how to plan a trip with friends the easy way

Girls trip, guys trip, couples trips, group trips, family vacation….Travel is always better when you experience it with the ones you love and the whole purpose of a trip is to have a great time!

BUT planning travel with others can be challenging. It takes a little effort to make sure everyone’s wants and needs are being met but it can be done, everyone’s sanity still intact!

Successfully plan a trip with friends by following the steps listed in this article

Planning a fun getaway with friends?

Are you wanting to plan a road trip with friends? Or maybe meet up half way around the world? No matter what kind of trip you have in mind a little planning goes a long way to ensure that your trip is a great trip.

The easy steps in this article will help you seamlessly plan group travel while simultaneously allowing everyone to feel involved in the planning process!

But before we start the “how to plan a trip with friends” planning process let’s discuss the one thing that will give you the best chance at a successfully planned and successfully taken trip.

Respect the opinions of all travel partners

The #1 important thing should keep in mind when organizing a group trip and planning group travel is that everyone’s opinion matters. All participants get a vote on all decisions.

Here’s how to get started with group trip planning

Keeping all participants in the travel planning loop can be tricky.

Long email chains? you could send off dozen’s (100’s?) of emails with “reply to all” back and forth (did you forget to reply to all? Did someone get left out of the loop?)

Group calls? Sure as long as everyone can be available at the same time (who’s taking notes?)

I like to use group chat (not group texts, those are the WORST) but the problem with group chats is they get very long and unorganized. 

That’s where my #1 trip planning resource for planning and organizing group travel: Social Media is a great way to plan a trip with a group of friends and can save you a lot of time and work. It works for any size travel group, a larger group, smaller groups,

Wondering how to plan a trip with friends the easy way? Facebook groups are the absolute best tool and a good starting point in the planning process! It works the same for a large group or just two of you! long weekends or epic trips across the sea!

Who’s the leader?

First thing: you will want to create a private group for your trip and share with everyone.

Hopefully you have a travel planner in the group. You need 1 person to step up and take charge at the very least to create the group and start a few basic conversation posts.

If you don’t have anyone who is willing to start the process you might want to consider booking an all-inclusive somewhere and just show up with your swimsuit, sunblock and sunny disposition! Not a terrible proposition!

The #1 best way to plan travel with friends: Facebook groups

Organizing group travel with Facebook groups is a snap but what if you don’t use Facebook? You can still use these tips just start a google doc instead. See #8 in the table of contents?

One of my #1 top resource for nearly seamless planning of travel with friends is Facebook groups.

Why use Facebook groups when planning a group trip?

  • Everyone has their own travel style. You can use Facebook groups to find the middle ground.
  • You can all communicate about your trip in one place.
  • It’s organized and I like organization! 
  • Group members can participate on their terms and when their schedule allows.
  • It’s SEARCHABLE! What I love most is the searchable feature. “Let’s see…we discussed golf cart rental weeks ago in the group but I can’t quite recall the details.” Search for it! (magnifying glass at the top of the page)

How to create a Facebook group

Creating a Facebook group is super simple. If you don’t know how you can follow these steps:

Creating a Facebook group on a desktop/laptop computer. First step: on the far left in the scroll down menu select “groups.” On the left again towards the top is a blue bar that says “+create new group.”  Now simply start filling in the blanks, easy! 

Creating a Facebook group on a phone 

Depending which application you are using to view facebook, 

  • One application works this way: you’ll see the group symbol at the top (a circle with people inside it.) When you select it you’ll see a bar at the top “+create group.”  
  • Another application works this way: Select the 3 menu bar lines at the top, go to groups, then the dark circle with the plus sign at the top of the page. Not working? try hitting the back button.

Getting Started: How to use Facebook groups to plan travel with friends

Now that  you have created a group and all of your travel companions have accepted their invitation you want to start a discussion to answer these questions:

what happens when opinions differ?

Some things to consider when planning a trip with friends are differing opinions. Differing opinions are are a normal part of planning a trip with friends, even with your closest friends.

Here are some easy ways to ensure that everyone gets a vote when organizing group travel. 

  • Have everyone give their top 3-5 choices and see what matches up. 
  • Another option is to let participants take turns making choices.

Travel Budget

The first thing you probably want to do is decide on a travel budget. It may make a difference on where you will go and set the tone for the whole trip. I have some ideas throughout this article on how to address differences on this subject so keep reading but if you need to start a post to see how much money everyone wants to spend.

Where do you want to go?

