Best friends can chat about anything, but money can still be a sore subject. It’s awkward when one friend makes more money than the other because it can create embarrassment or shame for those with less income.
When it comes to travelling with friends, you’ll no doubt want to make it a memorable experience. But if your financial circumstances are different, it will be important to set boundaries when it comes to setting a budget and spending money while you’re on holiday.
Use these tips to deal with the friendship wage gap before and during your holiday.
Talk about money before going on holiday
Exploring the world is fun but costly.
Data collected in early 2023 showed that an average international holiday cost Australians €2800 (AUD $4600), while respondents from the United States reported an average vacation budget of about €2600 (USD $2900). That’s a significant amount of cash.
Discussing your potential spending abilities with your friends before leaving on holiday is crucial.
Pick a few destinations and ask your friends to create individual travel budgets. You can compare the final estimates to choose a place everyone can comfortably afford.
It’s also an opportunity for those who make more money to shrink their budgets and match their friends who have less spending ability. Those friends might also cover more travel expenses if the group wants to go somewhere more pricey.
Set personal spending boundaries
Your holiday rental home or hotel room will have a fixed rate for your stay. Other travel details may tempt you to spend more money than you’d like.
Instead of going into debt to buy fancy meals or too many souvenirs, set personal boundaries for what you’ll spend on each type of holiday purchase. That way, you’ll easily stick to your budget if you know how much you can spend on things like shopping, meals and experiences.
You could set yourself a total daily spending budget so you can stay on track instead of splurging for the first few days and not realising you’ve used up most of your funds.
Another thing to consider discussing with your friends before departing is which types of restaurants you’re likely to eat at. Perhaps suggest a mix of budget-friendly options and a few medium to higher end restaurants for the meals you want to make special occasions.
Also get clear on whether you’ll be splitting bills equally or paying for exactly what you eat, so you can avoid those awkward conversations when the bill arrives.
Find budget-friendly activities
Tourist-friendly areas may charge a premium for their destination’s most exciting attractions. Although you should see whichever famous landmarks or activities your heart desires, it’s easier to deal with the friendship wage gap by opting for budget-friendly activities.
Look for affordable things to do around your destination once you have a location in mind. Instead of paying costly theme park tickets for the entire week of your travels, you might opt for visits to national parks, small historic locations, and local festivals that are budget-friendly.
Stick to your budget
It’s crucial to practise saying no when someone pressures you to overspend.
Budgets only provide limited help if you’re willing to overlook your spending abilities to please your friends. If they want the best for you, they should respect your financial goals.
Saying no doesn’t bring an end to everyone’s fun. It only means your group should find something else that’s enjoyable to do together.
It’s also a helpful skill to bring back home since saying no strengthens your productivity skills at home and work.
Split group activities
Group activities can be the most significant financial stressor on holidays with friends. It may feel frustrating to let everyone have fun while you hang back due to spending limitations. When that moment happens, ask if there’s a way for everyone to pitch in for those experiences.
If everyone gives money to cover the group’s expenses, it may be more viable than if each person paid their own way. No one will have to miss out on any fun if everyone’s helping each other pay for shared adventures.
Avoid comparison traps
Holidays should restore your mental health. If you compare yourself to your friends the entire time, you’ll only feel worse when you return home.
Jealousy degrades your self-esteem, which might make you too unhappy to enjoy your experience. Envy also has physical effects, like increasing depression symptoms by activating the same neural pathways.
Practise positive affirmations before and during your trip to guard against comparisons. Openly discussing budgeting and spending abilities will also help you avoid situations where you feel left out.
Be prepared to negotiate
Compromising and coming to an agreement that works for everyone will ensure the best outcome when travelling with friends.
Be prepared to negotiate and keep a flexible approach to spending amounts. What works for one person may not be suitable for another.
If your friends are suggesting destinations that are way out of your budget, go to them with suggestions for alternative locations before opting out of the holiday completely. Lesser-known islands or smaller towns outside major city centres are often more affordable and usually offer a more authentic experience.
Likewise, renting an apartment or Airbnb instead of staying at an expensive hotel may cut your accommodation expenses right down. If the accommodation comes with a kitchen, it may offer an opportunity to cook a few cheaper meals instead of eating out every night.
Lastly, look at the dates proposed for travel to see if you can improve the cost. Travelling out of season will save you money on destinations that you might not be able to afford during peak summer, for instance.
Manage the friendship wage gap while on holiday
Every friendship group includes some people who make more money than their peers. If you want to go on holiday together, you have to work together to deal with the friendship wage gap.
Make money an open and ever-evolving conversation. Talk about your budgets and plan how everyone will pay for everything.
A bit of planning and inner encouragement will lead to the best adventures with your closest friends.