Summer is right around the corner. This means vacation may be on your mind.
For many, a vacation entails traveling with a group, perhaps family or friends. As you may already know, group travel can be tricky, especially when people have their own preferences and budgets. At the same time, a successful group vacation can be filled with fun memories and experiences.
If you’re ready to plan a getaway with friends, here are five tips to help you save money, create a budget for everyone, and make your summer vacation a positive experience.
1. Consider Your Travel and Destination Options
The first step when planning a group trip involves choosing where you want to go and how you’ll get there.
So, include everyone in a brainstorming session to gather opinions and vote on a destination. Consider factors like the cost of accommodations in the area and the types of tourist attractions you’d all like to visit. You’ll also want to consider how you’ll get there. Will you fly, take a train or bus, or perhaps drive?
2. Create a Budget that Works for Everyone
Once you’ve narrowed down where you’ll go and how you’ll get there, start to develop a budget that works for everyone.
Decide which expenses will need to be split among the group, along with how much you can individually afford to pay. For example, if you plan to drive, you may want to include an estimate of how much the fuel will cost, along with the price of a rental car.
If you’re flying, everyone can cover the price of their own plane ticket, but maybe you can search for airline deals so the airfare doesn’t exceed a certain amount.
Don’t forget to include budget categories for meals and lodging. Also, take into account hidden expenses like transportation during the trip and foreign transaction fees. What’s that? If you’re going to a different country, you may be hit with foreign transaction fees when you use your debit or credit card to make purchases.
Pro tip: You can avoid foreign transaction fees with a Chime bank account. Chime doesn’t charge any fees. This means you’ll have more vacay spending money.
3. Start Saving in Advance
Once you have a good idea of how much the trip will cost, you can start saving up for it. Figure out how far away your trip is and then break up the amount you need so you can make bi-weekly or monthly transfers to a specific savings account.
For example, if you’re taking a group trip in four months and need $1,500, you can plan to save $400 a month or $200 each paycheck if you get paid bi-weekly. You can even automate your savings so that the money is out of sight, out of mind. When it comes time for your vacation, the money will be ready and waiting for you.
Keep in mind that unexpected costs can come up during your trip, so it may be wise to save a little extra if you can.
4. Look for Fun and Affordable Things to Do
You don’t have to plan your group trip out by the hour, but it can be helpful to gather a list of activities and attractions to enjoy while you’re away.
You can also check to see if there are any deals available for specific activities. For instance, maybe you can catch a free museum or discounted boat ride on a certain day of the week. Or, perhaps a local restaurant has good ratings and provides bigger portions for less money. Some cities even have tourist packages where you can bundle a few popular activities together for one price.
Make sure you let everyone know about these options ahead of time so no one feels stretched financially during the trip.
5. Split Costs and Responsibilities
The great thing about traveling with a group is that you can split costs and responsibilities. Definitely take advantage of this when planning your group getaway.
For example, you can split Uber rides through the app, split up the cost of groceries, and use group discounts or Groupons for activities and outings. Depending on the size of your group, you may be able to spend less by renting a villa for the week instead of separate hotel rooms. You can also transfer money to pay each other easily with the Pay Friends payment app feature connected to your Chime Spending Account.
For supplies, be sure to ask around to see if anyone in the group has the item before you purchase it. For example, someone can bring a cooler if you’re planning a road trip or camping getaway, whereas you can all bring some snacks to share.
Stretch Your Dollar While Enjoying a Group Getaway
Budgeting for travel doesn’t mean you have to penny-pinch or forego having memorable experiences with your besties.
It all comes down to researching your trip ahead of time and working together to ensure that everyone is comfortable with the costs. From there, you can start saving early, take advantage of group deals, and split costs. Are you ready to plan your summer vacation?