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How to Plan a Trip with Friends

Natasha Weiss
04/12/2022

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Customized trips are generally more popular among tourists than tour company trips. Convenience to finalize your budget, settling upon a destination, and carving out an itinerary suiting your preferences; all sounds so exciting and engaging. And what can be more pumping than planning a trip with a bunch of like-minded people?

Nothing is more stimulating than the idea of setting on a long trip with your pals. Planning a trip with your friends can be both exhilarating and challenging at the same moment. On one side, it gives you the freedom and luxury to stay flexible around destination choices and itinerary plans. However, on the other side, you must slip into a negotiator avatar to avoid disputes and disagreements. 

Friends can sometimes prove more demanding than expected when settling on a common point. Sometimes, the process seems quite exhausting when things are not planned out in the correct order. So, it requires a great deal of groundwork, planning, and decision-making to finalize a dream trip with your friends. 

So, are you ready for the drill?

You do not want to run away in the middle of everything. Right? Stay hooked to check out the handiest tips on how to plan a trip with friends.

Seems Overwhelming? Let us help you!

The best way to start planning is to divide the entire process into different phases. Let’s tag them as:

  • Before Planning the trip
  • During the Trip 

Various tasks and checkboxes included in planning the trip can be grouped under these three phases. Keep a notebook with you to make little notes during this short and crisp read. 

BEFORE PLANNING THE TRIP

1. Assess Your Pals Personalities

It is essential to choose your group of friends before planning a trip. 

You must be thinking now. Choose friends? What? I know my buddies, bro. What even?

It might sound enigmatic, yet some brainstorming done at this step will help you a lot later. People carry different interests and different goals when it comes to planning a vacation. It is, therefore, crucial to carefully choose people by asking about their preferences about different aspects such as;

  • Some people like shorter trips; others might prefer to do adventurous thrills, while some might be happy with only sightseeing. Use survey sites like Google forms, Survey Monkey, TypeForm, etc. to get an idea of everyone’s ideal vacation. Check out everyone’s availability and decide on the number of days you want to spend on the trip. Also, keep your settled budget in focus when choosing a destination and the length of the journey. 
  • The survey form can include different questions like flight options, food & accommodation preferences, and their bucket list of favorite activities in the town. In google forms, you can use multiple check-box options, or short answer options for recording responses. Alternatively, you can also analyze the degree of likeness or dislikeness about a certain aspect using linear scale. Ask clearly about what they can adjust with and what are their non-negotiable terms. 
  • If you are setting out on a road trip then ask around who is happy to drive along the way. For beginners, planning road trips are often much more exciting as they require the least planning while offering an ample experience for a multi-day trip.  
  • Choosing Airbnb when traveling with a larger group seems convenient. However, you must ask others about included amenities. For instance, larger accommodations offer pull-out couches instead of a full size bed. So, make sure that everyone is sorted regarding the available facilities.

2. Settle Your Budget

Financial expectations vary a lot from person to person. Some want to spend as little as possible, while others prefer to go lavish and luxurious. Finalizing a rough budget from the start helps you understand how far you can go. And how can you best divide your funds while staying on the same page with others?

Make a checklist of all the major expenses such as travel, accommodation, food, etc., and ask others about their choices. Set your prioritizations and stay glued to them. You can use budgeting apps like Splitwise or PaySplit to enlist and divide all the expenses. 

Several expenses are shared in group travels e.g., renting, tickets etc.  Splitwise allows travel buddies to get reimbursed the amount by other members. You can make small notes about who owes whom and how much to keep things sorted from the very start. 

3. Make a Checklist

Writing every minute detail helps you stay focused through the entire process. So, let’s start with making a checklist followed by dividing the whole journey into multiple convenient little steps. For instance, it can begin from booking tickets, reserving accommodation, planning out an itinerary, eating out, and other minute details down the list. Check out this guide on planning an itinerary to understand a basic outline. 

Next, divide the tasks among the group members. Everyone is equipped with different skills. Some are good at negotiating, while others are excellent at planning. Divide the tasks accordingly. Appoint a leader and let him monitor all the progress. Starting 2-3 months ahead of time for cross-border trips works best to avoid hassle and mishaps. Set deadlines for tasks, e.g., a meeting every fortnightly to keep everyone coherent and functioning.   

4. Look for Flights & Accommodation

Comfortable travel and accommodation are the two primary components of a hitch-free trip. Many countries have imposed travel restrictions due to the pandemic so make sure to check them out when the group members are traveling from different countries. Online sites like Skyscanner work best for finding cheaper deals. Using Google Flights Explorer Map helps explore reasonable fares in different date ranges. 

Do not forget to keep in view your itinerary when choosing accommodation. You would not want to end up commuting the entire day by choosing a place far off from all of your selected destinations in the city. 

5. Plan Your Itinerary

Having a well-planned itinerary allows you to stay flexible with your choices. Flexible dates range can help with cheaper flights. At the exact moment, you can plan your trip keeping in view the current weather and activities of that time, etc. 

Ask group members about their preferences, like do they prefer a tightly knitted schedule or are easy to go with spontaneity. Feel free to split up in multiple groups to do activities of personal choice. Check out the local routes, travel cards, and other travel requirements of the place. Keep an eye on the budget deals to secure discounts. Some activities like visiting some UNESCO sites allow only limited individuals at one time. So, make sure to secure your tickets ahead of time. 

Back-to-back traveling exhausts you, so do not forget to keep breaks between the activities. Stay flexible and make the most of the trip. Check out this 10 days Italy itinerary as a template. 

6. Pack & Roll On

The packing list depends a lot on your destination and temperature. For shorter trips and adventure hike outs, keep your packing list minimal to make the best of your trip. Share bare essentials like soaps, toothpaste, shampoo to save space. Make a packing checklist and share it with your friends. Do not forget to add the passport and other important travel documents to the list to avoid the last-minute hassle.  

Ensure that all the travel information like accommodation details, tickets, etc., is present to everyone. Decide on a common meeting spot to reach the departing point at least 1 hour ahead of the departure time.

DURING THE TRIP

7. Share the Itinerary

Jot down the key information about the finalized itinerary in a word document or excel sheet. Make sure that everyone is clear about the planned activities of the day to avoid delays.

8. Keep Finances Sorted

Mutual expenditure is a common situation in the group itineraries. To keep everything fair and square, write every expense from the start. You can use budgeting apps or excel sheets to list all the costs. By the end of the itinerary, you can figure out the due amount on everyone’s part. 

9. Make Memories

Drop group photos in a shared folder like Apple drive or Google drive. The highlight feature of Instagram is an amazing tool to beautifully feature all your memories. So, keep your handles active along the trip and do not forget to use hashtags and location pins. 

Using a customized travel hashtag would help you reach out to all the posts within no time. Pinning location on your memories can help other people to reach out your experiences when they are planning to travel to the same location. 

10. Be Open to Changes

Do not expect everything to go hunky-dory on the trip, even if you are planning a trip with friends. Some unexpected situations might occur, so be prepared to tackle the problem smartly. Keep a plan-B to comfortably switch in the case of weather changes, transport issues, or some health sickness of a group member.  

Natasha Weiss
04/12/2022

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