Friendsgiving, forgoing family time in favor of a potluck meal with friends in honor of Thanksgiving, is gaining popularity as an alternative to turkey day celebrations. While the motivation to celebrate Friendsgiving typically comes from millennials who can’t or don’t want to deal with traveling back home for the holidays, it’s an ideal time to hit the road with your BFFs.
As you start planning the perfect Friendsgiving, consider these 12 tips – it’s easier to coordinate than you might think.
Choose your friends wisely
Before you hit the road, be sure to invite friends you know well and who get along. After all, you’ve avoided Thanksgiving with your family for a reason. It’s best to pick your friends who share similar interests or travel routines with you as well as budgets.
Try to find at least three people to go with you. A threesome runs the risk of alienating one person if the other two people want to do something together. With a quartet, the group can break off into two pairs and no one gets left out.
Discuss the trip, location and itinerary with your friends. Have each person pitch his or her ideas. Once you’ve settled on a destination, like New York City or Austin, Texas, assign each travel companion a different aspect of the trip to research; for example, one friend can research accommodations and another dining and other attractions.Search for flights to Austin
Stick to a budget
If avoiding your family Thanksgiving celebration has more to do with lack of funds rather than lack of fondness, it’s important to figure out a travel budget and stick to it. Traveling with friends can be a money saver, particularly if you are road tripping and sharing accommodations. Be sure everyone understands how much the trip will cost before booking tickets, accommodations and excursions. Discuss and agree upon how everyone will pay for his or her portion of the trip beforehand and during the trip.
If you are flying to your destination, get on the same page with your travel companions by discussing the following:
- Will you be going to fancy dinners or enjoying a night at the theater? If so, make sure everyone packs at least one fancy outfit.
- Are you all checking or carrying on your luggage? Make sure to come to a consensus and ensure everyone knows the size and weight restrictions, so the group isn’t waiting around for one person to check their oversized or overweight bag.
- If passports and/or visas are required, be sure your entire group has a passport and has applied for and received their visas in time.
- Discuss money issues. If you need to exchange money, be sure everyone understands what currency is used, what the exchange rate is, and how money will be obtained before the trip or upon arrival.
Compromise is key
Traveling with a group, even your closest friends, requires compromise. Leave your fussiness at home, avoid discussing controversial topics and focus on the excitement of exploring a new place with your pals. Communication and compromise are key. If one member of the group is overwhelmed by group travel or folks are getting over-tired, talk about it and consider changing up the itinerary.
Be careful not to over-schedule your day-to-day itinerary. Before the trip, determine what each person would like to do or accomplish on the trip. Perhaps some folks want to shop, others want to tour museums, and still others want to indulge in a spa day. Be sure to space out activities and plan them at times that ensure everyone can participate. In case members of your group get tired and you need to sleep in one day, a flexible schedule means you won’t have to cancel someone’s must-do activity.
Honesty is the best policy
Be honest with yourself and your friends. If you have a tendency to do annoying things like take forever to get ready in the morning or take a zillion pictures at each monument, meal and milestone, give your friends a heads up. Likewise, if they are doing something that annoys you, talk about it. It’s fine to disagree and may even make your connection and traveling compatibility better.
Set realistic expectations. There will come a time when nearly everyone in the group will want some alone time – whether that’s in the room, on the beach or at dinner. Let folks have their alone time without judging them or assuming they aren’t having a good time. Splitting up means you’ll have plenty of experiences and stories to share when you re-group.
Book an apartment or home
It wouldn’t be Friendsgiving without a turkey and all the trimmings. Booking a vacation home ensures you’ll have a kitchen to whip up a feast.
If you don’t feel like cooking on the road, find time for a Friendsgiving meal, whether it’s a traditional turkey feast at a restaurant or local cuisine at a farmers market. The goal is to enjoy sharing a meal and memories in the company of your closest friends.
Meet or make more friends
If you have friends at your destination, see if they will host Friendsgiving at their home or spend an evening out celebrating your friendship. Don’t know a soul in your vacay destination? No problem. Part of the fun of traveling is meeting new friends along the way. Be open to the possibility of connecting with new people and letting them join in your Friendsgiving.
Main image: istock.com/Ilya Terentyev