Planning a group holiday? Here’s the one topic you’ll want to avoid

Women taking selfies against the cityscape
Don’t ruin your friendships by arguing about this (Picture: Getty Images)

Ahead of a trip with your friends, make sure you have an open and honest conversation about budgeting.

A holiday with your mates seems like a fun time is on the horizon. However, if there’s one thing that’s going to make or break a friendship, it’s a holiday (or living together).

There’s the itinerary to plan, finding accommodation, who’s going to drive – the list goes on!

But now, new research from Starling Bank has found that over half of holiday arguments between British friends stem from disagreements over money.

It’s an old but classic problem – and it happens to the best of us.

However, these arguments are sometimes so severe that the friendship never fully recovers – with 16% of friends surveyed admitting that they’ve lost a friend for good as a result. Not what you want when planning something that should only be a fun time.

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Budgets are a key thing – and it’s only fair that everyone’s finances are kept in mind. And 75% of holidaymakers revealed they overspend on holidays with friends – and not by a few pounds and pennies either, in fact, by an average of a whopping £261!

Starling Bank believes a lack of communication is at the heart of these fiscal issues, with half of the people from the study also owning up to the fact that they don’t speak openly to pals about their budget.

The other half that do discuss the nitty and gritty said it helped alleviate stress in planning the holiday – while 28% added that it made things easier when abroad, too.

Two Woman Unfriend With Each Other.
Don’t let an argument over money end your friendship (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

It’s a topic that’s on everyone’s minds, often the elephant in the room, with nearly two thirds worrying about spending when on holiday – with one in ten ending up going over their budget, in a bid to keep up with their friends. This already sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Spending habits even cause some friends to refuse to holiday together, with 50%being put off going away with certain people, over cost concerns. In fact, half of UK adults admit they have fallen out with a friend on holiday, with 54% of arguments triggered by disagreements about money – which rose to 71% in the 18-24 age group.

According to Dr. Jenna Vyas-Lee, a clinical psychologist, ‘There are a multitude of reasons why we overspend when it comes to holidays with friends, one of which stemming from social comparison theory.

‘This manifests in a desire to match your friends’ spending to avoid feeling inferior or left out.

‘We’re all also familiar with FOMO (fear of missing out), which can also drive us to spend more than anticipated.’

She added: ‘However, overspending can have a serious impact on both your friendships and your bank balance.#

It can truly be make or break for some friendships, with now ex-friends who found a mismatch of financial flexibility when travelling together.

Dr. Vyas-Lee goes on to say: ‘In the short term, this can lead to feelings of increased stress and anxiety, as well as guilt and resentment towards those who can’t afford to spend as much.

‘In the longer term, this financial strain can have a permanent and damaging effect on your friendships, with many losing friends altogether or avoiding future holidays with friends.

‘It’s also crucial to consider the impact on your financial health and how this can impact stress and socialising opportunities long term.’

How to holiday with your mates (and not hate each other)

Nobody wants to lose a friendship on holiday, and with these tips, you won’t have to!

Be organised (but not too organised)
You want to be organised, sure, but you also need to preserve plenty of free time for spontaneity. Get all the essentials like transport and accommodation booked in to minimise stress or the possibility of being stranded.

Trying to force everyone into a strict schedule of organised fun will not end well but if you absolutely need to, block out some ‘free time’ every day and pop it into your diary.

Compromise on holiday activities
Some people love to get as lazy as possible on holiday, lying on the sand with a book and a cocktail. Others like to lace up their walking shoes and visit every gallery, museum and artefact the place has to offer.

If you have a clash of holidaying style, you’re going to have to learn to compromise.

Take care of your introverts
You are probably travelling with introverts, whether you know it or not. They will most likely find being in constant company quite draining. They love you! But they’re delicate and they need a little peace to recoup.

So, you might want to make sure that your introverted friends get time in the afternoon for a little nap or a little space to be on their own. Don’t take it personally and don’t be offended.

Don’t get all judgmental
You’re going to be spending more time than usual with your mates, so you’re bound to notice things you wouldn’t ordinarily see.

Try to be as loving and kind and patient as possible. If you’re really concerned by something you notice a friend doing, have a gentle chat with them some other time. Picking on someone’s habits while you’re all on holiday is only going to cause tension and conflict and probably hurt.

Be sensitive about money and alcohol
You are not all necessarily on the same budget – and talking about money can be seriously intense. So be mindful of suggesting expensive activities to do or restaurants to go to, in case it’s out of someone’s budget. Do plenty of free and cheap things, so that everyone feels comfortable, and check before booking something that costs money.

The same sort of rule applies to alcohol consumption. People have different tolerances, so be cool about it if one of your friends needs to take it easy. Do not pressure anyone into spending or drinking more than they want to.

Rachel Kerrone, Starling Bank’s personal finance expert, advises open conversations about budgets to avoid ‘any awkwardness or tensions that could arise while you’re on the trip’.

It’s never nice to argue with friends – especially over what should be an enjoyable experience – so try to avoid these tricky situations by honestly discussing what is financially feasible for everyone.

It’s a fun and relaxing holiday, after all!

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