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Tips needed for vacationing with friends

dmharris

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We're headed to Ocean Pointe Sunday with friends (10+ years older than us, former neighbors, godparents to our youngest). We typically vacation alone or with children. I'm really looking forward to being with her as we now live in cities six hours apart. We're flying and they're driving; we'll rent a car for two days, then have the use of theirs.

She and I love to shop and do girl things, e.g. talk, giggle, look at pretty things, gardens, jewels, fashion, eat out, be princesses for a day or seven.

My husband likes to watch sports, especially the Indy cars and college basketball, read, eat out, is fascinated by the gangster era. Our male friend fly fishes, golfs, in his younger days raced cars, taught English, loves jazz, reads.

What is there in the area we should do as girls/guys/couples?

Any tips for sharing the two bedroom/lock off unit? Rules you have put in place with friends who you have invited to share your space? Things we should watch out for?

Thanks!
 

Passepartout

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I have no specific advice on the area where you are going, but one general suggestion for when couples (or even separate singles) travel together is to have a 'kitty' for common expenses- like groceries, eating out together, perhaps gas for the shared car. (individual expenditures are obviously kept out of it) but to have a common pot keeps anyone from feeling that they are sponsoring anyone else. This might require some open communication beforehand, but will avoid having uncomfortable feelings later- or ruined friendships.

Jim
 

dmharris

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Great suggestion! I didn't even think about this. Do you suggest a physical container for couples to put money or rather share the expense as they are made?
 

Passepartout

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Great suggestion! I didn't even think about this. Do you suggest a physical container for couples to put money or rather share the expense as they are made?

It's too hard to 'share as you go', so we just use a small zip-up coin-purse size, nylon 'stash'. We pull it out early in the trip when a shared expense occurs and say something like, "Here, we will put $50 (you decide the number) in the 'kitty' then pay the gas or lunch (or whatever shared expense) from it. Do you folks want to participate?" Whenever the funds get too low for the next expense, someone who is 'the keeper' of the stash mentions that the 'kitty' needs fed.

So far it's worked well for us and keeps anyone's feelings from being hurt.

Jim
 

Zac495

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I think it's important to make it clear that both parties may decide they want to do different things from time to time and that's FINE. We traveled with friends to Mexico and it was clear - no pressure. there were a couple nights we went out with our own families only. Sometimes the other woman and I would take walks, but the guys did their thing - and they played tennis and we didn't.

When we went out to dinner, we just split the meals.
 

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We traveled last year to Riviera Maya with another couple and their 2 older kids. Each of us had our own timeshare unit but would take turns cooking dinner in the villa some nights. We went grocery shopping and divided the cost always in half. The rental car we also paid 50% each.

I think the best thing to do is talk to your friends prior to your trip and decide how you want to handle your travel expenses. This will save you from any misunderstandings while you are already on vacation.


I have another trip booked with another friend this summer and we are paying for the timeshare exhange and my friend has offered to pay for the rental car. We will divide the gasoline expenses and any toll charges.

Have a wonderful vacation!:)
 

dmharris

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Thanks Ellen and Catira, Good advice. Communication is key!

We're really looking forward to flying to Florida on Saturday as it's snowing like crazy here, finally. It's been abnormally mild for Western PA.

Happy New Year!
 

mrsstats

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We travel with my brother & SIL at least 1x a year. What has worked best for us is that we each have our own car and we buy our own food for in the unit. Of course, we have no problem sharing things we buy.

As far as eating out, we just split the bill.

Many times we will do the same things but having our own car allows us the freedom of coming and going as we please.
 

zcrider

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After a few trial and errors with others I find it least annoying/ difficult to just keep the expenses separate. We buy our groceries you buy yours and separate checks at dinner. It is a bit less friendly feeling perhaps, but it keeps anyone from getting annoyed at how the other family spends/ does things. We usually agree on a few meals cooked together and share the cost for those, but keep the rest separate.
I find this helps keep us from over committing to each other as well since we will not be planning out every meal together.
 

MuranoJo

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Since you're shouldering the cost of the accommodations, you may want to suggest they pay for the rental car for instance, or at least a nice % of it.

Otherwise, we usually do 50/50 with friends. When getting groceries, we split (either pay our 50% at the store or someone keeps track of it and collects later).

Dinners out--sometimes each couple picks up their own, sometimes we both kick in 50%.

But I agree--it's very important to get the financial discussions out of the way before you go.
 

dmharris

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Our friends are driving their own car down so we'll have use of it except for the first and last couple of days when we're in separate places.

Any suggestions for how you work the common area? I think we'll be fine but I want to be aware of any problems we might encounter to avoid with conversation upfront. I know we're getting the Master bedroom and they'll take the lock off which affords them some privacy as they will have their own TV and mini kitchenette. We don't want to spend every waking minute together either.

Thanks!
 

vacationhopeful

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Get separate keys for the units. Set a get together time each night before retiring... waking up early or sleeping in gives options of not waiting to go do something in the morning.
 

dmharris

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Great idea, Linda as we do have different sleep patterns! By separate keys, I was wondering if the lock off has a separate key so will they need two keys? One for the main unit and one for theirs or should we only get them the key for theirs? Or does one key work both locks?
 

pjrose

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And also ask the front desk to set up separate billing for the two halves.

