It’s Important to Talk About Money Before You Travel
Unless you have weird friends like I do, it’s likely that nobody in your group likes to talk about money.
But too many fights have started because somebody isn’t paying their share, somebody isn’t keeping track, or because somebody feels taken advantage of. Don’t let it happen to you! Before you go on your trip, start discussing how you’re going to deal with the money. Now, how you proceed will definitely depend on your group dynamic. But this method works for groups who generally come out the same in terms of consumption (of food, alcohol, etc).
We’ve tried a lot of things to keep track of money with group travel.
We’ll Just Split It: This is often unfair and often a huge pain. If you have friends who are appetizer and cocktail people and you are more of a beer and entree kinda girl, it’s a real bummer to split it all evenly every time. Also, it is a big annoyance to deal with money after every meal. Who pays? Is everyone venmo-ing each other every time? It turns convoluted and annoying.
We’ll Figure It Out Later: Spoiler alert, you probably won’t. Everybody forgets how much things were and who paid when. This is especially true if you are going out and drinking. You won’t figure it out later, and unless you are lucky, one person will probably end up paying most of the time.
Oh, Bob Will Just Keep Track of It: Well, Bob doesn’t want to have to spend his trip being an accountant. And, unless he is unreasonably responsible, he’ll probably miss a few things. Give Bob a break.
Our Tried and True Method for Keeping Track of Money on A Group Trip
One person pays all day. They track the expenses. Settle up at night/morning. Switch.
That’s it. It sounds simple, but it works. When you’re getting ready in the morning somebody needs to declare it is their day to pay. It is then their job to pick up everything that is split: coffees, snacks, lunch, dinner, etc. It is their responsibility to keep track. I use Google Keep because it syncs on my computer and phone. And then we all settle up using Venmo or Google Pay or your preferred payment method. The next day, it’s somebody else’s turn.
This works because you don’t have to deal with the constant shuffling of who is paying for what. Everybody has their turn to pay. Everybody settles up at the same time to prevent stragglers. And if a split is vastly unfair, one person is in charge of dealing with it.
What to Do if You’re the Sober One
If there are certain circumstances that mean you always spend less than your travel companions, like dietary restrictions, abstaining from alcohol or desserts, or you just don’t drink coffee and don’t want to have to pay for everybody else’s €4 latte, tell a friend. And by that I mean, have an open dialogue with your travel buds and work it out together. Sometimes it all evens out, they drink cheap wine but you insist on dessert. Sometimes it doesn’t. Depending on your group of friends and the dynamic, you can work it out, whether it is a daily discount or a few bucks per meal.
The Takeaway about Money and Group Travel
The most important thing to learn here is that money loses its power over you when you talk about it. Tell your friends what you’re feeling, but be polite about it. Have a discussion about money before you travel and while you travel! Let us know how it goes!