You’ve just booked a dream vacation with some of your closest friends. You've found the perfect Airbnb, landed on a flight and found a few places to add to your "must see" list. Then you get that feeling in your gut. Heavy and uncomfortable, you have a memory of the last time you all had to split the bill and how awkward it was. Here, I lay out some ways for you to prep for trips with friends to ensure that awkwardness around money is handled beforehand so when you get on your trip, you can focus on being present.
Get on the Same Page
Make sure that your version of vacation somewhat aligns with your friends. If their version of a vacation is hiking and exploring and hanging out from dawn till dusk and your version is holding as still as possible, probably not a good idea to travel together.
Once you're on the same page about what vacation means and what this particular trip means you should also check in with what their expectations are when it comes to food and lodging. Some people are fine camping and hanging out in hostels, where others want 5-star accommodations. Make sure you guys are on the same page when it comes to the style of vacation. If you’re on the same page, you're going to then go ahead and book.
Talk about the budget!
Who is going to pay for what? Is one person going to put everything on their card and ask for other group members to pay them back? Is it going to be it all evens out in the wash kind of situation? Does one person get drinks and another gets an activity and you just figure it all evens out? Or is it the type of trip where you tally up every single thing and make sure that every person has paid? Maybe everyone pays their own way for everything. Whatever you do make sure you talk it out before you get there.
Talk about food beforehand. Especially when it comes to a large group especially if you're traveling abroad it is not common to split up the tab. Here in the states, most restaurants won’t let you split the tab if there are 6 or 8 people at a table. Again, a couple of easy options are to alternate who pays for what meal or each person pays their share of the bill but make sure you discuss it beforehand. I find it to be really helpful to use apps that tally up what yo
u’ve spent and what you owe so instead of sending money back and forth between each other, you can use an app like Splitwise. Splitwise tallies up everything that you spend money on and that your friends have spent money on. At the end, it says you owe each person this much money or X person owes you this much money. It’s so much easier than going back and forth!
When Communication Gets Messed Up
What happens when you think you and your friends are on the same page but you aren't? What if somebody is ordering champagne and lots of appetizers and they say, “oh we'll just split it evenly,” and you’ve only had water and a salad. If you are close with them, you can let them know that wasn’t you’re understanding. If you feel really uncomfortable, then afterward you can go to that person and let them know, “hey that's that was not my understanding. I'm happy to send you money for the food, drinks, and tip, but I’m not going to be splitting it evenly.” Totally fine.
Have some solo or couple time!
One other thing to think about when you're traveling with friends is you do not have to be with them the entire time! This is not camp where you have to be together all day. Maybe before you guys leave you all can agree that no matter what you're going to do dinner together or there's a particular activity that you all are on board to try. If you're traveling as a couple, save some time for just the two of you.
If you have more questions, set up an appointment with me!