Planning a group holiday is fun, exciting... and occasionally stressful. We round up the best ways to plan the ultimate - drama free - trip with friends.
There are many things that make the perfect trip away with your crew: nights out to remember, exploring new places and making sunshine filled memories to last a lifetime. Of course, hand-in-hand with these merry japes are the possible problems that come with organising the whole thing. Bickering about price, arguing over the best rooms and squabbling about bar tabs - we've all been there. Make sure your trip's harmonious with our run down of how to keep everyone happy. BFF's for life, right?
1. Budget for all Budgets
One of you is planning a two week blow out in Bali; the other has their eye on a caravan in Cleethorpes. When you're trying to plan a getaway with your gang, budget is frequently cited as one of the biggest issues. The fairest option is to find out what everyone's budget is and plan a trip that the person with the least budget can still afford; if you're determined to go with your friends then you'll need to be willing to compromise on cost. Consider looking at places that are slightly outside of main towns (cabs are cheaper when there's lots of you) and remember that booking accommodation like villas or apartments is usually more cost-effective than hotel rooms. Many hostels also let you book out the whole place if you contact them directly.
Talk openly about everyone's budget before you book and remember that if you start planning in advance, costs will be cheaper (this also gives people time to save spending money or pay in installments). If you're planning on getting travel insurance it's worth buying as a group to save money - Coverwise lets you insure up to nine people on a single trip.
2. Take Roles
One of you is the undisputed king of barbecues, the other likes playing DJ. Whatever your strengths, playing up to them will benefit the whole gang. If you're sharing an apartment or a villa, this is even more important. Even though you're on holiday, chances are there'll still be washing up to do (unless you want to drink local plonk out of mugs all week) or food to buy for that lovely poolside dinner you're planning. The solution? Divide and conquer. Spread tasks so that everyone offers to do one thing - be that cooking up a storm or booking a tour. And if you really suck at even the most basic of domestic chores then you're probably not responsible enough to go on holiday in the first place (only joking, but you can at least mix up some cocktails for everyone right?!).
3. Make a Kitty
This one goes hand in hand with budget-planning. If you're planning on cooking together, organising group activities or going on a booze run to the local supermarche then a shared pot of dosh (or 'kitty' as your Grandma would probably say) is the best option. Begin with a smallish amount (around the equivalent of £20 in local currency) and top it up as you go. It's much easier than all scrabbling around at tills and trying to split receipts - especially when your foreign language skills leave a lot to be desired. This is also a good solution if you're planning on hiring a car or two for the day (check out EasyCar for great deals). Anything left at the end can be shared between everyone (or put towards the final night out).
4. Tick Off Everyone's Travel To-Do List
Some of you plan to be off hiking at 6 a.m. daily, while others think the perfect holiday involves rolling from bed, to beach, to bar. In an ideal world, you'd be able to do it all. While forcing people to bungee jump with a hangover is definitely off limits, there's no harm in sitting down and suggesting things you'd all like to do and see on your trip. Chances are, most of you will probably have similar interests (you are friends after all), so a surfing lesson or renting a boat for the afternoon might go down well with everyone. Try looking at Lonely Planet for top activities and things to do in your destination - it also makes days more varied than sitting around drinking tequila slammers all day. And if all else fails...
5. Do Your Own Thing
You love your friends and ultimately, this holiday is all about having fun together. But if you feel like exploring somewhere solo or want to do something that no one else is keen on, then we think it's pretty important to do it anyway. Go for a walk, visit a gallery or just sit and read your book in solitude - your mates will understand. This is especially true if you're planning a long trip away - even the most sociable of butterflies needs some space. You'll return fresh-faced and ready to embark on that enthusiastic group game of giant jenga. Sounds like a win-win to us.