How to Split Vacation Costs on a Group Trip

How to Split Vacation Costs on a Group Trip

May 25, 2020 | By

With fully packaged, guided tours, you really won’t have to worry about splitting costs, except for those dinners or activities that you do in your free time. But when you’re planning a group trip with friends or family on your own, you’ll want to make sure that one or two people don’t get stuck with the bulk of the bills, and you’ll want to do it in a way that doesn’t get you disowned or left out of the next trip.

Here are our top 5 tips for managing money on a group trip:

Plan ahead

Don’t wait until you’re on the trip to figure out money things for the trip. Just like you talked about where you want to go and what you want to see, it’s ok, and recommended, to talk about how much you want to spend and how you’ll split all the other vacation costs. Set a budget or at least make your travel buddies aware of your budget, so that the activities, accommodations, and dining options don’t leave anyone broke.

Once everyone’s clear on budget you should also discuss a plan of action for splitting costs. It’s pretty easy to split the bigger items such as lodging and transportation. The daily incidentals are where it starts to get tricky. Quickly discuss how you’ll pay for and split communal items and you won’t have to worry about feeling awkward or overpaying during your trip.

Set a deadline for repayment so you’re all on the same page, and it couldn’t hurt to send a calendar invite- people do forget sometimes.

Have cash

Splitting a bill is often easier with cash. It’s faster when paying and accepted virtually everywhere. Paying with cash on the spot also takes out the need to do currency conversion later on. 

Bonus tip: It’s also a great way to stay on budget. You can physically see how much money you have left and dial back or up the spending depending on how many days you have left of vacation

Create a communal money pot

This tip has personally worked really well on several group trips that I’ve been on. Everyone puts a certain amount of cash into a communal pot and we use it to pay for group expenses such as taxis, meals, or tips. You can do it with physical cash or send money to one person and have them pay however.

When the money runs out, everyone puts another bit into the pot. Whatever’s left gets split evenly and goes back into everyone’s wallets.

Assign a “spender” for different expenses

Sometimes one person is really excited about credit card points and volunteers to pay for everything and send out “invoices” at the end of the trip. If that sounds like a plan, but one person can’t or doesn’t want to be responsible for everything, you can designate a spender for each type of expense- meals, taxis, activities, tips, etc.  They keep track and you figure out who owes what at the end of the trip or once you’re home.

Use apps

A pretty easy way to keep track of expenses and split costs is using apps. Apps like Uber do the work for you- just add people to the ride and Uber takes out an even amount from everyone. Splitwise helps you keep track of and pay for expenses on the go.

Zelle, CashApp, Venmo, and PayPal are some other apps that make repayment easy. You won’t need to run to the ATM or meet up in person. 

Communicate & Be flexible

We all have a friend who eats & drinks way more than everyone else at dinner. Let ‘em live, but don’t be afraid to ask them to chip in a little more if they don’t do so on their own.  Money things will come up during the trip. Have calm and production conversations and all should go smoothly.

You’re there to have fun so while you want to respect whatever budget you put in place for yourself or that the group agreed on, don’t count every penny and communicate when things change.


In a romantic relationship and concerned about how to deal with money & vacation. Check out our “Baecation! But Who Pays for What”Baecation! But Who Pays for What? post.



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