Take a Great Friends Getaway on Most Any Budget
By Leslie E. Royal
“No matter who you are, no matter how much money you make, no matter where you live, you can and should take a vacation every year.”
Here are a few tips to planning a Great Friends Getaway without breaking the bank. After all, it’s really about friendship and fellowship. Try this 7-Step, Stress-Free Process.
Step 1 – Survey each friend in the group and ask them to be honest about a reasonable budget for him or her. Calculate the total amount that you have to spend. Make your plans according to the total vacation budget which will include transportation, accommodations, and meals. During the trip, ladies can use the Trail Wallet App to keep up with expenses and stay within budget.
Step 2 – If you will split the cost, give your friends a deadline for getting their money in. Maybe set up a three-part payment plan. The person that is great at handling money can collect it via the Square Cash App on designated days. This person will be responsible for pulling out a debit or credit card to handle expenses before and during your trip. But if you would rather split the cost as you go along, use Splitwise or Settle Up. Settle Up shows who should pay next and keep the balance synced. It even gives exchange rates and conversions.
Step 3 – Decide on your mode of transportation. If you all will fly, look for low cost airfare on sites like Kayak, Google Flights, Momondo, and SkyScanner (which has an app). Sign up for airfare alerts. Cheapest days to fly are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. You can make it a road trip too. If a friend has an SUV or van, that is great. If not, go online to Expedia to compare prices on a vehicle rental. Download a trip toll and gas calculator app such as TollGuru to keep up with fuel costs.
Step 4 – Secure accommodations that house the entire group. There are options like hotels, lake houses, and Airbnb. But I found the best to be luxury vacation rental homes for as little as $50 per person, per night. You can get it for a fraction of the cost of a hotel. It will have the same onsite amenities of an upscale hotel to include restaurants, gym, gift shops, community pool, poolside bar, and more. The great thing is… you will have a huge 4 to 13-bedroom home equipped with a full kitchen, living room, dining room, private pool, private jacuzzi, BBQ grill, and so much more. So, you all can cook your own food.
Step 5 – Download a discount restaurant app on your cell phones. Some include RetailMeNot, Groupon and Restaurant.com. You can get meals for 50% off or more. If you have a large group, Restaurant.com might be your best bet. You can buy certificates in advance or just before you step into a restaurant. Remember to factor in the tip for your servers.
Step 6 – Collectively, go online and find fun things to do in the city you will visit. Each person should take part. In Leslie’s Lane the Book!, I encourage everyone to Google FREE things to do in the city they visit. See if they have area coupons for theatres, comedy shows, dinner shows, and daytime attractions. Google top night clubs as well as Happy Hour Specials. Once you have an idea of the excursions and attractions prices minus coupon discounts, use an app to divide costs.
Step 7 – Go grocery shopping a few days before the vacation. There may be some with food allergies. As a courtesy, still, agree to split the bill evenly. For the super picky eaters or those with extravagant tastes, if it is a substantial increase, consider asking them to incur the additional costs.
A SPECIAL TIP – Raise money in unique ways! Become a Mystery Shopper! (It’s fun!) Have a Garage Sale! Curtail your eating out. Take your lunch and don’t get gourmet coffee.
Leslie E. Royal is an author, international freelance writer, product review expert, social media influencer, and global travel journalist. Her articles have appeared in numerous publications including: ESSENCE, Black Enterprise, FORTUNE.com, AAA Southern Traveler, Upscale, Upscale Living, The Ashro Blog, and Chron.com. She is the creator of the Leslie’s Lane consumer information blog and author of two books: How to Write and Self-Publish Your Book for FREE with Amazon’s CreateSpace (Amazon $9.95) and Leslie’s Lane The Book! Your One Stop Internet Resource Guide to Links for Jobs, Inspiration, Discounts, FREE Stuff, Scholarships, Travel and More! (Amazon $14.95). Follow her on social media @LesliesLane.
Visit her website – Leslie’s Lane