Traveling with a group of friends can be a lot of fun. Sharing experiences, trying new foods and meeting new people together creates lasting memories.
However, if you all aren’t on the same page about a budget, what activities you want to do, and how busy you want to be can get a little hairy. Suddenly you are on a trip far away from home and you realize you choose the wrong group to travel with!
Good planning and communication prior to the trip can help reduce some misunderstandings.
I am planning a 15-day trip this year for my 40th birthday! Needless to say, I want this trip to be an epic trip. I don’t want drama. I want relaxation, amazing experiences like hiking an active volcano, sunny warm beaches, great food, and to share it all with my friends.
I started planning a year and a half ago (meaning saving money!) and letting my friends know it was something I wanted to do and to plant the seed to see who could attend.
If you are the organizer, I would suggest putting a rough agenda and budget together and send it out to the group. It gives them something to respond to.
The group responded and let me know that we might have too many places to stop and it would be too busy. I then refined eliminating ferry rides and 3-4 stops. I have a lot of energy and like to move constantly, but when I’m traveling with a group, I need to take into account their comfort and wishes. It’s a sacrifice, but a worthwhile one so that I can experience amazing things with my friends.
Also, a budget lets people know what kind of money will be required. You want everyone attending to understand and to stay on the same spending level, otherwise, some people will feel left out or misunderstandings can happen, and you don’t want that on a 2-week trip.
After I got the group to agree to the new agenda, our next step was to secure accommodations. I wrote a post about that earlier and you can read about it here, Travel Planning: Accommodations.
In our final budget and agenda, I added columns with our flight and confirmation numbers so that we have one document with all the information we need. It’s very nice to have access to important information on the go instead of trying to dig through emails on your phone, you don’t know what kind of internet service you will have out of your country and you could be in a more rural area with no service. Be prepared!
Another cool resource I have recently started using is Splitwise. During my last group vacation, a friend made us all use this app and it made splitting grocery bills, meals out, and gas expenses a breeze. It’s free and it keeps track of all expenses and divides them up evenly within your group.
Then you can pay people directly through the app via Venmo. Using Venmo is also free when you pay friends or family with a linked checking account. I love Venmo because you get your money in about 2 days versus Paypal takes much longer and you have to navigate fees etc.
- Plan ahead
- Share agendas and budgets with the entire group and ask for feedback
- Create a working document that has all the details, such as flight and confirmation numbers
- Keep track of shared expenses via Splitwise