Pick the right destination
Figure out what everyone wants. Someone might be looking to rest and relax on a beach, while another person might be looking to soak in as much nightlife as possible. Find out what everyone’s top three priorities are, spot the common themes, and research places that have all of your common interests. Remember, a trip with friends doesn’t always mean you have to spend every minute together.
Book a cheap flight or hotel
Nothing puts a damper on vacation planning with friends than arguments over money. Since everyone has his or her own limit on how much they can and want to spend, the best way to appease everyone is by finding the cheapest flight or accommodation possible. If your group has not settled on where and when the trip will be, use Skyscanner’s Search Everywhere feature to find rock-bottom prices for just about anywhere in the world. If you’ve already picked the place and time, Skyscanner is still a great tool for comparing flight and hotel deals from more than 1,200 partners.
Choose the right friends
Clashing with companions doesn’t have to be inevitable on a trip. It’s important to choose the right group of people who will get along with each other and whose company you enjoy. Low-maintenance and laidback personalities can promote a tension-free trip, so can groups of friends who already know each other.
Talk about budgets
When it comes to discussing money, avoid the confusing group texts and long string of emails and talk about it face to face. Meeting at a friend’s house or talking over dinner can reduce what can sometimes be an awkward discussion. Figure out a maximum spending limit per person that will make everyone happy while staying realistic. Creating a budget in Google Docs will let everyone keep track of expenses at any time, while free apps like SplitWise and Venmo allow groups to split trip costs.
Divide up the responsibilities
Divvy up travel duties so that one person is not left with all the pressure and stress of planning the perfect trip. For instance, one friend can look for flight deals, another can browse the hotels, while another researches fun activities and restaurants that everyone will enjoy. Keep in mind that some people might prefer a little alone time so make sure there’s breathing room in the itinerary for that.
Create a group fund
When major costs like flights and hotels are out of the way, it’s easy to forget about smaller joint expenses like taxis, tips, as well as food and supplies if you’re renting a home. To avoid headaches, create a fund where everyone contributes the same amount of money at the beginning of the trip. When the fund is running low, everyone puts in the same amount again until the trip is over.
Always be communicating
It’s fun to get lost in the excitement of booking things and crossing off your checklist of to-dos, but don’t forget to check in with your friends throughout the process to see if anyone has any concerns, whether it’s about the location of the hotel or the timing of departure. It’s important to provide a window of opportunity for everyone to comfortably share their opinions on trip decisions.
Have an open mind
Spending an extended period of time with other people is an exercise in social durability, even if they’re your life-long best friend. Despite all the late-night planning and lunchtime meetings, some situations will be totally out of your hands such as a loud snorer or a perpetually disorganized friend. Lower your expectations a tiny bit and have an open mind when things don’t go your way. Remind everyone not to fixate on a few dollars, and whatever you do, don’t ever let yourself or your friends get tired or hungry. That’s when everyone’s cracks begin to show, so you might want to pack a couple snacks to avoid a total meltdown.