Awkward Conversations: When the Cost of Group Getaways Gets out of Hand
December 8, 2016 | Focus on Women
Want to get away? You and your friends have started planning a weekend getaway, but you have very different ideas. While you thought you might be camping or road tripping, they have turned the group vacation into glamping or relaxing at a five-star resort. So how can you rein them back in without causing tension? National etiquette expert Diane Gottsman offers advice for how to make awkward conversations a little bit easier.
1. Express your interest. Explain to your friends what attracted you to the idea in the first place—spending time with them, getting some fresh air or exercise, relaxing, experiencing a new place together. See if you share priorities or if they had different reasons for going, and try to come to a compromise.
“You just have to say, ‘I’m watching my budget,’” Gottsman said. “‘We started talking about one thing, and all of a sudden we’re staying in a hotel that’s double the price. Can we scale things back a bit?’”
3. Suggest alternatives. When a friend suggests a five-star resort or exotic locale, do some research to find comparable trips within your budget. Maybe instead of going to an all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean, you can find a condo in the Carolinas or Florida that has a full kitchen where you can make some of your meals. Emphasize the similarities, such as the beach or nightlife, and then close the “sale” with the lower price.
4. Offer to do some heavy lifting. If your friends aren’t excited at the prospect of grocery shopping or meal planning for a group getaway, offer to do the legwork and then let everyone know how much it will cost. Instead of eating out all weekend, go out for one amazing dinner—but then cook the rest of your meals.
5. Travel separately to the same place. If you can’t all agree on a location and plan, see if one or two of them might want to stay with you, or even share a room, in less expensive accommodations. You could also stay for a shorter period of time or find a less expensive flight. You’ll still be traveling with friends but customizing the trip to meet your needs.
“Let them know that you’d love to spend time with them but are going to stay elsewhere and can meet up with them throughout the trip,” Gottsman said.
6. Plan your own itinerary. A weekend with friends does not have to mean spending every second together. Whether you are staying together or separately, if your friends are going on excursions or dining at restaurants that cost more than you’d like to spend, it’s okay to go separate ways some of the time.
“If they want to go out every meal but you want to go different places, say, ‘I’m going to go elsewhere, but I’ll meet you after lunch,’” Gottsman said.
No matter how you address the situation, Gottsman said the key to having these awkward conversations is being civil, polite and respectful. When your friends want luxury but you want budget travel, hold back judgement and be proactive, not reactive, so that you can enjoy the moment with your friends and move past any uncomfortable planning moments. At the end of the day, friendship is what matters most, so following these tips can help you maintain strong, healthy relationships.