We’ve written about how travelling alone can be an incredibly rewarding and empowering experience. But heading off on a solo adventure isn’t for everyone - for many, experiences are best when shared with loved ones. Whether planning a weekend break or a backpacking trip of a lifetime, travelling with friends is an unforgettable experience. Not much can beat the support, laughs, and memories to be made when discovering the world with your best mates.
Travelling with friends is an incredible experience, but comes with its own challenges.
As fun as a vacation with your best mates is likely to be, there are some very important considerations when travelling in a group - you don’t want the stresses of travel to break your friendship. To help, we’ve spoken to travel connoisseurs and used our expert knowledge to put together a guide, bursting with useful top tips and considerations, to ensure your trip is as easy and stress-free as possible.
Exploring the Dolomites on an adventure of a lifetime
Planning is SO exciting when you travel with your best mates. Perhaps one of the best parts of a trip is the planning stage, and it’s even more fun when you’re planning a trip with your friends. Start early, collecting ideas and sharing Pinterest inspiration. The planning stage is the perfect opportunity to confirm what everyone wants from the trip - thrills and action, history and culture, or peace and tranquillity? This will help you to start agreeing on a destination.
There's no such thing as too much planning
As well as the destination debate, a big part of travel is the actual travelling part. Talk to your group about transportation preferences - this is a great way to confirm that your travel styles align. Would everyone be happy catching a connecting flight to save some extra money, or would some of your group only travel non-stop? Would everyone be comfortable to fly overnight? Because catching a red-eye flight could seriously help to reduce flight price!
Katie and Nicola, travel influences and founders of Round the World Magazine, told us: “Traveling as part of a group is a great way to experience new things and get out of your comfort zone”. Their top tip for group travellers is to: “Create a WhatsApp/Messenger group. This is essential to discuss plans, meet up when the group separates to do their own thing. A WhatsApp group allows more freedom of speech for those wishing to avoid in person disagreements or a conflict of ideas".
Image Credit: Katie and Nicola
Jarryd Salem, from Australia's top adventure travel blog NOMADasaurus, told us: "My best piece of advice for travelling in a group is to assign people with certain responsibilities when it comes to airports, checking in to hotels and organising logistics. When a lot of people are trying to help or take charge of a situation, it can result in unnecessary stress or mistakes being made, when instead you should be focusing on your holiday. Pick one friend to figure out how to get to and from the airport. Another can choose the accommodation, while someone else can work on the local transportation options. This way every person only has to worry about one particular thing, allowing others to focus on their own piece of the puzzle."
Image Credit: Jarryd Salem
“Everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses, so cater to them!” - Jarryd
Having a group message is an absolute must, but it can be hard to stay on top of the finer details of your trip. Owner of the travel blog To & Fro Fam, Catherine, told us, “I frequently travel with groups of friends—11 of us spent 2 weeks in Peru last summer, and 8 of us went to Paris last fall”. Catherine finds that with group trips, “it can be hard to keep track of friends coming from different locations, arriving at different times and leaving on their own schedule. That's why when I travel with a group, I create an online spreadsheet for everyone to fill out with their logistical details. I make columns for arrival date and time, airline and flight number, and the same for their departure. Having all the important information in one place—rather than on a long, convoluted text or email thread—takes away some of the confusion of traveling in a group”.
Cathrine added, “having the details written down can help you know how many people to make a dinner reservation for the first night of your trip, for example, or find out if a friend's flight is delayed”.
Whether you are travelling with a few friends or a large group, one of the biggest challenges is figuring out and confirming exactly when you’ll the trip will be. It can be a real challenge to make a trip fit with different work or family demands, so this should be discussed early on in the planning stage.
If deciding when you travel isn't a problem for your group, consider flying during a shoulder season. This is the period between the high and low seasons of a vacation destination, when the cost of holiday destinations and flights can be significantly lower. If you’re travelling in a large group, the shoulder season could be the best opportunity to snatch up some great deals at popular resorts or holiday rentals!
For more inside information on when to book your trip, checkout our blog: Is there a cheapest day to buy flights?
Ralph Velasco is a tour leader for Photo Enrichment Adventures and over the last 14+ years has organized more than 100 international small group tours around the world. He thinks it’s a good idea to lay down some ground rules, so that everyone is on the same page. He told us: “One thing that I think is absolutely essential in a group is to be sure that everyone is considerate of each other, specifically with being on time! Many people are used to traveling alone and being in charge of their own time, but in a group, it's not that way.”
“One thing I do to add a bit of fun to all of this is that I make sure everyone agrees that if they're late, they buy drinks for the whole group. In all the time I've been doing this I've probably only had 10 people have to buy drinks." - Ralph
How your group budgets and pays bills is an important factor to consider. This encompases all aspects of your trip, from accommodation (hostel, rental, or hotel?), to excursions and day trips. The budget of everyone in the group will impact the type of holiday you have. When you book your flights and accommodation, will you split the bill at the time of booking, or will one person pay upfront and be reimbursed later? It will save a lot of hassle if you discuss payment during the planning stage.
Flying with your best mate? Alternative Airlines offers an easy Split Payment option, as a quick and easy way of dividing your airfare payment into two equal payments!
It can also be a good idea to arrange for the group to use a payment app - one of the most popular is Paypal. This will allow you to split up bills and keep track of your spending, all in real-time and on-the-go.
Did you know? It is easy to pay for flights using PayPal when you book through Alternative Airlines! Search flights to anywhere you want to go with your mates, then select ‘PayPal’ at check-out. This is the easiest way for your group to manage payments.
There’s nothing worse than to be in the middle of planning a break with your mates, for reality to dawn: that you might not actually have the funds to join it. But fear not, there are a number of financing options that can help.
Because your bff knows your perfect picture pose
Alternative Airlines is one of the only travel websites that offers a range of alternative flight payment plans to make it easier than ever to pay for flights. Whether you choose PayPal Credit, Klarna, Affirm, or one of our other flexible payment methods, there’s no reason why you can’t fly out to meet your friends! Find out more about all our finance options here.
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