Money can be a huge issue when you travel in a group, especially in the likely event that you don’t all have the same amount to spend. When you’re travelling together, and everything ends up costing a little more than you’d expect, this can be the cause of tension.
That’s why it is important to be prepared, for everything. That means using the following budgeting advice so you can enjoy the scenery and the continent, rather than worrying about the euros in your wallet, or in your friends’.
Decide on a rough budget beforehand
Chances are you all have a different amount of access to money. It’s not really fair on the skint one if you go off all the time flashing the cash, yet at the same time you can’t let that person hold you back if you want to spend on doing things.
You need to accept and acknowledge that you have different budgets and goals when it comes to travelling in a group. If you decide on a rough daily budget, it will help everyone to plan and work out what they can and can’t do.
Understand each other’s different budgets
Once you’ve decided on a budget, try to stick to it. Don’t call your mate out if they bow out of anything for financial reasons. Let them work to their own budget and do as they wish. You’re not all going to want to spend the same amount or do the same things – respect that. Don’t cause tensions in the group by bringing attention to your friend either, or get all offended if they do it to you.
Keep a written record of what you owe and are owed
You might not be bothered about a few euros here and there, but chances are there’ll be someone in your group who will be.
Keeping a written track of everyone’s spends makes everything fair. There’ll usually be someone in a group who feels like they’ve paid out more – a manual or electronic record help you all keep up to date.
The Splitwise app can really help with this. Use it to record everyone’s spends and set it to equal up electronically at the end.
Relax, and have a buffer
When you’re travelling in a group it can be difficult to keep a hold of your finances. I know from experience that you’re tempted to drink and eat more, thanks to the mere suggestion of a bite to eat or quick drink when perhaps you didn’t actually need one. Soon, in a group, that will escalate.
I can guarantee though, these will be your best travel times. Make sure to have a bit of a financial buffer put away so you don’t balk at the bar bill from a brilliant night when it comes to paying your fair share.
Don’t be tight
Don’t be stingy, you’ll ruin the experience for everyone, including yourself. If you’re on a tight budget, let your friends know at the start and then try not to mention it too much from then on. Nothing spoils a nice drink or lunch more than a moaner. Bow out of things graciously and don’t make a big deal out of it.
Save money as a group
As a group you can save money on all kinds of things from transport to activities to accommodation. When you’re doing your research look out for opportunities for group travel discounts and make the most of them. A little compromise from everyone here and there (like sleeping on sofa beds in rented apartments) can save a lot.
Stock the car up
Travelling to Europe as a group in a car can save a lot of money. One car can be for up to nine people with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, meaning if you time it right and get a deal you could actually go for just a few pounds each. Going in a car also means that you don’t have all the baggage fees you get with air travel. You can pack everything you need in the car and not worry about it again.
The fact you have a car also means that you can save money on food and accommodation as you could bring everything you need to camp, and to eat on the go. You could even bring a camping stove!
As a group agree on the lengths you’ll go to to save money. For example, hostels, sleeping on transport, or in cars. That way everyone knows what they’re letting themselves in for.
Remember that a few euros here and there is not worth losing your friendship over, so communicate fairly if you feel it’s not right. And if you really want to earn some brownie points, and bring the group together on the last night, save a few euros for a bottle of the local tipple. The perfect way to end the trip, and it won’t cost you much at all.