How to Organize a Vacation with Friends
Planning a vacation with your friends seems like a great idea – until everyone starts bickering over little details. From coordinating schedules to choosing a place to eat, getting a group of people on the same page for a major excursion can be difficult and exhausting. However, if planned correctly, then a trip with friends or family can be a breeze.
In order to plan a stress-free getaway, you’ll need to ask the right questions and use the right tools to get organized. Whether you’re headed to a nearby city or flying across the world, a few basic techniques will serve you well when coordinating a stress-free excursion.
5 Steps for Successfully Organizing a Trip with Friends
Whether you’re getting together for a reunion or a bachelorette party, you should follow these five steps to coordinate a stress-free excursion with your friends. By making plans ahead of time, you’ll save you and your friends headaches and arguments while on the road.
Step 1: Pick Dates
The first and most important step in coordinating trips with friends is to choose dates. Find out when everyone can take time off of work or school as well as how much time they can take off. This step is critical to ensure that everyone can ask for time off ASAP, and it can also be a major determining factor in where you end up traveling to. For example, if everyone can only get a long weekend off of work, then you may want to travel close to home to get the most out of your getaway.
Step 2: Discuss Budgets
While discussing money is never fun or pleasant, you should talk about budgets early on in order to ensure that everyone in your group has realistic travel expectations. This way, you can average out budgets to ensure that everyone can afford your plans, and you can nip unreasonable expectations in the bud. Your budget will also be crucial in determining your destination.
Step 3: Pick a Destination
Once you know how much time you have and your expected budget, then you can make an informed decision about the place that your group plans to travel to. For example, if you have only a handful of days off and a limited budget, you may not want to jet off to an international destination beyond Mexico or Canada. You should also consider whether or not it’s a family affair or adults-only. If you have small children with your group, then you may want to forego certain destinations.
Step 4: Book the Major Expenses
The first things that you should take care of are major expenses like flights, hotels, and tours. Booking these major expenses first thing will ensure that you lock in the lowest prices possible and reserve your spot for popular resorts or attractions. Booking major items early will also ensure that everyone in your group is fully committed, and you can also get discounts for booking as a group.
Step 5: Plan Major Activities
While you certainly want to leave plenty of free time for your group to relax or do what they want, you should plan any major activities, such as day trips or tours, in advance. This way, you can still have some flexibility to decide what to do at your destination, but you can have some of the major activities that everyone wants to do planned and ready to go.
Tips for Stress-Free Coordination
Planning a vacation with friends can be stressful on both your mind and your wallet. These tips will help you keep costs and stress down while getting your group together.
Take Advantage of Group Discounts
Many hotels and agencies can offer discounts to large groups. A hotel in Vegas, for example, might offer a bachelorette party package that includes everything from rooms to drinks at the bar, which can save your group time and money. You can also save some cash with a large group by renting out a full house or apartment on AirBnB, which also gives you access to a kitchen when you need a break from eating out.
Coordinate with a Travel Agent
A travel agent can be a major asset when trying to plan with a group. Not only can they negotiate great discounts and packages, but they can also keep track of things like separate payments. Additionally, during heated debates over where to go and what to do, they can be a great neutral party to give suggestions and advice.
Make Sure Everyone Pays Up-Front
In order to prevent animosity, all travelers should be responsible for their own expenses throughout the trip. While you may be tempted to “temporarily” cover a friend who’s a bit down on their luck, they may not be able to pay you back, which will ultimately result in conflict later down the road.
Take Advantage of Organizational Tools
Tools like shared calendars and chat groups can be incredibly useful when planning a group trip. A shared calendar can help you decide on a schedule for your trip and communicate major events like payment deadlines and flight dates, and users can use chat features to add their input about destinations or agenda items. However, a few in-person travel meetingsare still productive for ensuring everyone is on the same page and to discuss sensitive issues like budgets.
Don’t be Afraid to Split Up
Different persons have different tastes, so you shouldn’t be afraid to let your group split off to pursue their own interests. For example, you may have some friends who are obsessed with food and want to try every local dish possible, and you may have others who don’t care as much and don’t want to splurge on every meal. Therefore, you should let the foodies explore the area’s cuisine while allowing others to stay close to home with something simple. However, you should always make sure that everyone has a “buddy” with them to ensure safety.
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