5/16/2023 | By Donna Brody

Trips with friends can be enjoyable and engaging, but they can also be stressful. Writer Donna Brody shares tips for traveling with friends, especially as we get older.

Our group of high school girlfriends has taken a number of trips together over the years. Before every one, though, I admit I get a little anxious about whether or not this will be the trip where everything falls apart and we end up at each other’s throats. Fortunately, our latest adventure in Nashville proved our friendships are still strong and, like always, we are there for each other. As we near the end of our 60s, though, there are some adjustments necessary to keep the peace that we probably wouldn’t have worried about in our 30s.

After consulting some popular travel sites, I discovered that this is not unusual as people get older. Some of the tips provided on these sites also apply to couples traveling with other couples, even those who have been the closest of friends for many years.

“Couples’ trips can be so fun and memorable,” writes Martina Johnson, “however, with so many personalities and preferences, you do have to be extra mindful in your trip planning.”

This is true for any group of friends, no matter the gender mix or partnered status.

“Keeping everyone happy when traveling with a 50+ friend group is not always easy, but you can make it work,” says Robin O’Neal Smith, “and it is so much more fun when you have others to share your experiences and adventures with!”

Both Johnson and Smith offer tips for a successful trip with friends. Based on my experience with our recent girls’ adventure, I have listed the ones I feel are absolutely essential in assuring that everyone has a fabulous experience.

6 tips for trips with friends

1. Plan ahead.

friends-hiking-seaside-Stanislav-Komogorov. For senior tips for trips with friends.

This is a no-brainer before embarking on any junket, but the planning doesn’t end with just choosing a location and accommodations. Discuss the kinds of activities everyone is interested in and check costs and time frames before booking any excursions or outings. Remember that some people are not as mobile as others (we had two in our group with knee and hip issues), so long hikes or lots of stairs might present a challenge for some.

2. Discuss a budget.

“Just because you are prepared to splurge on this trip doesn’t mean your friends are,” says Johnson. “There should always be a budget set before you depart on your trip.” Let everyone share in researching possible activities, restaurants, and other costs, and provide that information to the group before you go. I always find that “hop on, hop off” trolley tours are a good option when visiting a new city. It’s a chance to see all the sites without all the walking. We took one for around $45 in Nashville that we all agreed was a good value.

Everyone in the party should also know the approximate cost of meals at any restaurants the group is considering and have the option to opt out if they so choose.

3. Consider privacy.

This is probably the number one factor to consider when planning a trip with couples or other mixed-gender groups. When choosing accommodations for your group of 50+ friends, make sure everyone (or couple) has their own room. If that also includes a private bathroom, even better. Our group had eight bedrooms and eight bathrooms, so only two of us had to share a room and bath, and we knew that up front.

Every group is sure to include some night owls and some early risers, so if everyone has their own room, there will be no issues. Just remember to respect the others in the party by not making noise when trip mates are sleeping.

4. Be flexible.

There are bound to be many opinions on what activities the group should pursue in a day. Some people like shopping, others museums, and still others, bar-hopping. “It can be nerve-racking when everyone has a different opinion or goes at a different pace,” says Smith. “ It’s equally frustrating when no one wants to make a decision. Just remember to be patient, and that there will be times when you’ll have to compromise and do things other than what you’d prefer.”

5. Don’t wait to eat till everyone is starving.

People tend to get moody or stressed when they haven’t eaten, especially older adults, so make sure your group has plenty of snacks around at all times. I packed my own snacks in my tote for our girls’ trip just in case others were not used to eating on my schedule. Also, if you decide to cook some meals in your rental unit, make sure to designate who will bring the supplies, who will cook, and who will handle the clean-up. Be sure everyone pitches in to cover the cost of the food.

6. Accept needs for alone time.

Don’t be surprised or upset if people in the group decline to participate in some activities. For instance, my husband doesn’t like boats, so he always skips that part of his yearly men’s trip. Some people enjoy the down time a vacation offers and might prefer to spend a quiet day reading or sitting poolside in the hotel or rental property.

Although I love to travel with my husband and family, trips with friends have provided me with some wonderful memories I will always treasure. Can’t wait for next year!

Donna Brody

Donna Brody is a former community college English instructor who retired to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. She enjoys freelance writing and has self published three romance novels. Besides writing and traveling with her husband, she keeps busy visiting her seven grandchildren.

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