Your first order is to pick your spot. Create a post asking where everyone would like to go. 

Epic road trip or travel internationally? New places or something familiar? Popular destination or something off the beaten path? Beach babes or Snow bunnies? refreshing mountains or a desert scape? Create a post! 

Again, have everyone pick their top 3-5 choices and see what matches up!

travel dates?

Now that you know where you want to go you will want to pick a date.

Certain destinations are best visited at certain times of the year. Beach vacation? avoid hurricane season. Despise crowds? shoulder season! like the mountains but not snow? steer clear of cold months.

You’ll be dealing with work and/or school schedules, prior commitments and some people in your group may need time to save. 

How will you get there?

Whether you are traveling together or meeting at your destination, go ahead and start a post about transportation to your destination. This way everyone is on the same page and knows when others are arriving and departing etc.

Looking to score a cheap flight?

Google flights is a great place to shop for the best deals on airfare. They show results for most airlines. You can even track flights and get notifications of fare changes so you can get great deals on your airfare!

Transportation

You will likely need some form of transportation when you arrive whether it’s airport shuttle, public transportation, rental car etc. Maybe you’re taking a road trip and need to discuss who’s driving and what is expected from passengers as far as contributing to fuel/toll expenses. Once you all agree on your mode of transportation someone will want to, look up transit schedules, information on purchasing train tickets, researching car rentals etc.

Where will you stay?

Will you share hotel rooms? Rent multi bedroom accommodations? Gather information on accommodations at your destination, start a post and start sharing links. I like to start a post “accommodations” and share the options in the comments to keep things neat and organized. I like Booking.com and VRBO for searching out accommodation options.

What if you don’t agree on accommodations? 

3 star hotel or 5 star hotel? Hostel or vacation rental? This is one area where budgets may not agree.

If you can’t come to a consensus on a price range you could consider staying in different accommodations and meeting up for meals and activities. It just depends on how much time you want to spend together but having your own space isn’t always a bad thing. 

Choosing activities

One of the best one stop shops for planning activities is tripadvisor. I simply google “ best things to do in _____ ” and then make my way down the list. Now you can create a post with activity options and again let people choose their top 3-5.

Where will you eat?

Dining tastes run the price range gamut. I prefer middle of the road restaurants. I’ve traveled with people who are into Michelin type fine dining. 

This is where the compromise comes in. You can either take a vote, majority wins OR I like to take turns choosing so that everyone gets to eat somewhere that they like.

I do my restaurant research the same way I do my activity research “best places to eat in _____.”

More planning may be in order

I find beach vacations require a lot less planning than my whirlwind European vacations do. If yours is a little more complicated, just keep creating those facebook posts until you have it all hashed out. Things you may want to work out:

  • Opening times/days/prices. It’s never fun to show up at Versailles or Windsor Castle just to find out they are closed! Or miss the last sailing for that sunset catamaran excursion you were looking forward to.
  • Map out routes and points of interest on your trip. I like to get an idea of my surroundings and know where things are in relation to one another.

“travel is better when you experience it with the ones you love”

Other useful features of Facebook groups

You can even crate a poll for your group!

create a poll for your facebook group when planning trips with friends

It’s simple to do. Here’s how! Create a post and click the 3 dots…

as you can see you have some really useful options here. In addition to creating a poll you can also create an event, add a file, use write columns (that’s new and ridiculously useful! can’t wait to use that one!) create a room, live video, and host a question and answer!

What if you don’t use Facebook?

If not everyone in your group is on Facebook there is another good way to make your travel plans.  I use Google Docs to organize my travels. Just start a Google Doc and share it with everyone in your group. You can set it to allow all participants to edit the document. If you’re not familiar with Google Docs you can read about it here and even create an account.

How do you deal with trip expenses?

How do you approach trip expenses when traveling with friends, family, and groups? This can be a tricky subject.

Some ways to deal with trip expenses are:

  • Everyone pays their own way unless discussed beforehand. 
  • Share the booking responsibilities: example: You can book the first 4 nights, let them book the last 4. Keep a running total of who booked what and how much they spent. It’s pretty easy to keep things square this way. You can make a post for keeping track of expenses too!
  • Our airbnb booking allowed us to split the cost between 3 people guests at our Irish Castle Rental. 
  • Pay for your own tickets, fees etc. whenever possible. That’s less you have to settle up on later.

Avoid taking on the entire expense of the trip unless you can accept getting stuck with the entire bill. I always recommend purchasing “cancel for any reason travel insurance.” I like to shop at Travelinsurance.com where “cancel for any reason” is one of the search parameters.

