Traveling with one of your friends is great and really easy to manage. There are only two opinions and costs can usually be split two ways. However, traveling in a group will save you even more money. I have had some of the most fun travel experiences in large groups. Yes, it can be more difficult to arrange day trips, the next destination, and where to eat for dinner but the amount of money you can save may out weigh those potential problems.
Here are some of my favorite ways to save money traveling in a group:
Hotels and hostels are easily the most common choice of lodging for most travelers. The problem is a nice hostel or hotel can add up over many days since you pay by the night. In most hostels you pay per person anyway so you won’t save much unless you go for a shared dorm and shared bathroom. That is simply not an option for most of us. That is why I love to rent houses and apartments when I travel. There are countless sites such as Roomarama, VRBO, and AirBnB where you can rent homes directly from owners to split with your friends. These are great because you can negotiate directly with the owner and often save a lot of money. Since you pay one flat rate for the home for your stay it means you should bring as many friends along as possible to lower the cost. Remember to find homes with many beds so you can fit as many people in it as possible. This will help bring down the total cost per person.
This applies to road trips in your home country or even renting cars abroad. When your next destination is close or you simply want to save money over flying you can by carpooling. Bring a few friends a long and split the gas. Pre-pack your meals and snacks for the drive and you are already saving a little cash. Taking just one car also minimizes more than just fuel. For example, many national parks charge by the car to gain entry. When you are splitting your entry fee 6 passenger vehicle by 6 you continue to save.
Dining-In and Planning Ahead
This is fairly simple but most people choose to eat out on vacation for almost every meal or they stick to places near or in their hotel. Yes, this is convenient but it is a waste of time and you are missing out on travel experiences. Going to the local markets with your friends and planning dinner can be a great way to experience new cities as a local and get great deals on dinner. Also, finding local hole-in-the-wall joints and street food are great way to enjoy local flavors on a small budget.
Pre-planning your meals for the afternoon can also save you plenty of money. Pack a lunch for your day trip and you won’t have to stop to eat at the lousy tourist restaurant.
Hire a Private Chef
This might seem like a luxury but in a group costs will actually become affordable in a lot of countries. If it is $15-20 per person to dine out at a decent restaurant you could spend $6-9 per person on hiring a chef in a large group. Not only do you get to experience your own private chef coming to your rental home but you are saving money on an awesome experience and great food.
Booking Large Excursions or Day Trips
Often these tour operators want to book the maximum amount of people per trip to make the most amount of money possible. If you are alone or with just a couple friends you will likely pay full price per person. If you were in a group of 6-10 you will be able to bring the cost down for everyone. You are guaranteeing them the business and you are both getting what you want. Don’t ever settle for the quoted price on any excursion when traveling.
Overall, groups can be a little challenging to manage but when you save money it makes it a little easier.