Group Trips... we've all taken them, right? They can go one of two ways: expensive or budget friendly (as well as tons of fun or a total hassle, but we'll focus on the monetary aspect today). We, of course, always try to go the budget friendly route but many things factor into this with a large group.
1. It's ridiculously hard to plan with a group of people and planning is a key to saving money. If you're taking a flight, booking an Airbnb, booking a car, booking activities, etc. you need to book ahead which can be difficult if you don't have a group that's ready to commit. So here's our first tip:
If you and one other are 100% committed and a flight is involved, just book the flight. You DO NOT want to miss out on a good flight deal because some members of your group weren't ready to purchase. When they're ready, they'll be able to book their flight at whatever the current cost is, but hopefully, you were able to track the prices and book a moderately priced flight. Same thing goes for the car. Book the vehicle that you and your other committed friends will fit in, and the late joiners can book their car when they're ready. (Cars always seem to go fast, so don't miss out on booking yours in advance!)
If there is an Airbnb house involved, evaluate the group of invited friends. For the most part, you should know who's going to flake last minute, who's going to join last minute, and who's in no matter what the cost or details are. This is how you'll need to choose a house for you & your friends. Of course, you could book one house for you & the other friends that have already committed and the late joiners could book their own, but it's always more fun, more convenient, and more cost effective to be in one house all together. Airbnb can be tricky. When picking a house for a weekend on the Cape, we missed out on some houses due to people dropping out, joining, and dropping back out. I couldn't book a house far in advance because not everyone could commit to the weekend. By the time everyone was ready and we had our solid group of attendees, all the houses that would fit our group were already booked. This could have been a huge annoyance as we ended up in a small cottage, but thankfully our friends are flexible and while one was on the couch and two others in day beds, we made it work.
So the bottom line here is, book when you & a solid committed group are ready as far in advance as possible. The others can join on later and you'll find a way to make it work!
2. Cooking at home vs. Eating Out:
Cooking at our Airbnb is something Ricky & I always do and thankfully it wasn't an issue at all for our friends. We're all very budget cautious and willing to chip in to make things easier on everyone. I made a menu for the weekend and split up everything we needed between everyone joining for the weekend. This was the easiest thing to do. We ended up with plenty of food for the weekend and nobody spent an obscene amount of money. We all spent around $40 or less for the entire weekend. The one time we went out was for lunch on our last day in the Cape.
Both years that we've done a friends weekend away, we've kept it simple. We had decks of cards for Nerts (if y'all haven't played that with your family & friends, you should!), Cards Against Humanity, a couple other board games, and this year we had outdoor games as well: Corn Hole, Kan Jam, and a Slip & Slide. When we weren't at the beach, we were at our house playing games and we even brought the games to the beach.
To split up the days so we weren't on the beach for three days in a row, we rented a boat this year. This is something you definitely need to research to find the best price. Ricky & I have rented a pontoon boat before & we'll be renting one again in Colorado. I know renting a boat sounds ridiculously expensive, but it's actually not; especially when you're splitting it with friends. If you aren't into boating, try renting a kayak or stand up paddle board if you'll be spending time on the water. It's definitely worth it to research what activities are in the area and what is affordable for you.
If all of the people in your group aren't interested in activities, it's okay to split up. This is an important one to remember. Just because you're spending the weekend in the same house, doesn't mean you need to do everything as a group. If half the group wants to rent a boat and the other half wants to hang on the beach, just rent a smaller boat and go for it! Or if you and a few others want to save money and walk around the town or do something more low-key, don't feel bad that you're missing an activity. You'll all be together when you cook dinner at your Airbnb that night anyway!
Book that trip with your friends that you've been dying to do. It'll be worth it; just plan! If it's your first time traveling with friends, keep an open mind & be flexible!
What kind of experiences have you had traveling with a group?