6 Simple Steps To Plan Your Next Friendcation
By Megan MacNee
Whether it’s a girls trip to Vegas, a joint-family camping trip or a weekend up in Tahoe it can be a blast to travel with a group of your closest friends. Friendcations can create some of your best memories, bring you closer and tend to involve a lot of laughter and fun. If you’ve taken a friendcation you know what I mean, but if you haven’t it’s something you need to add to your list.
Whether you’re traveling near or far, for a week or just a night, bringing a group of friends together is well worth it. But to be honest, these trips tend to be a lot of work.
After a handful of years of annual trips, and a few Vegas adventures thrown in, I’ve learned some tips for having a successful friendcation. If you’re planning a friendcation, check off these steps to help your trip go smoothly:
1) Set a date and choose your location
One of the hardest things about planning a trip with friends is getting a set of dates that works for everyone. The best way to make this work is plan ahead and stick to it. Six months, or more, before your trip black the dates out on your calendar. While this might not guarantee everyone can attend it is the best way to get as many participants as you can. Even if you don’t know where you’re going yet, save the dates.
When picking a location get an idea for what the group wants to do, is it relax by the water with some drinks, is it hiking the outdoors, or is it witnessing a sporting event. Whatever it is make sure to gage the group and the general vibe they are going for. Helping you determine the overall destination and style of trip you want to take; whether you’re camping, going all-inclusive or somewhere in between.
2) Reserve your accommodations
Once you’ve got a date and location the first thing to get checked off your list is where you are staying. If you’re picking a popular time to travel or looking for an accommodation to fit a large group make sure to get it reserved way ahead of time. Getting a cabin in Tahoe for four instead of fourteen, or on a random weekend instead of New Years Eve, can determine how early you need to book.
While you want buy-in for others attending, put together a list of deal breakers, like having a kitchen or a hotel with a pool, but then put one person in charge to make the decision. Having too many hands on this decision will lead to never picking a place.
If you’re looking for hotels check out the deal sites like Travel Zoo or Priceline Express Deals. Take a look at vacation rentals; AirBNB is getting popular but make sure to visit the older sites like VRBO or Home Away. These sites often have lower fees, sometimes even on the same properties.
3) Make a plan for food
Whether you’re staying in a rental with a kitchen and cooking all your meals or staying at a hotel and just need snack on hand, you’ll save money and time by planning your meals.
A great way to eat well all weekend is by having a few people volunteer to cook their best meal. This way no one’s cooking all the time and you get to try a little bit of everyone. If you aren’t cooking then you can pick up a clean up shift or two.
If you’re staying at a hotel and planning on eating out most of the time grab snacks to keep you happy in between meals, and maybe even breakfast options like bagels and cereal, or sandwich stuff for a lunch. This helps when different people are hungry at different times and can save some money.
4) Research activities
Even when you have the best place to stay, if you keep too many of your friends in a room or rental for too long you’ll get cabin fever. I’m a fan of reading away a weekend on trips like these but you want to do some research on activities before you take off.
Who is joining your party will determine whether you check out places to shop, wine taste, hike trails or guided tours to take. You might not even use any of them but it’s worth having options for folks, or even just yourself, to get out of the house.
5) Shopping and packing
Since you’ve got your meals planned and potential activities worked out you can now put together your packing and shopping lists.
If you’re cooking meals have the chefs send you ingredients lists, have your snacks and general supplies, put them all on one list and go on a Costco run. Having one person get everything makes breaking down the costs really easy.
If you’re planning on getting in some hiking or any activity that might require extra supplies, give everyone a list of what they should pack.
If you’re planning on doing any drinking on the trip make sure to work both alcohol and mixers into your plan. You can include them in the overall shopping list, or you can have individuals bring something to share.
6) Make some memories
Now that you’re planned, booked and packed it is time to hit the road. There will be bumps along the way, you’ll forget something, someone will drive you a little nuts and things probably won’t turn out perfect. But perfect isn’t really where we make the best memories. Explore your destination, have fun with your friends and just relax.
Let us know any other tips you’ve found useful when you’re planning friendcations. Leave us a comment below.