At our home resorts the key card = the billing card, and each card is assigned to a specific person so it's easy to see who charged what and to get a total for each card/person at the end of the week.

That could complicate the situation in the case of shared groceries bought at the resort's minimarket, but will keep other expenditures, such as massages or gift store things, separate.
 

vacationhopeful

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I like totally separate keys and bills. If i get shared groceries, i split the case of water, six pack of soda.etc

If I walk around semi dressed or naked, i don't have to worry about someone else just sitting there reading. I have an old fart friend who just does not understand I might not like him exploring how a dishwasher works at 5AM in my unit.
 

Passepartout

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I like totally separate keys and bills. If i get shared groceries, i split the case of water, six pack of soda.etc

Boy you guys like to complicate things. Simply pool your grocery money in the kitty and go shopping. Groceries are shared expense- even if only one of the four people go shopping.

PJ, massages are 'private' and as such should be billed to the individual.

Everyone gets keys to their own unit. Handy if there is a lockoff, some privacy of the bedrooms (like don't open a door without knocking) if there's no lock.

Traveling with another couple should be very simple with a little conversation at the outset.

Jim
 

pjrose

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Boy you guys like to complicate things. Simply pool your grocery money in the kitty and go shopping. Groceries are shared expense- even if only one of the four people go shopping.

PJ, massages are 'private' and as such should be billed to the individual.

Everyone gets keys to their own unit. Handy if there is a lockoff, some privacy of the bedrooms (like don't open a door without knocking) if there's no lock.

Traveling with another couple should be very simple with a little conversation at the outset.

Jim

Jim, I really like the kitty idea. I would use it when possible.

It would not work at resorts when there is a decent mini-market for groceries onsite but cash can't be used onsite, as in our home resorts. I agree that "a little conversation at the outset" will help avoid issues later. Several times we've brought along kids' friends, and we clarified at the outset with the parents that we would cover all the meals and activities, and they'd do the plane ticket and any souvenirs or individual shopping their teen did. The other teen had some cash, and otherwise used her keycard for her own purchases and everything else went on ours, so at the end it was easy to just go with the way it was split on the resort bill.
 

Passepartout

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Several times we've brought along kids' friends, and we clarified at the outset with the parents that we would cover all the meals and activities, and they'd do the plane ticket and any souvenirs or individual shopping their teen did. The other teen had some cash, and otherwise used her keycard for her own purchases and everything else went on ours, so at the end it was easy to just go with the way it was split on the resort bill.

An entirely different situation than the OP described. If bringing kids and their friends that you have agreed to sponsor, they are your guests. Any arrangement would be made with the kids' friends' parents. Some kids without their own parents' supervision and an open charging keycard might take advantage. J
 

pjrose

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An entirely different situation than the OP described. If bringing kids and their friends that you have agreed to sponsor, they are your guests. Any arrangement would be made with the kids' friends' parents. Some kids without their own parents' supervision and an open charging keycard might take advantage. J

Absolutely, but not in this particular case - we're talking 16-going-on-35.

And yes, it's a different situation - my intent was to underscore the wisdom of your suggestion of discussing financial plans in advance :)
 

easyrider

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For things I usually buy on a trip, Im willing to share as I would at home. That includes my phone, laptop, music, rental car, booze, smokes, most of my fishing gear and money. Just about anything.

Bar tab is what you drink you pay for. Dinner out is the same.

Things I sometimes don't like to share are my time and personal items while on vacation. That is why I always have a car. I want to come and go as I please. The other thing is the bathroom in the master suite. I don't like sharing this either. If you have to go then use the guest bathroom or go to your own unit, especially when were in Mexico and you have the squirts.

We have traveled with friends that are 10 to 15 years older. My observation is that older friends sometimes feel smarter because they are older but in reality they are just older. Don't let them slow you down and sometimes you may need to keep up.

The spliting cost thing is good if your not planning to spend much and your with family. I don't like the idea of asking or telling friends about my purchases, especially small under $50 stuff. It seems like a controll thing.

If I feel a friend owes me for something I will discuss it with them in private and expect the same.
 

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We also use a "kitty" and it works great - then you don't have to have the right change etc - every time you eat or get gas or whatever it comes out of the "kitty" :)
 

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We travel a lot with friends and family. The way we hande the lockoff is when each group is ready to face the day, they open the door on their side of the lockoff, so when the second door is opened it lets them know everyone is up. We talk about "must do's" for each person on the trip and usually each person plans one day's activities. We definitely make sure everyone gets what they want out of the vacation, which includes girls time, guys time, couples time, alone time. Usually if we have paid for the TS, the others pay for the rental car. We generally split checks, but if the others were generally bigger drinkers or eaters, I see no issue with getting seperate checks. The rest is shared 50/50.

Enjoy your trip!
 

dmharris

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It's great to see what others do; I'm getting excited to get to warmth and sun!
 
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