How To Avoid Conflict When Planning A Getaway With Friends

When you set aside sipping on margaritas and taking in all of the glorious views, vacations can be pretty stressful — especially if you're traveling with your friends. From the planning stage to the actual trip itself, every moment has the potential to turn sour, so whether you're backpacking across the world with your pals or simply enjoying a weekend getaway, avoiding conflict should be on the list of priorities. Not sure how you can dodge all of the potential fights? Don't worry — we're here to help.


People tend to butt heads on trips most when there are unmet expectations, ignored opinions, and of course, concerns about money. But if you plan a trip with all of these in mind, you can save your friendships (and yourself) from experiencing that unpleasantness. Setting clear expectations for your trip, hearing everyone out, creating a budget and a flexible itinerary, and being ready to compromise are all things you need for a conflict-free getaway with the gang — here's how to make these strategies work.

Stay true to your travel goals

Sometimes, you just need a glass of wine and a good book by the beach to get away from the stresses of your life. Other times, you're in full-on adventure mode and want to go out and explore everything the world has to offer. Whatever it is you're feeling this weekend, your friend could be feeling the exact opposite — so when planning a trip, expressing your goal or expectation for the trip should be your first step.


Your travel goals matter, and if you feel like you don't have the energy to go on an activity-filled jaunt with your friends, it's understandable to opt out. At the same time, if you are feeling lazy and cooped up and just want a bit of movement in your life, it's totally fine to say no to the easygoing getaway your friends are planning. At the end of the day, if your expectations do not align with what's being planned, sit this trip out. Going on a trip despite this can create a buildup of resentment — and in addition to not enjoying the trip yourself, you'll likely be ruining it for your friends.

Hear everyone out and collaborate

There's sure to be that one friend in a group who's really good at planning everything down to the smallest detail, but this doesn't mean that you should make this friend plan everything. In addition to it being exhausting for that one person, there's the potential for conflict if there's something about their itinerary that someone else doesn't like. So whether you're doing an in-person planning session or typing away in the group chat, it's important to get everyone involved.


Although it's impossible to accommodate everyone's wishes for the trip, it's important to make an effort to acknowledge and validate their suggestions. Be gentle when it comes to turning ideas down, and go all out when appreciating the good ones. Get everyone involved in the planning process — make sure there is a mutual feeling of "I helped plan this trip" instead of, "This trip was planned for me." Then, if things go south, there's no one person to point your finger at. The shared responsibility will bring the group together instead of creating the potential for everyone to feel like one person let the whole group down.

Make flexible plans

Making plans when traveling with a group is a must — if you get off the transportation you took and ask the question, "What now?" it's likely everyone in the group will have very different answers, or worse, no answers at all. Having a general idea of what you want to do, what you want to see, and the places where you'll be staying is crucial if you don't want complete mayhem once you get to your destination. Furthermore, making reservations can help you avoid disappointment and inconvenience, so plan away before vacation day arrives.


However, this general plan should not be too strict. It's a getaway with friends, not an army camp. When making the itinerary, leave a few flexible activities, and give people the choice of doing their own thing during these times. If they prefer to do a little bit of shopping or to go back to their room to read, let them do so. Decide on a time and place to meet up again, and you'll come back together as a much happier, rejuvenated group. But remember to have plenty of group activities as well — after all, you're there to enjoy your time with one another.

Manage the stressful emotions that come with travel

We often find ourselves fighting with our family members much more than we do with our friends because we're nearly always around our family, while we only meet with our friends on occasion. And familiarity really does breed contempt — so whether you're planning a six-hour car ride or two days of sharing a room with your best friend, you're bound to discover some quirks in them that may make you a little bit irritated or even angry. Or — maybe you're just really sleepy, and you need to go take your routine nap instead of going on that hike. Maybe you're even a bit hangry; hanger is a real thing that can make you feel like you hate all your friends.


If you're overwhelmed by such emotions and feel an onset of an angry outburst that could not only ruin the trip but also your friendships, take a step back and bask in some self-awareness. Once you find the reason for why you're feeling the way you're feeling — whether it be hunger or a desperate need for a nap — solve it. Grab a quick snack for yourself, sneak in a nap after lunch when everyone's chilling, or excuse yourself from one activity for some self-care time.

Plan, divide, and pay

Don't let dollars get in the way of a good friendship. When planning a getaway with your friends, it's important to have a very clear, easy-to-understand, and accessible budget. Include all of the activities you have lined up — from the bus and plane tickets to ice creams and big meals — and give yourself a buffer amount for any unexpected expenses. All of the estimations and the actual costs should be calculated before people are locked in and rooms booked, and everyone planning to go with you should be made aware of exactly what that budget is.


Dividing the costs, even the smallest, is a must; there is no shame in splitting. Small amounts can become big amounts, which could lead to resentment or outright conflicts, and the last thing anyone should be worrying about during a vacation is money.

You can easily create a spreadsheet, collect receipts, and split the costs. If someone else is in charge of this responsibility, paying up your part as soon as possible is also important — you're most likely to forget if you don't pay right away. Reminding someone to pay is an unpleasant business all on its own, so don't give your friends trouble. And remember, gently backing out of a group trip you can't really afford is nothing to be ashamed of.


Communicate and compromise

Remember, it's two Cs against one: To avoid conflict, communicate and compromise. Don't wait until you're on the trip to voice your discontent with a plan or something else regarding the getaway — do it then and there in the planning phase. Make others aware if you think something is a bad idea, and try to clear up any and all misunderstandings that could lead to conflicts in the future.


Keep in mind that not all of your opinions will be welcomed with open arms, so get ready to make some compromises, and don't bear ill will toward anyone when you do. For example, if you suggest your favorite restaurant in the area for lunch, but others are not up for it, accept that this isn't your time to win. Chances are, someone else will be compromising on what they want for something you want to do at a different point. When you all approach the trip with this attitude, your whole getaway — from the planning phase to the very end — is more likely to be a peaceful process.