Also check with your credit card. Many of them include travel protection.

I have had a friend cancel, I went anyway. It was my first solo travel experience and it was a huge success! Yes, it would have been nice to have someone to share transportation and accommodation costs with but I really wanted to go, so I did!

plan a trip with friends the easy way advice on planning group travel with friends or family

How to make sure to snag an invite to the next big trip:

The Golden Rule, treat others the way you want to be treated. It’s that simple. 

  • Do not: be a jerk 
  • Do: Be kind and courteous. 

You may find yourself feeling annoyed, anxious or stressed out. Put on your grownup pants and stay respectful or else they may not be willing to travel with you again any time soon, or ever!

Ways to avoid getting “cranky”

Avoid getting cranky and ensure good travel experiences it’s a good idea to:

  • We all need alone time. Schedule some down time where everyone has a chance to recover, relax and rejuvenate
  • Naps are great! 
  • Traveling can get hectic at times. Try to stick to meal times or find some delectable treat to enjoy (you’re on vacation!)  No one is on their best behavior when they’re overly hungry.

You won’t always get your way

One of the top things to consider when planning a trip for groups: You won’t always get your way.

Get everyone involved in the planning, everyone should be willing to compromise or be willing to go off on their own on occasion (NOT the end of the world!)

what if your not having a good time?

The reality is things may not go the way you had hoped. People can act badly and the stresses involved in travel can turn your lovely bff into a bratty toddler even when their with their best friends. Don’t let your travel partner/partners steam roll you.

If you are feeling disrespected or otherwise mistreated and are at your breaking point, don’t hesitate to speak up and if the behavior persists by all means don’t be afraid to go your own way for a time and enjoy yourself!

plan a trip with friends the easy way advice on planning group travel with friends or family

Group trip planning: in conclusion

So now you and your travel friends have some tools to help you make a trip with friends a big success!

It’s all about quality time. You can plan a road trip with friends or a getaway half way around the world! simply plan a trip with friends using Facebook groups, one of the best tools for organizing group travel! You may even find yourself using it to plan a big family vacation / family reunions and anything else your imagination dreams up!

Group trip, girls trip, guys trip, family trip or couples trip round up your favorite travel friends and start planning your best trip yet!

This post is dedicated to my sister-in-law who introduced me to using Facebook groups to plan travel and family events. Thank you Angie Marie Kunze!

Want more travel planning tips?

Good news! You don’t have to hire a travel agent to plan the perfect trip. Here are some of my best travel planning articles:

Wanting to plan travel to your dream destination but don’t speak the language? No problem! Learn how to overcome that language barrier so you can start planning that trip!

Dreaming of world travel but don’t speak the language? A guide to overcoming the travel language barrier

Wanting to know more about Google Translate? Here’s my step-by-step guide:

Google Translate explained: a step-by-step guide to using Google Translate

Does navigating public transportation make you nervous? I’ve got you covered in this handy guide:

A beginners guide to easily navigating public transportation when traveling

Wanting to plan your dream trip?

How to plan your dream trip in 6 simple steps

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30 Comments

  1. #1 way to snag the next trip..”Dont be a Jerk” lol Love it!! Great advice on all of this. I just went on a 4 day trip to PR with a group and sometimes felt burnt out. We also used an app called Splitwise to figure out expenses. But next time, Im just getting my own airbnb and eating a meal when Im hungry. Its hard to travel with a group but luckily no one was a jerk 🙂

    1. I’m all for having your own space when traveling with friends or in groups! I’ve heard of Splitwise before but not used it when traveling with friends yet. I’m going to give it another look. Thanks!

    2. I agreed that creating an FB group will help a lot. Also, it’s a good idea when everyone listed their top 3 destinations or activities. That way when things gone a bit wrong, nobody can pinpoint one another.

  2. This is all really great advice! Never thought of using Facebook groups for planning trips with friends, but it seems like a smart way to do it. Also, “don’t be a jerk”…excellent advice 🙂

    1. Someone tipped me off to using Facebook groups to plan trips with friends and group travel/events several trips ago and I find it to be incredibly useful! Now whenever a trip materializes the first thing I do is create a Facebook group!

        1. There have been times when I’ve been traveling with people that I thought I probably would not do a repeat. For me it really is all about respecting the people that you are traveling with. If you are vigilant about being respectful when traveling with other people you have a great chance of success!

