Group trips are a great opportunity to explore a new place while bonding with old and new friends. But with so many different personalities at play, tense moments may arise every now and then.
Still, there are ways to make the experience more pleasant for everyone. As etiquette experts know, it mainly boils down to showing consideration for your travel companions.
“Etiquette is all about being mindful of other people, and group trips are no exception,” Nick Leighton, an etiquette expert and co-host of the “Were You Raised by Wolves?” podcast, told HuffPost.
To help make group trips more enjoyable and cut down on negative experiences, HuffPost asked Leighton and other etiquette experts to share some common missteps and advice for avoiding them. Here are six rude behaviors to avoid on a group trip:
Assuming everyone is always on the same page
“Etiquette crimes often happen when expectations are vague and people make assumptions, so best to have lots of clear communication before and during the trip to make sure everyone’s on the same page,” Leighton said.
Rather than booking lots of things yourself or declaring where everyone will go and what they’ll do, have a candid conversation with your travel companions about wants and needs. Make sure you know everyone’s dietary restrictions and driving abilities, for instance.
“Don’t assume that everyone likes the same thing and make decisions for the group without consulting the group,” said etiquette expert Juliet Mitchell, also known as Ms. J.
This is particularly important when it comes to expenses. Have an honest discussion about how much people are able to spend on accommodations, then use that to choose a destination and type of lodging.
“You can ask in advance about budgets, or you can put together a general travel itinerary with costs and ask for feedback,” said Jodi RR Smith, president of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting. “Don’t presume someone’s budget. Someone usually flush with cash may be frugal right now or someone who lives frugally may do so specifically to have the funds for a fabulous vacation.”
Not giving people personal space
“When friends are staying at a rental, everyone should respect each other’s privacy,” said Diane Gottsman, an etiquette expert, author of “Modern Etiquette for a Better Life” and founder of The Protocol School of Texas. “It’s not necessary to spend all your time together. If you are friends, you will notice if they are tired, or have had enough ‘friend time,’ and it’s important to give them their personal time and space.”
Be respectful of your travel companions’ comfort levels around togetherness, especially your introvert friends. Again, don’t assume everyone is on the exact same page.
“Not everyone wants or needs to be together 24/7,” Smith echoed. “Too much together-time is a sure way to ruin a group vacation.”
She recommended using the pre-travel planning process to determine which activities people want to do as a group and build in some downtime for those who want it. In the interest of respecting people’s boundaries, don’t borrow clothes or other items without permission either.
Expecting to be catered for
“When traveling to a friend’s home, with your friends, don’t expect the host to treat you as if you are staying at a hotel,” Gottsman advised. “Rent your own car if you are flying in, or take a ride share unless they offer to pick you up. Offer to do your own laundry.”
Even if you aren’t staying at a friend’s place, it’s always important to clean up after yourself when you’re sharing a space with others. And make sure to step up and do your part when it comes to division of labor.
“If you are renting a vacation home, you will need to discuss meal planning logistics,” Smith said. “Are you always eating in? or out? Will there need to be a grocery run? Meal prep, cooking and clean up should be delegated way in advance.”
Inviting others to join without consulting the group
Decisions that affect everyone should be made in consultation with your group. So don’t forget to have a conversation before extending an invitation to someone else to join you for all or part of the trip.
“There should be agreement about others,” Smith said. “Is there anyone else who may be joining you? From nearby relatives to a cutie your friend met at a bar, have a conversation about whether others will be allowed to join the group.”
Refusing to compromise
“Group trips are team efforts, so finding consensus and making compromises are always necessary,” Leighton said.
Remember during the trip and planning process that there will likely be some give-and-take whether it’s about choosing a time for dinner or sitting in the front seat of the car.
“Also understand there are ways to offer choices when traveling,” Smith said. “You do not need to always travel together to the destination. Instead, decide the vacation starts when you check into the hotel. Then one person can travel nonstop first class and the other can opt for a layover flight that saves them some serious cash.”
People can spend different amounts of time at the destination, so if there’s more you want to do that didn’t make it onto the itinerary, consider returning home a day or two later, and tackle it during your solo time at the end.
“You can all arrive for the long weekend, then you can extend your stay if you choose,” Smith explained. “Be open and flexible in your thinking to find a solution that will work for everyone.”
And try to be respectful of other people’s activity preferences, especially if they did some of the planning or heavy lifting.
“Put on a happy face,” Mitchell said. “No whining. You may not like everything, but have an appreciation for the efforts that are made for the food, the venue, the activity, etc.”
Not contributing your fair share
Don’t leave people hanging when it comes to payment. Ensure the group has a system for splitting costs and collecting money.
“During the preemptive conversation, in addition to the general budget, you should be discussing who the planner coordinator will be for the group,” Smith said. “Before the planner books anything, an email should be sent with the estimated costs and everyone should agree in the affirmative. If possible, try to have everyone pay for their own portion instead of having the planner have to play banker as well. If not, everyone should contribute upfront to the banker and then full costs settled out at the end of the vacation.”
Once an agreed-upon budget and payment system is in place, you have an obligation to stick to it.
“If you agree to share the costs, then prepare to share as agreed,” Mitchell said. “And it’s rude to not bring enough money and expect others to ‘front’ you until you get your next paycheck.”
Should any financial concerns arise, have a candid conversation with your travel companions. Don’t be presumptuous about what others are able to cover for you.
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