!!
Tell us about your Experiences and Offer Recommendations
If you have created a group travel experience for your buddies that turned out to be an awesome experience, then don’t keep it to yourself, tell us about it in the comments section below.
It’s all about sharing the love on #GroupandPay.com