Going on vacation and traveling with your family and friends can be an epic, unforgettable experience. 

After all, what's better than making memories with your travel companions while relaxing, experiencing new food and culture, and exploring the local landscape? 

However, it can also be stressful when paying for it all and deciding how to split costs. 

Don't wait until Day One of your vacation to discuss how the crew will split costs—by that time, confusion may set in, and it might already be too late. 

Chat with your travel group and talk specifics on how you plan to handle shared travel bills before your plane takes off. 

Here are some tips on how to navigate the financial and communication aspects of booking a group vacation: 

How to plan a vacation with a group

Saving up for a vacation with a group works when everyone knows how much to contribute. Use the following guidelines to save up for an epic vacation. 

Create a savings goal

Say your travel group has a European adventure planned for six months in the future. If you budget for the trip in advance and let everyone know ahead of time what kind of costs to save up for, there will be less stress in that time before leaving. 

Research the costs of your expected expenses, like airfare, gas, rental cars, hotel stays, special excursions, meals, and tickets to attractions or events. After totaling these costs per person, you'll estimate how much each person will need to save. 

Now, work backward to reach the savings goal. Divide the estimated trip cost by the number of months you have before leaving to see how much money to set aside each month.

For example, if you're taking a $1,000 vacation six months from now, you'll need to save around $166 per month to fund your portion of the getaway. Be sure to relay this information to your other group members!

Organize lines of communication for your travel group 

Communication is critical when planning a trip with friends and family. Implement a group chat either over SMS text or using a messaging app like WhatsApp to stay in touch while making plans and during the trip (WhatsApp is also a great free tool for international travel!) 

For mapping out itineraries, consider creating a central Google Doc to sketch out a plan for each day, assign responsibilities, and include essential reminders and packing lists.  

Start putting together ideas using sites like TripAdvisor and share booked events in shared Google Calendar events. 

And if you're having trouble deciding on a hotel, destination to visit, or restaurant to reserve? Put in a vote with an app like Doodle

Figure out money splits ahead of time

Splitting the bill with your travel group may sound like a headache since many vacation expenses are baked into your itinerary.

But it doesn't have to be! All it takes is a little forward-planning and, of course, communication. 

Remember that not everyone in your group is working with the same budget, so the entire party needs to agree on how much to spend on big-ticket items such as hotels, car rentals, and activities. 

Here are some things to discuss with your travel companions ahead of time:

1. Transportation

Decide what flights and seats will be booked if traveling together. Many airlines offer discounts and perks for bigger groups, and many credit cards offer travel rewards and free mileage with points—apps like Hopper or Skyscanner track prices for the best deals in real-time. Rental cars, Ubers, ferries, and other types of transport may be included here. 

2. Lodging

Figure out whether your group will go the hotel route or stay in an Airbnb or all-inclusive resort

3. Food and Drink

Groceries, restaurants, snacks, and coffee fall under this umbrella. 

4. Activities and excursions

Guided tours, catamaran trips, ziplining, and more might end up in your final travel costs. 

5. Exchange rate fees for international travel

If you're traveling internationally, it's important to bake these fees into your trip budget—they can add up! 

6. Incidentals

It's essential to have a little money leftover just for emergencies. 

Use Braid Money Pools for the vacation 

You end up in charge of buying tickets for everyone in your travel group. Afterward, you personally reach out to every individual, asking them to reimburse you. Does this situation sound familiar? 

Or, you're at a restaurant, and you use a calculator to figure out splits, and then either pile credit cards on top of the check or ask everyone individually to pay you back. Gets old! 

Get rid of the hassle of personally collecting monetary contributions from every person in your travel group. Instead, use Braid to create a simple and free money pool dedicated to your vacation. 

Here's how it works in 3 easy steps: 

  1. Share a dedicated pool link with your travel companions. They can contribute to the pool via debit cards without signing up for the Braid app. It's free for everyone to use!
  2. Everyone places the split of their vacation contributions to the money pool. 
  3. As you go along booking your itinerary and buy things while traveling with the group, money gets subtracted from the pool using a Braid debit card. No more funneling cash in and out of your personal account! Less money stress, more fun traveling.  

