Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ask Angie: Planning a trip with friend

How do you plan a vacation with a friend so you don't end up hating each other after?

This is a great question because I cannot tell you the number of times I have had friends come home from a trip and vow to never, ever travel with their latest travel mate again. So I have developed this check list of questions to help guide your discussions regarding your travel.

You have to know yourself and your expectations. What are you trying to get out of this trip? Days spent with an umbrella drink on the beach or hikes that last for hours and end in a muddy puddle? Waking up early each morning to double check your detailed itinerary or playing it by ear? BE HONEST! No one is as laid back as they think they are.

Think about your friend – How is she with logistics? Always late, annoyingly early? Good with directions? Never asks directions? Likes to have a plan or makes things up last minute? These traits will not change on vacation.

Getting it all out on the table. The most important to thing to remember when you have any conversations regarding planning the trip is that you have to be 100% honest and not just say what you think the other person wants to hear. You can be great friends that never ever travel together. It’s okay. The consequences of not being honest could ruin your trip and potentially your friendship. Once you both commit to being honest, here’s a couple questions to review together:

1. What type of vacation are you thinking about? Adventure? Beach? Ski? All-inclusive? Road trip Cruise?

2. How much do you want to spend for flights/hotels/cars?

3. How much do you want to spend daily? Fancy restaurants v. Street food?

4. How much time do you have to research and plan the trip?

5. Is it important to you that we do most of the activities together? Should the activities be planned in advance?

6. How will we make decisions on the trip ie. Where to go to dinner? (Careful here. The “I don’t care where we go gets really old really fast.)

7. What would make this vacation great?

8. Do you like having a detailed itinerary or going with the flow?

9. Is there anything you are concerned about regarding this vacation?

I recommend separately writing down the answers and then comparing. This ensures all the people involved really think about things, are honest about what each person wants, and one person doesn’t sway the whole group.

If you don’t think you need to have this conversation or you don’t want, I would say minimally you should assign a person to be in charge for each day so you don’t have to spend an hour and a half discussing where to go to dinner because everyone is saying, “I don’t care” and each person should identify one thing they really want to do during the course of the vacation.

Do you have any good trip stories? What tips do you have for planning a trip with friends?

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