Travelling can be an opportunity to create lifelong memories and to bond with your friends and family. It also has the potential to totally ruin friendships if you let it.
Having done my fair share of trips with friends, family vacations, and work trips (for fun AND on business), I’ve experienced a lot of different dynamics. It has made me pretty picky about the people I choose to go on vacation with. But also has helped me adapt to different energies and be a great mediator.
Now, I’m sharing a few quick tips to help you navigate travelling with a group so you can have an awesome trip!
Get everyone’s buy-in
Things happen and people drop out of trips. But that gets complicated if you’re trying to prepay for bookings and get a final head count. Give your crew a deadline to opt in for a trip so you know exactly how many people are coming. If you can get deposits or even plane ticket confirmations, that’s even better since. When there is money on the line, you’re less likely to have 10 people back out at the last minute. Make sure everyone is sincerely into this idea and not just going along with the plan on paper.
Agree on a budget
Travel budgets can differ wildly, so make sure you talk about expectations. It’s not fair to assume everyone wants to eat at a restaurant for every meal when they might rather save their money for souvenirs.
If you have these conversations early on, not only does give all a chance to communicate their expectations and preferences, but it can also help you nail down some of the travel logistics. Will you book a house on AirBnB or rooms at a hostel? Will you cook at home or eat out? Do you want to look into paid tours and excursions, or sightsee the DIY way? These are all helpful things to decide early on, before you start divvying up expenses.
Hot tip: agree before hand on how to handle expenses and reimbursements. If you have to share costs, the app Splitwise is a great tool to track expenses among groups, as is Venmo and CashApp to send money.
If you are all similarly wired, that’s great, you’ll have no problems. But if your group has high-energy people, chill people, early birds and night owls, these are important things to consider. You might want to pair people up by their routines for accommodations or make plans that allow lots of flexibility and room for differences. For the agenda, set open times so people feel free to follow their own clocks and self-organize, then make some plans where everyone is expected to get together.
Hot tip: Designate common areas or a “party room” for night owls to hang out, so they don’t keep their bunkmates up.
If you make plans as a group, it’s usually best to stick to the consensus. However, things happen and the important part is that everyone is kept up to date. Agree on a platform of communication, like a Messenger group or a What’s App group. That way you can let people know if you’re running late to breakfast, or found a great place to grab a drink later for those who want to stay up late.
Share the workload
Most groups have the natural organisers who step up and lead. But often, those people hate that no one else is taking initiative. It’s a recipe for bitterness and resentment when one person is doing the emotional labour of making sure everyone has a good time. Share the work of researching activities, making dinner reservations, getting people’s dietary restrictions and meal planning if that’s necessary.
If you plan on cooking, pair people up and assign meals and washing up. It sounds really regimented but most people are usually very open to helping out, they sometimes just need to be prompted.
Make room for alone time
Not everyone is a hardcore extrovert. Even though the point of the trip is to be together, sometimes that time needs to be spaced out. Allow opt-out activities if people want some down time and be okay if some people would rather wander off on their own. It can be nice to spend some time apart from the group and then come back totally energised to be present again. Make sure the extroverts aren’t calling all the shots. Respect people’s decision to say no.
Trips with friends and groups can have be totally great because you always have a gang to party with. Be patient with each other, take care of each other, and take lots of photos.
Happy Travels xox
Leaving your friends at home? Read this article for advice on maintaining long-distance friendships.