Travel tips

10 tips for planning travel with friends

Two women laughing

Spring is coming upon us and many of us reminisce about the days when this fresh new season meant spring break!

You can still enjoy spring break but instead of leaving homework and school behind, you can travel with your friends and leave emails and project management tools behind.

Traveling with friends is lots of fun but it is different than traveling with family or your partner.

When it comes to planning travel with friends I feel it takes more planning than travel with your partner, who is more likely to know you better and anticipate your travel style and the choices you make.

If you’re thinking of a spring break getaway with friends, here are 10 tips for making planning your vacation easier – for you and your friends!

Top tips for planning to travel with friends

Biking in Munich

1. Set expectations

One of the most important considerations when traveling with friends is making sure the right expectations are set, especially if you’re not traveling with like-minded people.

You love your friends, flaws and quirks and all, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get along and agree on everything 100% of the time. Be respectful of your friends’ personalities and preferences, such as being a night owl or early bird.

Have frank discussions about the type of vacation you’re planning and the travel styles you each have. You’d hate to arrive at a great location to find out your friend wants to get up at 4:30 every morning for a rigorous hike whereas you expected to sleep in until 10 and then lounge at the beach. Or perhaps it’s the other way around and you’re ready to go-go-go and get in as much sightseeing as possible but your friends need more downtime between activities. Discuss the ratio of adventure to relaxation and the level of spontaneity and planned activities.

2. Be honest about the budget

Money can be a difficult discussion among friends as it’s often a sensitive discussion but everyone needs to be honest and vocal about what they can afford or what they’re willing to spend money on or what they’re not willing to budget for.

Set price points for accommodations, dining, activities, and transportation. An easy way to save on accommodations is by bunking up, either room sharing and/or bed sharing depending on your comfort level.

3. Track expenses

One way to make the money conversation easier is by keeping tabs on the expenses and everyone pays in equally. SplitWise is a great travel app for tracking what everyone’s paid for and then splitting it among everyone in the group. It makes it super easy to see exactly who owes who and how much and then logging into Venmo to send it.

4. Be flexible 

Compromise is important when traveling with friends. You cannot travel with your best pals with the motto of “my way or the highway,” as it’s not only your vacation. If you’re not an early riser but some of your friends are, be prepared to get up early some days to accommodate their desires for the trip.

5. Create a wish list

Make a list of what you want to do, where you want to go, what you want to eat, and one or two things that are must-dos for you. Then compare your lists to find things you can all agree on and things you’ll have to compromise on.

Van Gogh Museum selfie station

6. Divide and conquer

Some friend groups have the natural leader or mom or dad of the group who step up and take control of things. This person should not solely be responsible for booking you and your friends’ getaway. Everyone in the friend group should pull their own weight.

Divide and conquer the to-do list, like one person books the hotel, one person always calls the ride share, one person makes dinner reservations, and so on.

7. Have planning sessions

Whether you get together in person or via a video chat, make sure to pencil in some time to review itineraries or check on things that still need to be booked. My friends and I often share a Google Doc and choose a color to denote who’s typing what.

It can make planning a breeze by having a shared reference document and goes back to point one by setting the right expectations of what this trip will entail and its estimated budget.

8. Book flights together

If you want to sit with your friends, try to book flights at the same time so you can choose your seats together. It may not always work out depending on when you book but I’ve had decent luck in the past by booking our flights at the same time. Plus, this ensures we’re all on the same flight and if anything changes, it changes for all of us.

9. Communicate

It can be easy to want to be the friend that just goes with the flow but sometimes that leads to no decisions ever being made as everyone is fine with whatever. Voice your opinion and be open to having discussions about what’s best for the group.

On this note, it’s also important to communicate when you’re frustrated, either with something going wrong or you’re annoyed with one of your friends. Don’t take your anger out on your friends because a restaurant lost your reservation or something got canceled. Talk to them and tell them you just need to step away, need some alone time, or whatever you need to do to avoid blowing up at them.

10. Do your own thing

You’re going on this trip to spend time with your friends but we all need some time to ourselves too. Whether it’s just a few minutes each morning or night, or a few hours every other day, schedule in alone time or independent activities to reset.

An extra bonus tip: Have fun! But that should go without saying!

What other tips do you have for planning travel with friends? Share them in the comments below!

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Hey, I'm Stephanie! I'm a copywriter living in beautiful Denver with my husband Rick, and our dog Rocco. I love traveling, writing, reading, and being outside as much as possible - unless I'm on the couch binge watching Stranger Things with a glass of wine! Thanks for reading and being a part of the adventure with Back to the Passport! ❤️

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