We all have that one vacation we've been planning forever with our friends. It started with a weekend trip to Goa in college and graduated to a Bali trip when you got your first jobs... But you still haven't been able to plan it successfully. If your resolution for 2018 is to make that vacay a reality, here are some tips that can help.
1. Create a Whatsapp group
We hate those pointless Whatsapp groups just as much as you. But when it comes to planning your trip, no other way is as efficient as this. You can't ignore it and eventually, things will get done. But make sure you start early. If you're making your group now, let them all know that there will be a 3-4 months planning period at the very least.
2. Share links of popular tools on the group to help you plan
Skyscanner - Skyscanner is great for when you want to get the best deal possible. You can set up alerts on specific flight paths to notify you when the prices drop or start going up. If you've decided on a flights budget already, you can even check what all your options within that budget are.
Priceoftravel - There are too many places on our travel lists. And we don't end up deciding on a destination just because it's beautiful or popular among tourists. No, you need to factor in money, and figure out if you can actually see all the attractions after getting to the city. The website will give you the cost of food, entry fee for tourist spots, transport rates, etc.
Airbnb - When you're traveling in a friends group, Airbnb can be a great option. You can easily get an entire apartment and have more freedom during your stay. Yes, the luxury of room service and housekeeping will be missed. But the overall experience can be much better.
Google Flights - For a fair estimate of what the flights are going to cost during the time you want to travel. They don't give you an exact figure, obviously, but it's not too off the mark either. It can really help when you're trying to figure out the location too.
Journy- If you've got some extra money to spare and you want your vacations planned for you instead of having so many discussions and debates, look up services that customise your itinerary for you. Journy is one such platform. For a fee, they give you a vacation plan, including recommendations for sightseeing and restaurants that fit your budget. They also take care of all reservations and bookings.
Rome2rio - If you're planning something similar to a multi-destination Europe trip, RomeToRio can help you with your transportation options. Yes, Google Maps is pretty great in most countries, but Rome2Rio is better. It gives you local and outstation transit options and even provided an estimate of how much each of them would cost. Trains, flight, buses, ferries - they've mapped them all out for you.
3. Post a daily agenda on the group
Every morning (or every Wednesday, depending on the pace of things) post a topic that should be discussed and voted on. Start with dates, duration and location. Once discussions give way to a few options, ask for a vote. It might take 3-4 tries, and some might even drop out of the final decision, but that's bound to happen. Once these three are decided on, more than half of your work is done already. Now you can move on to deciding accommodation options, local conveyance, itinerary, budgets, etc.
4. A common checklist
If there are five girls in your group, you guys probably don't need 5 hair straighteners, do you? Make a consolidated packing list with your friends, decide on who is bringing the playing cards, the iPad, the pool float so you don't end up wasting precious luggage space.
5. Be ready to compromise
There will be no trip if none of you are ready to compromise a little. All of you could be different types of tourists - someone might want to go exploring the local markets and another might want to try adventure sports. It's okay. You can always have empty slots in the itinerary in which everyone does their own thing. And it's best to plan these slots beforehand, not just when you can't stand each other anymore.
How did you manage to pull off your friends vacay? Tell us in the comments below.