The five-step guide to handling a weekend away with your mates
You’ve finished your studies for the year, and you and your mates want to get away for some downtime. But how do you go about organising an awesome weekend away, and more importantly, how do you navigate the challenges that can arise from group holidays?
Someone has to guide the group
You don’t necessarily have to pick a ‘leader’, but someone has to step forward and lead the group closer to a final decision. A date needs to be picked, a location decided on, a house booked. It’s worth taking up this position; it comes with the perks of calling dibs on the best bedroom and possibly guilting your friends into buying you a six-pack or two.
Location! Location! Location!
It depends on what time of year it is, but there are two obvious options. For the warmer months, head down the coast. During the colder months, head to the snow. Find out if any of your mates own a beach/snow/holiday house that you can crash at for a few days - that’s the easiest option. Otherwise, Airbnb is your best friend – there are so many holiday houses to choose from. Work out what your budget is and go from there.
Also, consider your transport options. The closer the location, the easier and more accessible it is for everyone to get there, so road-tripping might be pretty cost-effective. Otherwise, sometimes a train or plane might be the cheaper option.
The guest list
It sounds like an easy task, but depending on how big your friendship group is, this can be a difficult task. Think about the following when working out who to cut from the list:
The house you stay in will probably only accommodate a certain number of people. This limits who you can invite;
Some people will have other commitments (work, family, travel), so you do have a little flexibility;
You’ll be cooped up with these people for several days so keep in mind who you can handle for long periods of time; and
Are people bringing plus-ones? Partners are always welcome, but it can double the number of guests.
The money situation
Someone is going to have to front some of the money. Usually the unofficial leader of the pack will end up paying a little more money upfront, but don’t forget to collect that money back from everyone. Share your bank deets and don’t be worried about asking for a measly $16.50 from everyone. While it might seem stingy, it’s the small figures that add up.
Sometimes you’ll have last-minute guests who didn’t contribute to the original cost of the house. This includes partners or invitees who realised they could come for a night, but not the whole weekend. Work out how much each person has paid per night and get the added guests to put their money into a communal fund that can help pay for groceries and booze.
What to do
First things first: bring a book or your laptop. While you’ll most likely be doing a lot as a group, there will be moments of downtime when you’ll need to entertain yourself.
Other things to bring for activities include a deck of cards (useful not just for drinking games), board games, alcohol, and weather-appropriate clothing. Swimmers in summer, ski boots in winter, and runners for hikes all year round.
Make a Facebook event as an easy way to communicate with everyone in your group, and post everything in that thread so that no one misses anything. Now, go away with your friends, book those beach houses, drink a little too much and enjoy the summer!
Peta Short is currently completing a Master of Communication at RMIT University.