Navigating group travel doesn't have to be a hassle. Use Braid Money Pools for a fun, stress-free vacation instead of worrying about reimbursements and fronting money for your friends and family! 

7 ways to bank extra cash for your trip

Have some time before you head out on your adventure? Here are a few great ways to save up extra money before you take off: 

1. Pick up a side hustle

Sure, you may need to hustle harder now, but think of the relaxing fun you'll be experiencing on your vacation with a padded wallet. 

Look for ways to earn extra cash outside of your 9-to-5 job, whether they're more traditional (like waiting tables or petsitting) or a little less orthodox (like working as an extra on a film set or selling products online.) Side hustles allow you to get one step closer to making your dream getaway more affordable. 

Pro tip: Consider working seasonal jobs. Around the winter break, many stores and retailers look for seasonal help. Leading up to summertime, you may see job openings for lifeguards and camp counselors. 

Working these side jobs may be a time sacrifice, but it will help make your vacation with friends or family possible.

2. Sell your belongings 

If you love traveling and vacations, you know that life is really about making memories and having experience, not stuff. Especially when selling your stuff can turn into extra money in your pocket. 

Try selling stuff you no longer need on Craigslist, OfferUp, or Letgo. Check your closets and attic, too—that old Nintendo or record player may be worth more than you think. 

3. Use your credit card benefits

Think about using a credit card that offers travel benefits and airline miles for all of your regular expenses throughout the year. When vacation time comes around, you could be flying for free. 

Another option is to earn credit card bonuses upon signup. Certain credit cards offer hundreds of thousands of points just for joining. But make sure you're ready to be responsible and always pay off your credit card on time! 

You can also earn frequent flier miles without signing up for a credit card by taking surveys, eating out, shopping online, etc. Staying loyal to one airline is always a great way to get free upgrades. 

4. Spend less money on groceries and eating out

Dining out and buying groceries can be a huge monthly expense for many households. Be smarter with your food spending, and in no time, you'll notice you've got a little extra cash to put toward your next trip. 

You can save money by buying food in bulk, shopping locally at farmer's markets, or joining a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program. 

Earn rebates on your groceries by saving receipts and uploading pictures of them to apps like Ibotta. 

Or, simply cut out items you don't really need, like cookies, soda, and junk food, and keep them out of your grocery cart while you're saving up for your getaway. 

Try dining out less, too. Wouldn't those tapas and cocktails taste better in Spain, anyway? 

5. Use your car to make some extra income 

Good news, your vehicle sitting in the driveway can be a moneymaker. You can make extra income as an Uber or Lyft driver or set up a carpool and charge your coworkers for rides to work. 

If you're flying to your vacation and won't need your car for a while, consider renting it out to visitors on an app like Turo. They get to use your vehicle while visiting your city, and you get extra money deposited in your account when you get back. 

6. Make money with your space

Move a little extra cash to your vacation fund by listing space on Vrbo or Airbnb. You can turn that spare bedroom or office space in your home into a haven for visitors checking out your city. 

Even if you don't have a guest room available, you can get creative. For example, if you have a big backyard, consider pitching a teepee for a glamping experience or letting guests crash in your living room.

This method isn't for everyone, but it could be a good moneymaker depending on your lifestyle. 

You could also consider renting out your entire home and staying with a friend or family member and splitting the profits with them. 

To make sure you save on housing during your trip, check out Airbnb or discount hotel sites like Booking.com or HotelTonight. 

7. Spend less on gyms

Are you planning a beach trip and want to make sure you're in shape to spend sunny days in a swimsuit? Think of how much better your wallet will fare if you work out without spending loads of money on fancy gyms or exercise studios. 

There are lots of free or cheap alternatives to in-person gyms. Consider saving money on the cost of memberships by working out at home or in a public park. Even YouTube has loads of free workout videos, and you can replace weights with body resistance training. 

Braid Pools help make splitting vacation costs with your travel partners easy and stress-free

Learn how with this simple guide