It doesn’t get much more exciting than traveling and exploring the wonders of the world with your friends. However, many people never get to experience this because of a tight budget. While traveling is, in a way, a luxury not everyone can afford, contrary to popular belief, it does not have to bank-breaking, especially when you have companions with whom you can split the bills.
A bit of planning, flexibility, and good communication is all you really need for a fun experience. To help you create lifelong memories with your buddies, here are 5 tips for traveling with friends on a budget.
1. Devise a Plan
Some love it, some dread it, yet thorough planning is an imperative aspect of any budget-friendly adventure. Without it, you will undoubtedly run into many obstacles and disagreements that could have otherwise easily been avoided. Therefore, as soon as wanderlust kicks in, gather your friends and discuss every detail of your trip as a group. There are many useful apps that can significantly alleviate this task if you and your companions aren’t big fans of planning.
Discuss the Budget
Most people like being thrifty, but it's essential to remember that not everyone has the same understanding of affordability. While you might consider flying economy cheap, some might not be able to afford a plane ticket at all. Therefore, to avoid needless misunderstandings, make sure to set a budget straight away. Discuss everyone's financial abilities and try not to make anyone feel bad or left out. Remember, traveling with friends on a budget should be all about having fun, not indulging in luxuries.
Pick a Destination
Once you know your budget, you can move on to the exciting part of planning - choosing a destination. There are plenty of places that attract students and travel enthusiasts, but if you cannot agree on one, consider going on a road trip or spending a couple of days in a few different places. This way, everyone's wishes will be fulfilled, and an adventure of a lifetime will be guaranteed.
Communication is vital whenever more than one person is involved. It is even more important when traveling with friends on a budget. So, try to create an atmosphere where everyone is comfortable expressing their opinions and worries. If you work on resolving issues as a group, you will ensure everyone has a good time.
2. Avoid the Peak Season
The holiday season is ideal for traveling - if you want to severely damage your wallet, that is. However, if affordability is your goal, group travel will be much more budget-friendly if you choose an out-of-season date for your trip. Many people believe that avoiding the peak season means less fun and fewer options, but this is far from true in many places. You will likely get to enjoy everything you would if you were to travel during the hot months, only at much lower prices.
Additionally, you and your friends might even enjoy your trip more since there will be fewer tourists crowding popular attractions, restaurants, and other sights. Therefore, if you want to take fabulous Instagram pictures in Paris or visit the museums in Rome, consider a more low-key date for your group trip.
3. Book Everything In Advance
When it comes to traveling, you will almost always manage to save a few bucks if you book things in advance. You can make reservations for many things up to a year ahead of your trip! Therefore, if you can, always try to book your plane tickets, accommodation, and even museum and gallery tickets well in advance. This is especially important for your return flights since you don't want to end up at the airport without any money because you splurged on souvenirs. And since you will be traveling with friends, you might even get a few group discounts which will further boost your savings.
4. Don't Overpack
The size of your luggage can significantly increase your travel expenses, especially when traveling with friends. Even if you manage to get a good deal and not waste all your money on airline baggage fees, you still have to think about getting to your accommodation, traveling within and between cities, etc. So, not only will your trip be more affordable if you pack lightly, but you and your friends will be more comfortable and flexible, as well.
The good news is, packing lightly (and smartly) is much easier when you are not traveling alone. This is another situation where you and your friends will have to do a bit of planning. For instance, one person can bring a hairdryer, while someone else can be in charge of toiletries (at least those you can share). When it comes to clothes and personal items, make sure everyone has options for unpredictable weather, but try not to pack anything unnecessary.
5. Be Flexible
Flexibility is crucial if you want to enjoy the beauty of our planet with your friends without breaking the bank. Surely, that lavish all-inclusive vacation you desperately crave would be dreamy, but you likely wouldn't be able to enjoy the company of your friends since not everyone can or wants to pay for something like that. When it comes to group travel, prepare yourself for a lot of compromising, and don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. After all, that is where the fun starts. You might need to cook a few meals or stay in a hostel, but what matters is that you will be doing it with your buddies. And you can't really put a price on those kinds of experiences.
Traveling with friends on a budget might seem daunting at first, but all it really takes is some smart planning, a bit of know-how (that you now have), and an adventurous spirit. If you and your travel companions communicate well and respect each other's wishes, needs, and abilities, you will surely start planning your next trip even before you come home from this one.