A reader of WONDERMENTARY recently asked how I planned my trips. Girl, you’ve come to the right person, because I’ve certainly had my fair share of planning trips with friends by now.
This can be a tricky business, as everyone has different ideas on what they want to do, but there may not be enough time to do it all! So what’s the key to successfully planning a trip with multiple people? Communication and organization. Below, I will share some of my favorite tools that have helped us stay on top of our travel-planning game!
Enter my favorite tool, the one thing that I cannot live without when planning a trip: Google Drive.
Google Drive’s collection of collaborative tools makes trip-planning so easy. Here’s the process that I usually go through (and am currently going through, as I’m off to Portland next week!)
Create an itinerary using Google Docs
This does not have to be a strict, hour-by-hour schedule. Create an itinerary that will serve as an outline for the trip, adding ideas of what you’d like to do for each day. The best part about Google docs is its collaborative abilities – click the “share” button and you can adjust you want to share with and their editing capabilities.
Plot all attractions, housing, and restaurants on Google Maps
Did you know that you can create and save individual maps in Google maps? TBH, I find secret joy from plotting out all my possible destinations and seeing where they are relative to each other (anyone else out there feel this way?).
This is immensely helpful when trying to figure out the best way to hit up as many places as possible in my limited time.
So how to create a map?
- Go to https://www.google.com/maps/d/
- Click “Create a New Map”
- Go crazy! Customize symbols, create a bunch of layers, add driving directions, see how long it’d take you to swim across the Pacific Ocean…
Typically, for a single destination, I create a layer for “Things to Do,” “Places to Eat,” and “Where I’m Staying.” Gotta keep organized!
Split expenses with your friends using Splitwise
This app helps you keep track of how much money you owe each other. So, say, I paid $100 for dinner for 4 people. Then another friend paid $60 for gas, also for 4 people. We’d each enter our payment into Splitwise. Now, that friend who paid for gas would only owe me $10 instead of $25 because he/she paid my $15 portion of gas. Don’t want to do the math? Let Splitwise do it for you!
Create a budget using Google Sheets
This is an area that I could use more work on…? I typically start making a budget, feel overwhelmed/discouraged by the unknown costs, then give up. But this is a necessary skill and I will try harder to budget for my upcoming trip to Greece using Sheets. So if you’re awesome at personal finance, drop a sister some tips!
Now that I’ve armed you with my best tools and tips, go plan a trip with some buddies!
Have you ever planned a trip with friends? What worked? Didn’t work? Please share in the comments below!
Thanks for reading – and bon voyage!