Every year, my friends and I try our hardest to carve time out for a group trip. There are almost 20 of us (including the kids), and we’re spread across a few continents, so planning takes work, A LOT OF IT. But all the hard research, going back and forth, and even minor arguments make the trip worthwhile.

If you’ve got a group trip coming up, our tips on travelling with your besties will have you better equipped! Whether you’re planning a road trip, a beach getaway, or a city-hopping escapade, this simple guide will help you and your squad have the time of your lives.

1. Choose your squad wisely

1. Choose your squad wisely
Image by Quan Nguyen.

First things first – choose your travel group wisely. While your besties may be incredible during the day-to-day, they may not necessarily be your ride-or-die adventurers. If possible, ensure your group shares a similar travel style, pace, and budget. The last thing you want is a grumpy Gus on your hands when you’re all pumped up to explore!

2. Set a budget that works

Money talks, so let’s get the dollar drama out of the way early. Sit down with your friends and discuss budgets, who’s covering what, and how you plan to divvy up the expenses. Be clear about who’s paying for accommodations, activities, and food.

Nobody wants to be counting pennies when you’re living it up on vacation! Utilise the countless apps that help simplify splitting costs, like Splitwise and WISE, for easy funds transfer.

3. Do the planning together

When it comes to travelling in a group, planning together helps ensure that everyone has a say on where you’re planning to go and what should be added to the itinerary. Create a group chat, Pinterest board, or Google doc to share ideas, inspiration, and potential itineraries. Remember, it’s all about compromise – you may get your beach club, and your BFFs get their early-morning hike!

4. Itinerary vs. spontaneity

4. Itinerary vs. spontaneity
Image by Getty Images.

I’m all about itineraries, and I think that has a lot to do with my being a planner (read: controlling), so I love a filled-up Google Sheets, but not everyone is the same, and some spontaneity is needed too. Sometimes, the best memories are made when you throw the plan out the window and follow your wanderlust wherever it takes you. So, yes, make plans for that massage, but leave some room for an unplanned night out.

5. Divide and conquer

Not everyone in your group travels the same way and will have the same interests. So, it’s time to divide and conquer! If you are travelling in a big group, like I did, split into smaller groups when necessary. Some may want to hit the spa, while others will want to shop at the local markets, or do something outdoorsy. This way, everyone gets to do what they love.

6. Pack smart, pack light

There have been many times when I’ve found myself unnecessarily overpacking, and over time, I’ve learned to pack lighter and smarter. So, channel your inner Marie Kondo and declutter your luggage––believe me, you don’t need that many pairs of shoes. Coordinate with your friends to avoid bringing the same things like hairdryers and straighteners––your Airbnb can only handle so many gadgets! Instead, share to reduce your luggage’s weight.

7. Stay connected (literally)

With living in a digital age, staying connected is imperative, especially when travelling to a foreign country in a big group. Create a WhatsApp group for easier communication, share your locations; and it’s always best to get a travel SIM card.

8. Cherish the moments

8. Cherish the moments
Image by Natalia Blauth.

One of the most important tips of all is to cherish the moments you have with your closest friends. Travelling together can be a truly bonding experience and allows you to get to know each other better than ever. Laugh together, explore new places, and create stories that will last a lifetime.

9. Capture the memories

Don’t forget to live in the moment, but also capture the memories to look back on! Group travel is all about making memories together, so take lots of photos and videos. You’ll thank yourself when you’re reminiscing about your fun adventures together, wanting to make a photo book to commemorate the good times.

Keep in mind not everything will go according to plan. These days, flights can get delayed, it may start pouring on the day you decide to hit the beach, and sometimes, the local cuisine might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Whatever it is, try to embrace the differences, go with the flow, and you’ll find that it’s the unplanned things that make for a memorable trip.