In simple words, a trip dossier is a collection of documents containing information about a trip to a destination. This may include details about the itinerary, tour duration, meet-up/rendezvous point for tour members, weather conditions at the location, what to see at each stop point, what to bring along (types of clothing and traveling gears) etc.
Many people organize and embark on group adventure tours without a dossier, believing they have all the plan, itinerary and information about their tour clearly laid out in their head and can spill any part of it out upon the demand of anyone on their tour group. As easy and as ‘intelligent’ as this seems, it has the potential to harm the experience of the people on the tour.
In the summer of 2008, I embarked on a three-day trip (2 nights) with a group of friends. We were friends so we didn’t need to formalise our engagement. We decided to go exploring the source of Ooni River on Effon Ridge located in Ekiti State, south-western Nigeria. We had also planned to have a goat barbecue overnight party on the ridge. I had the most information about the area, and I had it all stored in my head. I had made calls round to everyone on the team and we had fixed a date for the trip as well as rendezvous point and time. I had informed a few members of the team about the cold weather conditions in the night often experienced at the location, but unfortunately, I forgot to inform the others. At the meet-up point, one of those I forgot to tell saw my sweater peeping out of my backpack and he asked, “what are you doing with your sweater. It is summer, so it should be sunny”. I smiled and explained how cold it gets in the location at night, which is due to the elevation and vegetation density of Effon Ridge. He felt bad and wished he knew earlier. Two of those I had informed forgot to bring their sweaters. On the night of our barbecue party, the weather condition changed drastically as a flood of freezing and windy atmosphere swept over the hill tops. A few members of the team and I were lucky to have our sweaters with us, but most of those that didn’t come along with their sweaters ended the trip with serious cold and catarrh.
This short story exemplifies the importance of documenting every detail of the trip and sending the documents to all members of the group in advance of the trip. Spreading these type of information verbally will never be adequate as some important details will likely be missed out at its receiving ends.
So when next you’re planning for that small group tour, never forget to prepare a good tour dossier and share round with all members of your group.Tweet
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