The idea of traveling with a group of friends may seem like the best vacation you could ever take. But sometimes, expectations exceed reality. As much as you may love hanging out with your buds all day when you’re home, a vacation together is a whole new ballgame. You’ll have to contend with different personalities (with varied interests) all trying to plan and enjoy their own version of an ideal vacation. If you want to stay sane while traveling with friends, here are our best tips.
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1. Communicate before booking anything
It’s easy to get lost in the fun details of a trip like picking destinations and browsing through hotel options. But, if you’ve never traveled with this particular group of friends before, you should spend more time focusing on whether your travel personalities are compatible. If you love luxury hotels and your friends like rugged campgrounds, it may not be the best fit. Discuss things like budgets, desired activities, sleeping styles, physical endurance, transportation preferences, who will handle which aspects of researching and booking the trip, etc. Once you’ve locked in a destination, see if you have common ground on the experiences you want to enjoy while there. If your friends want to visit the jungles of Costa Rica but you have your heart set on a beach trip, see if you can compromise or find a different place where you’ll both be appeased.
2. Be flexible and patient
Try to be flexible wherever possible, and don’t sweat the small stuff. Things will not always go according to plan, and sometimes you don’t want them to! If your friend really has her heart set on something, let her do it! And then let everyone know when there’s something important to you so the gesture can be reciprocated.
3. Factor in some alone time
Even spouses don’t want to be together every second of the day, so make sure you get some time on your own to recharge. Don’t plan activities for every minute of the day. In fact, we recommend planning only one or two excursions before you arrive, just for flexibility’s sake. You don’t want to be canceling plans!
4. Go over the budget together
Many fights begin over finances, so this step is important. Make sure you’re all on the same page regarding the overall affordability of the trip, but also discuss how you’ll want to spend your entertainment and meal budgets. Some people like to skimp on eating out so they can experience more activities while others like to splurge on fancy meals and hang by the pool all day. These are important considerations to discuss before you travel together.
5. Work with a professional
Find a reputable travel agent if you’re having trouble pulling all of your wants and needs together into a cohesive itinerary. A travel agent has years of experience that could save you hours of vacillation and indecision. If you don’t want to contact an agent, cruises and all-inclusive resorts (like this great Sandals deal) are great options for friend getaways since they offer such a variety of food and entertainment.