A Frugal Guide to Traveling with Friends

in Tips

Last week we offered our tips for taking a solo vacation. If the freedom and independence of traveling alone didn’t excite you, perhaps setting off with a group of friends would suit you better. If so, read on. This week we’ll look at ways to get the most from traveling with your closest pals without breaking your budget.

Exploring the world with some good mates can be a recipe for good times or a touring nightmare. Traveling can be stressful, and when tensions run high we tend to turn on our nearest and dearest. We can’t promise that our advice will make your vacation stress-free, but it will help you minimize the drama.

There’s plenty to consider before you even set off, starting with choosing your travel companions. We recommend keeping the group small. For every extra person that joins your group you add more opinions and potential for conflict. Set off with a group of more than four at your peril!

Once you’ve settled on your party, it’s time to pow wow. Most conflict comes when people’s expectations aren’t met. Chatting about travel styles before you leave can minimize the drama once you arrive. Discuss money matters. As a frugal traveler, you won’t want to plan a getaway with someone who insists on throwing cash around on the best of everything. By the same token, if your potential travel pal is an absolute miser, he might bring the rest of your group down and limit your own enjoyment.

Then there are interests to account for. Are there shopaholics or culture vultures in your party? And will you want to do the things they want at your destination? Eating styles are also important to consider. This isn’t just a matter of budget, but taste too. Picky eaters, vegetarians, and vegans can be difficult to cater for, especially in certain locations. It’s also important to consider whether you’re traveling with early risers or night owls, and party animals or lounge lizards. Unless your vacation styles mesh, you may find yourself spending money on things you ordinarily wouldn’t, such as gourmet meals or boozy nights out.

Finally, think about the personalities of the people you’re traveling with. We’re generally on our best behaviour in social situations, but while traveling our flaws can become magnified. If there’s something about your friend that irks you, you can rest assured that niggle will become a major problem by the end of your trip.

If you haven’t been scared off from setting off with your pals, it’s time to make concrete plans. Choose a destination you can all agree on, and make sure everyone pays their share up front. This is the easiest way to ensure no one is stuck with anyone else’s bill, and a massive dent in their own travel budget.

Continue to keep your finances separate throughout the trip, where possible. It’s too easy for someone to feel they’re paying the lion’s share. On the occasions where you can’t split bills, such as eating out, make sure you settle the debt the same day.

Your space will be limited, particularly if you’re staying in a hostel or small hotel, so remember to pack light. Consult your friends and ensure you’re not doubling up on things like guidebooks and travel scales.

Create a schedule, and stick to it. Some people prefer a more spontaneous style of traveling, but planning it a great way to ensure a trip with friends runs smoothly. Remember that your time traveling is limited. Being where you say you will, when you will, ensures none goes to waste. It’ll also make sure you don’t waste money on tickets for travel or attractions, as rescheduling these can be pricy.

However, the best laid plans can go astray. When you’re traveling with a group, it’s important to stay flexible. That might mean compromising at times, but doing so with a minimum of fuss is important for keeping the peace.

Remember to communicate throughout your vacation. Speaking up is the easiest way to ensure a small problem doesn’t turn into World War III. These exchanges might not always be pleasant, but if you apologize for any harsh words they need not ruin your vacation.

TouristsAnd finally, don’t be afraid to take some alone time. You don’t need to be joined at the hip throughout your travels. Splitting up and enjoying some solitude can be the key to keeping everyone in your party sane!

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