Traveling on your own can mean lots of peacetime. But there’s something special about having someone by your side—whether it’s your best friend, your boyfriend, or your four-year-old nephew—to ask, “Are we there yet?!”
I’ve done numerous trips ranging from a weekend to over a 15 days trip with friends. In my group I’m always the one who plans every detail of the trip or take the lead hahaha, so I’d like to think I’ve gotten better at it. Merging travel styles, however, requires a little flexibility—and a lot of compromise. Here I share some useful tips to travel with yours!
Check what everybody wants and do the plan!
This is by far the most important thing, and important to discuss before any further planning. Reality is that we all want to do something specific while traveling, even if that is sleep every day until 11am and then do stuff. You can have similar taste to your friend, and even so not wanting to do the same, so there is a balance you need to find, that’s why is important to sit down before, and make a list of what’s important for each one of the participants in the trip.
Is very sad to find out later that all they wanted to do was party until 4am, sleep until 1pm, and repeat. While all you wanted is to see the country where you’re in. This doesn’t mean you should cancel, it’s a “finding a balance” thing.
This is also the chance to ask and know how everyone travels in the group. In my case I love using Airbnb, and I’m perfectly content walking and taking public transport, depending on how secure is the city I’m visiting. If your friend is not comfortable with these ideas, this is when you know you will have to plan a shuttle, taxi or Uber.
Give everyone an assignment. Even if you’re a natural planner, life will be much easier if you divide and conquer. One person can sort through flights and hotel deals, the foodie(s) can be in charge of picking restaurants, and your fashion-obsessive friend can research weather- and culture-appropriate options for your packing lists. Everybody happy!
Agree on a budget ahead of time.
Now that you know what everyone wants to do, agree on a budget to save yourself from uncomfortable conversations during the trip. Ask what everybody can afford or the x amount limit. If you are planning the trip, this will give you an idea of how much to spend in hotel, taxis, food, and even reconsider some of the previous planned activities.
Also! Figure out how to split meals before you go. Chances are someone makes less than everyone else and is not looking forward to splitting a $400 meal 6 ways when all they had was salad. Discuss that too. No one wants a delicious, wine-fueled meal ruined by an argument over a couple of dollars-euros.
Not every activity needs to be a group dynamic!
I made this mistake in my first group trip. Remember, just because you are traveling together does not necessarily mean you have the same interest and want to visit all the same spots! So, its ok to not doing everything together.
This is also true when traveling with just one friend, as my good friend Limsy always says; have some “me” time. Just because you would like to explore by yourself does not make you anti-social. Many times the experience of exploring new cities by yourself allows time to test your own personal boundaries, and to push yourself to be more daring.
When you are traveling with friends, somebody is going to be either picky with food, or a little hysterical about accommodations, or a little more concerned about money. So be flexible and pick your fights, stand ground when you need to, but being more like water and going with the flow will make everything go smoother. The difference will be huge, you don’t stress yourself and stress the others.
No one is despised more on a group trip than the person who cannot stop complaining about everything—the food, the weather, the hotel’s service. Avoid being the bummer of the group and taking your friends down with you by resisting the urge to moan about the small things. You’re on vacation!
Finally and as in everything, communication is key
You are going to argue. Accept it! You’re outside of your comfort zone, possibly jet-lagged, and trying to do everything on the plan list. Disagreements will happen. But one little dispute doesn’t have to ruin your trip. Remember that everyone has different moods; perhaps your BFF is just cranky because she hasn’t eaten, get her some food and THEN figure out what the issue is.
Talk about everything, being sympathetic, and remember, just like the water…go with the flow and make some good memories with your friends!
Hope these smart tips help you on your next group-friends trip!