  3. Oh, I love the idea of organizing a trip in a Facebook group! How did I never think of that? We always use a google doc. which is also a great way to organize, but now I am thinking adding google docs to a Facebook group would be a perfect combination if the trip involves more than 2 people.

    1. I learned it like I learn a lot of things in life, from someone younger! Especially when it comes to technology younger people can teach us a lot. 🙂 I also find this helpful for organizing a trip for two because it’s easy to share photos and articles and all kinds of things! I just planned a trip to Isla Mujeres Mexico with a friend and the Facebook group worked great!

  4. Wow this is such a genius post. Why have I never thought about using a facebook group??? My last group trip was planned over chat and everyone kept forgetting what we agreed upon, some people didn’t even pay attention (and then were confused on the itinerary the entire trip), and chats get wayyy too cluttered with off-topic conversations! Definitely using this method for my upcoming trip – which is a good thing because it’ll be with a bigger group and a few folks I’ve never met in person before!

    1. That sounds exactly right! all of it 🙂 I hope the Facebook group works for you. One things I really like about it when I’m planning a trip with friends is I can share pretty photos. I was planning France with my kids and the photos really brought things to life for them.

  5. Those are very useful tips to plan a trip with family and friends. Both Facebook groups and WhatsApp are great ways to engage in a conversation while planning a trip. Of course it’s important to share responsibilities and someone to lead and coordinate the entire trip.Transportation, stay and places to eat is most important.Also I liked the point avoid ways to get cranky and ability to compromise and avoid things taking worse turn.

    1. I love WhatsApp! We don’t have cell service when traveling internationally so use WhatsApp to stay in touch when we have access to wifi. I had not thought of using it to plan travel with friends or plan travel with groups. Thanks for the tip!

    1. Thanks Leah! yes trips with friends and family are the best! I love this process because it works with other group planning such as family reunions and could even be used for parties and other events where there are lots of “cooks in the kitchen.” -We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

    1. Yes! hopefully one person is willing to step up to the plate when planning travel with friends but those “little to no planning” beach vacations are great too! I enjoy travel planning but now and then it is nice to do minimal planning, show up and relax!

  6. Trips with friends can be such a fun. A WhatsApp group and/ or facebook definitely help with the organization. I usually also use skype or zoom in the final stages of planning.

    1. We use WhatsApp to communicate when we travel and don’t have cell service but I have not used WhatsApp groups to plan a trip with friends! I may need to check it out. Thank you for sharing!

  7. It’s a great post for people who plan their trips with friends. I used to travel with friends, and my favorite type of trip was city breaks. However, I’m not a fan of group travel. More than six people in a group is a crowd for me: too many individuals and compromises. For sure, your tips are helpful. It’s essential to decide who’s the leader. For sure using Facebook groups are a great idea to create a fun trip.

    1. I am quickly becoming a fan of solo travel 🙂 but there is also something to be said for having a travel partner when said partners are on their best behavior 😉 I have done enough trip planning with friends and family that I feel like I have it down pat but I’ve only done one overseas solo trip so far so I have something to learn still. When the times comes, I’ll find a good blog!

  8. I would never have thought of using a Facebook group as a way of organising anything! Traveling with friends is fun but it can also be very stressful. Speaking about budget is number one for me.

    1. Yes indeed it can be stressful! That’s one reason I love to use facebook groups for planning a trip with friends, family and groups. It takes a little of the work and stress out of the situation.

  9. Traveling with friends is so fun! We have never used a Facebook group but usually messanger chat instead. I have loved all our trips so far to near and far.

  10. This is so helpful. I have tended to use messenger chats but they get painful with all the notifications. I love the fact that you can vote in the groups. It makes it so much easier. Wish I had thought of this sooner, I use them for everything else.

    1. Facebook has so many uses in addition to seamlessly planning travel with friends, and I love messenger chat! My daughters and I stay in close and almost constant contact with each through group chat.

  11. Haha this is such a relatable post! We travel as a couple but we have similar lifestyles. However throw in other friends it gets complicated. Facebook groups have to be made, choices decided on, but all of it is worth in the end with a little bit more organization and planning. Your tips have us smiling and thinking of experiences planning with friends. Sometimes tough but all went well!

    1. Such a compliment! If I can make someone smile then it’s a job well done. “How to Plan Travel with Friends the easy way” was a labor of love for me. I really do love planning travel but traveling with other humans presents challenges. Challenges that are easy to overcome especially with the technology that we enjoy today. Anyway, I enjoyed writing it so my sense of humor got involved. Happy travels to you! -Angie Kunze, We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

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