So you and your friends have decided to travel together. Yay! Chances are you’ve evaluated your bank account, scrolled through the #wanderlust tag on Instagram, and pinned a ton of packing hacks in preparation. But now it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of planning your trip, which can be exciting and intimidating all at once.
To get you all the expert travel advice, Cosmopolitan.com consulted Lillian Rafson, the founder and CEO of Pack Up + Go, a travel agency that plans surprise three-day weekend trips. Below, she reveals nine things you definitely need to consider before taking a vacation with your BFFs:1. What Their Sleeping Habits Are
Are you traveling with a friend who goes for a run, makes breakfast, and is ready for the day before you even hear your alarm? Does she need to get eight hours of sleep or risk being cranky in the morning? Whatever your friend is into, figure it out before the trip by having a frank and open conversation. While it’s totally possible to work with different sleep schedules—one person can go sightseeing while the other snoozes—you don’t want anyone to feel left out.
2. How You’ll Deal With Money
You’re probably used to splitting money during a night out drinking rosé, but travel takes finances to a new level. You have to factor in exchange rates, foreign transaction fees, plus what people are willing to splurge on during day-to-day exploring. Before you leave, discuss what everyone’s comfortable with and know there are always ways to cut down on cost: “If someone is maybe a little more cost-conscious, maybe be open to taking public transportation instead of Ubering everywhere,” Rafson says. Her biggest money tip? Carry some cash in case you end up at a place that doesn’t accept credit cards.
Just because you’re best friends who know everything about each other doesn’t necessarily mean you like doing the same things. You might be saying to yourself, “This is so obvious! Why would we both choose to go to Palawan if only one of us likes the beach?”, but there are so many different ways to enjoy the same place, and you’re not a mind reader. “When you’re booking the trip, be aware of each other’s tentative plans so it doesn’t lead to any tension once you’re on the trip,” Rafson says. If you figure out you aren’t on the same page, choose one or two days when you can go off by yourselves and do your own things.4. If They Like to Share
Packing becomes so much simpler when you can swap clothes, shoes, toiletries, and even snacks, so sit down with your friend and see what—if anything—she’s willing to share. Are you going to treat your two wardrobes as one closet or is she going to be extra-protective over her fancy blow-dryer?
5. What Kind of Planners They Are
On any given trip, you usually need a few things covered: What you’re doing, where you’re eating, and how you’re getting to all of those places. While some people love to pick out the best restaurants in any city (*raises hand*), other people are better attuned to understanding maps and directions (*quickly lowers hand*). Figure out everyone’s strong suit before you step onto a plane/train/private boat, and make sure you have your bases covered. “In every group trip, inevitably people might say, 'I don’t have a preference, just choose without me,’” Rafson says. “But if you have a preference, definitely say something. You don’t want to give up too much control if it really does matter to you.”
When you're two days into a trip and you realize your Airbnb has no heat or usable shower, and a friend is throwing up from a mystery illness, you’ll want BFFs who can keep their cool. Are your friends the type of people who will freak out when something goes wrong? Or will they laugh at how ridiculous life is and help you calmly figure out a solution? “If a flight is delayed or you can’t check into your hotel early, just [keep] it in perspective and [remember] you’re on vacation, and you’re with your best friends,” Rafson says.