If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you know I just returned from from the dreamiest European vacation with my girlfriends. Traveling is something so near and dear to my heart, and to be able to share it with friends makes the whole experience even more special. I’ve been lucky enough to travel with a group of friends to a few different cities, and there’s nothing I love more than exploring a new place with my favorite people! Whether with just one travel partner or a huge group, I wanted to share some tips on group trips I’ve learned from traveling to make your next adventure stress free!
TIPS ON TRAVELING WITH FRIENDS
1. Plan Ahead
When traveling with friends for the first time, I think the biggest way to avoid drama and stress is to plan ahead. I’ve shared my trip planning tips before, but I really can’t stress how important it is to have itineraries laid out for each day so everyone knows exactly what is happening. My friend group uses a Google Doc to break down each day and make sure we’re hitting all the spots we wanted to.
2. Assign Roles
Talk to everyone about how involved or uninvolved they want to be, then divvy up roles so no one is stuck with one job. Maybe one person handles flights, one person researches hotels, etc. Try to play to everyone’s strengths! Clear roles helps to make things run smoothly.
3. Let Everyone Pick Their “Must-Go” Spots
During the planning process, encourage everyone to share their must-see/must-do spots and activities. We typically try to let everyone pick at least a restaurant and activity, so no one feels like they’re missing out on anything.
4. You Don’t Need To Do Everything Together
Especially in a group larger than two people, don’t feel bad about wanting to split up for certain activities! On group trips, we usually split up one or two afternoons for different activities and then meet back up for dinner. This allows everyone to pick and choose what they want, and sometimes it’s nice to have 1:1 time or smaller group time.
5. Be Mindful of Budgets
Traveling can cost a lot of money, so it’s important to be mindful of what everyone wants to spend. I think it’s important to find a good balance of fancy and casual activities and meals, maybe a fancy dinner and show one night and cooking at home the next night. One of the best tools we use to figure out everyone’s expenses at the end of the trip is the Splitwise app. It connects to your Venmo account and lets you add in all the expenses of the week and shows the difference of what everyone owes each other. Couldn’t be easier!
6. Consider Travel Routines
Make sure to have a conversation about what everyone’s travel routine is. Early risers? Night owls? Do some people not mind early flights? Do others loathe them? Everyone has their own travel style, so the earlier you know them the better!
7. Select Accommodations Accordingly
Have the conversation early about the type of accommodations you want to book. If people don’t like sharing a room, I think Airbnbs and other home rentals are a great alternative to hotels. However, if there is a hotel you’ve been dying to splurge on, traveling with friends is a great opportunity to share the cost!
8. Designate a Driver
Not in the way you think! If your group is renting a car, I find it’s helpful to designate one friend as the driver (and it’s usually cheaper from an insurance perspective). Having a rental car is such a fun way to expand your footprint and see more of wherever you’re exploring!
9. Make a Shared Photo Album
I don’t know about you, but my travel buddies and I take tons of pics! I love sharing snaps on social media, so to make it easy we create a shared album that everyone can upload photos to. No more stressing about who has what pics on their phone.
10. Carve Out Alone Time
Some people thrive off of group energy, others need time alone to recharge. If you’re the latter, don’t be afraid to carve out time for yourself away from your travel companions. Lots of times I find that people shy away from group trips because they feel self conscious about needing alone time. I think you can have the best of both worlds when traveling in a group if you’re open and honest about your needs.
11. Communicate Clearly
In the same vein of carving out alone time, communicate openly and honestly with your friends! Nothing can ruin a friends trip more than someone ruminating on something all week – maybe they’re annoyed they didn’t get to see/do something, maybe they’re frustrated by how early the days are starting. Whatever it is, communicating with your friends about your expectations or something bothering you is so important. And on the flip side, being an open and willing listener! Remember, this is everyone’s trip to enjoy!
12. Bigger Isn’t Always Better
When it comes to planning a group trip, you don’t always have to go BIG! Sometimes aligning schedules for a week-long trip to Europe isn’t always in the cards, especially as we get older and start to take on other work and family responsibilities. I think short weekend trips (maybe a cabin weekend in the fall or a beach weekend in the summer?) or staycations in your city can be just as meaningful and sometimes more affordable. Remember, it’s about the friendships not the destination.
13. Have Fun!
Overall, there really is nothing better than trips with friends! Whether a weekend trip or a trip across the world, keep things lighthearted, fun, and cherish spending time in a new city with your people! Try not to sweat the small stuff too much and appreciate the gift of being able to travel with your best friends.
Professional Photos: Victoria Metaxas