What can be more fun than taking a trip with your friends? If you put enough thought and energy into planning, you’ll have a great time and make a ton of vacation memories. But if you don’t, you’ll wonder what you were thinking when you agreed to spend your valuable time off with these people.
Before you get to the planning stages of travel, make sure the people involved are those you want to be with for the duration of your trip. It’s difficult to spend days on end with friends who annoy you after five minutes.
Basic Vacation Etiquette
When traveling with friends, remember that you chose to have these people in your life for a reason. You enjoy their company, you have common interests, and you trust them. Don’t do anything to destroy those great feelings.
Follow some basic manners rules during the trip:
- Honor your word. If you say you’ll go, show up on time. Being late or not doing what you agreed to do sends a message that you don’t value your friends’ time.
- Be honest about finances. If you can’t afford a weeklong luxury cruise, tell your friends. They might be willing to shorten the duration so you can be included.
- Pay up. If there are any shared costs, pay your portion as soon as possible and at least by the deadline set by the group. Not doing so will put your friends in an awkward position and may even cast doubt on your trustworthiness.
- Be responsive. When your friends get together for a planning session, be there and participate. During the trip, communicate with others so they know your feelings and thoughts. If things don’t go your way, avoid the temptation to mope.
- Put your friends before your phone. Don’t text and talk on your phone while you’re supposed to be having fun on your trip.
There are some things you need to do before you embark on any sort of trip with friends:
- Determine the place. It’s important to have some idea of the place that is vacation-worthy to all who are going. If your friends want to head to the mountains for a cool getaway, but your idea of relaxation is soaking up some sun on a tropical beach, you might want to rethink going together. However, if you and your pals can come to some sort of agreement on locale, then continue planning.
- Decide on a budget. Unless one person is footing the bill for the group, the traveling buddies will need to come up with a budget that is agreeable to all. Do you want to stay in a 5-star hotel, or are you willing to turn this into a low-budget or camping trip?
- Maybe your group will enjoy renting a house. Or perhaps an Airbnb will be a happy compromise. The budget includes quite a few other things too. Decide whether you want to tighten your belts and cook your own food in the rental or dine out. Don’t forget to include entertainment in your budget for shows, activities, and cultural events.
- Plan for money exchange. If you’re traveling internationally, make sure you have the appropriate currency for the countries you’ll be visiting.
- Decide on the duration and time of the trip. Decide how many days everyone in the group can take off work. The person who will determine the duration of the trip is the one who can get the least amount of leave, so make sure you’re willing to accept that.
- Determine flexibility on dates. The more you’re willing to bend the more likely you are to find the best place for your group, taking budget and availability into consideration.
- Choose the mode of travel and transportation. How do you plan to travel to your destination? If you hope to fly, can everyone get a seat on the same flight? If you’re driving, will you rent a car or use one that belongs to a person in the group? Who will drive? It’s a good idea to decide that in advance to prevent confusion or hard feelings. If you’re renting a car, make sure the company has a list of everyone who will be driving.
- Set up sleep arrangements. Everyone has their own sleep habits, so add this to your planning discussion. If one person snores and another is a light sleeper, they won’t make a good match for roommates. A night owl and a hop-out-of-bed-singing morning person will want to pull each other’s hair out by the end of vacation if they’re stuck in the same room together. Plan the sleeping arrangements according to what will make a good fit.
- Determine the level of formality. Decide in advance what type of trip you’re taking. Will you be going to a lot of shows or lavish parties and events where nicer attire is needed? Or will most of the places you go be more casual? Are you going on a cruise, hiking, or will you be walking through museums? You want to make sure everyone is prepared with appropriate attire.
- Decide how much togetherness you want. There is nothing wrong with taking a break or two from your traveling buddies, as long as everyone agrees that this is something they want to do. Just make sure you let others know where you’ll be and when you expect to rejoin the group.
- Take turns choosing what to do next. Give everyone on the trip an opportunity to choose the restaurants and activities.
What Not to Do
A vacation should be an enjoyable experience for all, so pay close attention and avoid doing anything that would dampen anyone’s trip:
- Don’t pretend you have money you don’t have. You’ll wind up embarrassing yourself and putting others in an awkward position. If you’re on a limited budget, let the others know that you have to be careful.
- Don’t expect to borrow money from your friends. Have what you need and include a little extra for unexpected expenses and emergencies.
- Don’t over pack. Remember that the others need space for their luggage. Find out if the place you’ll be staying has laundry facilities.
- Don’t forget to pack what you need. This includes phone chargers, batteries, toothpaste, makeup remover wipes, and medication.
- Don’t forget to put everyone’s contact information in your phone. Include emergency numbers in case someone gets sick, injured, or lost.
- Don't argue. If the conversation goes to a place that makes anyone uncomfortable, it's best to change the subject to something more agreeable.
- Don’t wander away from your friends unless they know where you’re going. You don’t have to be with them every minute you’re on your trip, but remember that accountability is important for safety and responsibility to the group.
The most important thing to remember is that the purpose of a trip is to have fun and renew your energy. If you’ve chosen the right friends to travel with, you’ll come back refreshed and filled with memories you can talk about for years to come.