Updated: Mar 31
The majority of the trips that I have taken are with my friends. We've created a good system for planning and securing great vacations that turn into epic memories that fuels our passion to plan more trips. I think sometimes people get too hung up into details which can really derail a trip. Here is a short guide to how my friends and I create the most memorable trips with these planning techniques.
Of course this is where it all begins when trips are planned, someone has the idea of a particular that place would be good to visit. It is at this beginning stage that it is important to make sure that everyone's ideas feel valued and considered in the next steps of the planning process. Simply write down the destinations and create a system for choosing which destination will be next. If this becomes a frustrating task put it to bed and revisit it later. If you really want this trip to happen at some point someone will have to compromise, think of all the new things that you will get to do and the memories you will make. Going back and forth about whose idea should be chosen will kill the energy surrounding the trip and thus will eventually kill the whole idea of taking a trip together. Pick destinations from a hat if needed.
Here is my favorite part of traveling somewhere else, the planning. I love doing research and discovering new things and ideas to try, it makes the trip more adventurous for everyone. However, this step can also derail a trip. I highly recommend dividing up tasks/responsibilities during the planning. For instance, usually when I travel with friends I take on the responsibility of securing our hotel. This means I have to research multiple places and be prepared to share this information with my friends when we come back together with our findings. At this time one of my other friends is responsible for securing a rental car (if needed), another will generate a list of things to do (it is also important to remember that whoever is responsible for this task must also add expressed desire of things to do from others as well), and depending how many of us are going another friend will look up flights. What makes this step exciting and successful is the ownership that everyone has in planning a trip. It shows that everyones ideas and research is valued and that you trust each other to get things done.
Time is a major factor in travel in general, there are may aspects of time to consider: Time to take off from work, time to conduct research and meet with your friends, how much time do you want to spend traveling to your destination, how much time you want to spend visiting places/do activities while at your destination, etc. I hate to say it but for this to be successful you will probably need to delve pretty deep into various aspects of time related to your trip. I will say the earlier you plan the better! This directly affects costs which is another major dealbreaker when planning travel with others. I usually tend to plan a little under a year in advance. This allows me to watch the fluctuation in prices of flights, gives time for everyone to save money if needed, and if there are any changes we have time to adjust our trip accordingly.
Now this could very well end some friendships if it is not handled delicately. Please be upfront and honest with each other about the cost that will be incurred before, during and potentially after your trip. Before I secure anything I inform my friends of pricing and we determine if it's affordable for everyone. If there is fine print, I highlight that and share it with the group. After I secure things I screenshot receipts, summaries, and details to everyone. If anything changes between our time of booking and before we arrive I keep everyone updated. There are no secrets between us when we travel together everyone is informed about everything every step of the way.
Another thing to consider is to make sure that you are prepared to take care of yourself during the trip, meaning meals, activities, drinks, souvenirs, gas/Ubers, etc. It's also best that you are prepared for any unexpected expenses. Please be clear with your friends about your budget if you have one. My friends and I always check in to see what our budget plans are before the trip, sometimes to make sure that we are bringing enough money and others time to be aware/mindful that some activities may not be in someone's budget.
Yes! As simple as it seems, just because you are friends doesn't mean that you shouldn't communicate any ideas, concerns, suggestions etc. Stay in steady communication with each other to ensure that you are all on the same page. Also, don't be afraid to voice concerns or suggestions about the trip before hand or during. Be respectful and keep in mind that the goal is to find a solution to your concern or suggestion. My friends are my sisters and we don't miss a beat on talking to each other about aspects of our trip before, during and after. If done respectfully this should only bring clarity to issues and strengthen your friendship.
The ultimate goal is to have the time of your life and make some amazing memories! Don't be afraid to try new activities, foods, meet new people, explore things that may not be on your itinerary (keeping safety in mind) and embrace the feeling of being free. That's how I feel when I travel, free. Free from drama, stress and the day to day routines that we create.
This guide isn't necessarily just for a girls trips but any trip that you may plan with others. Just enjoy life wherever you go with the people you've chosen to create lasting memories with.
Below are pictures from some of the few places (Key West, Mexico, Bahamas, California, Florida) that I have traveled with friends...the list is growing as you read: