Whether you’re planning a weekend with your closest friends or a bonding experience with your extended family, group vacations can make travel more fun and less expensive. However, finding a way to split expenses fairly can quickly turn a dream vacation into something closer to a tax audit—complete with an itemized expense report detailing every chip eaten and soda sipped. Don’t worry—divvying up the dollars doesn’t have to be as difficult as it sounds. Let’s go over a few techniques and some helpful tips for making group vacations go as smoothly as possible.
4 Ways to Split the Bill
Everyone pays exactly the same amount. Add up the total cost of the trip and divide by the number of people in attendance. It’s that simple. This generally works well for shorter trips where everyone had similar spending and usage habits. You might even agree to contribute all the money ahead of time to ensure you all spend the same amount.
Divide by days or nights stayed. Calculate the total cost of the trip and divide it by the total number of days. This creates an equal rate per day. Then just multiply that per-day rate by the number of days each person stayed to determine their contribution.
Divide each day’s costs separately. Calculate the total cost of the trip, divide by the number of days and from there, divide each day’s cost by how many people were there at the time. It makes days with fewer people more expensive, and the packed days more affordable. This method works best for places rented on a nightly basis or when the number of vacationers fluctuates throughout the trip.
Divide by room. Calculate the total cost of the trip, divide by the length of the trip and from there, divide each day’s cost by each occupied room. This way, a person with a room to him/herself pays more than two people sharing a room. You might use this method when sharing a house with couples and singles.
Of course, these methods work best for dividing the cost of lodging. Dividing the other costs might necessitate tweaks to these methods to make repayment easier to manage. For example, if you’re looking to evenly divide the cost of everything, you could assign each person to a different expense. So, all food payments might be covered by Bill, and all gas costs might be paid by Joe. Then, once the trip has wrapped up, those costs can be evenly divided between everyone for repayment. Another cost-splitting option is pooling together money into one prepaid debit card that everyone uses for group expenses.
3 Tips for Group Vacations
Determine a budget ahead of time. Have a discussion and agree upon a mutual budget. It’s very easy to overspend if everyone has different—and conflicting—spending habits. Planning ahead of time and as a group can help reduce costs and disagreements over money.
Set a payment deadline. Most cost-splitting methods will mean at least one person will owe someone else, but it’s easy for repayments to get delayed and even forgotten. Avoid becoming a debt collector by agreeing on a deadline for repayments. Some websites and apps can even create automatic payment reminders. Learn how to transfer money between your Navy Federal account and a friend’s account.
Go with others who spend like you. If you’re a coupon-clipping, frugal sort of shopper, you’ll probably have trouble working on a mutual budget with somebody who tends to splurge or buy things full price. So when planning for your group vacation, discuss early on what types of things you want to do as a group and where you want to go together. By doing so, you can hopefully avoid any surprises and misunderstandings that might stem from taking on unexpected costs.
Don’t let money woes spoil the fun of your group vacation. Whether you want to head to the beach, the slopes or somewhere in between for your next getaway, consider encouraging each member of your party to start saving money now specifically for your vacation. You can even learn more about Navy Federal’s savings options to help your group be financially ready to travel.