Group travel, shared spend

The Ultimate Guide to Budgeting Your Holiday with Friends

Planning a holiday with friends can be an exciting experience that promises unforgettable memories and experiences. However, to make the most of your trip without breaking the bank, it’s essential to create a well-thought-out budget to help you plan out how you can make the best use of your money. By setting a budget and sticking to it, you can ensure everyone enjoys the holiday while not breaking the bank. In this article, we will guide you through the process of budgeting your holiday with friends, from start to finish.

1. Discuss and Set a Collective Goal

Before diving into the nitty-gritty of budgeting, gather your friends and discuss your collective goal for the holiday. Establish the type of experience you want, whether it’s a relaxing beach getaway, an adventurous hiking trip, or exploring a vibrant city. By making sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to planning the holiday, you can make informed decisions when it comes to budgeting, and managing your shared expenses.

2. Determine a Budget Range

Once you’ve agreed on the destination and general activities, it’s time to determine a budget range. Consider everyone’s financial situations and set a realistic shared budget that accommodates all parties. Take into account travel expenses, accommodation, drinks & meals, activities, and any additional costs such as equipment hires (e.g. beach lounge chairs) and souvenirs.

3. Research and Compare

Thorough research is crucial for finding the best deals and saving money. Look for affordable flights, accommodations, and activities that align with your shared budget. Utilize travel websites, apps, and online forums to compare prices and read reviews from other travellers. Be open to alternative options that offer similar experiences at a lower cost. Remember, if you are sharing expenses then everyone needs to be comfortable with the budget set.

4. Allocate Costs and Responsibilities

Once you have a clear idea of the overall combined expenses, allocate costs and responsibilities among the group to manage the shared group spend. Create a shared spreadsheet or more practically use budgeting apps to track individual contributions and shared expenses.
Whilst many services can be purchase individually, others may need to be paid by a group member who can subsequently share the costs with other members. Clearly communicate who will be responsible for booking and making payments amongst the group so all the expenses can be easily tracked.

The iSpent19 App is designed to help travellers take care of shared spend, via its unique My Lounge shared spend tracking feature. Simply create a virtual private room for your holiday and invite other travellers into the room ahead of the trip. Whenever someone foots a bill for the group, they can simply push the transaction into the room to be visible to the group. The App will automatically accumulate all shared spend that requires split and calculate each member’s contribution needed in real time.

The shared spending App’s in-built Chat feature will allow everyone to comment on each shared transaction just work like your normal messenger apps on your phone. Attach the receipt to the transaction will save you from keeping paper receipts that could be lost in your trip and keeps everyone in the loop.

5. Plan and Prioritize Activities

Make a list of activities and attractions you want to experience during the holiday. Research their costs and prioritize based on your shared budget. Discuss with your friends which activities are essential and which ones can be skipped if necessary.
Keep in mind that there are often free or low-cost options for entertainment, sightseeing, and local experiences. Many can be booked in advance to keep cost down and you shared expenses in control.

6. Drinks and Dining

Food expenses can quickly add up, especially if you dine out for every meal. Consider allocating a portion of your budget for groceries and cooking meals together as a group, where self-catering accommodation is booked. Not only will this save money, but it can also be a fun bonding activity. However, be sure to indulge in local cuisine and treat yourselves to a few meals at local restaurants as well.

You can easily track shared meals in the iSpend19 App, if someone pays for a group meal then that person can just add and share the transaction in the private room so that everyone knows what they need to contribute.

7. Leave Room for Contingencies

It’s important to have a group contingency budget for unexpected shared expenses that may arise during your holiday. Allocate a small portion of your budget for emergencies, transportation mishaps, or spontaneous activities that you didn’t plan for initially. This will help you avoid stress and financial strain if something unexpected happens.

8. Communication and Flexibility

Maintain open and transparent communication throughout the planning process. Encourage your friends to share their concerns or financial constraints so that adjustments can be made accordingly. Remain flexible and be willing to compromise to ensure everyone’s needs and budgetary limitations are taken into account. Afterall, those who you invite on to the trip are those with whom you are likely to enjoy each others’ company. Clear communication and transparency, including money matters, goes a long way in maintaining friendship. Tracking spend on a mobile app can help the group easily keep the budget on track and ensure that everyone in the group is “in the know” when it comes to managing shared spend amongst friends.


Budgeting your holiday with friends is an essential step to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. By discussing goals, setting a realistic shared budget, researching thoroughly, and allocating costs responsibly, you can create a memorable experience without unnecessary financial stress. Use a mobile app to monitor, share and track spend amongst the group can help keep everything simple and easy to manage. Remember, the key is open communication, flexibility, and finding the right balance between frugality and indulgence. So go ahead, plan your dream vacation, and embark on an adventure with friends while staying within your shared budget!

Download iSpent19 on your iOS or Android mobile phone today. 

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