Dollars and Sense

A Strategic Approach to Group Travel Budgets
Wendy Diep
Let's Jetty Co-Founder

One of the sensitive, and yet often overlooked challenges when planning a group trip is considering individuals’ budgets amongst group members. Setting a strict budget for the entire group sounds like an impossible task… and that’s because it is. But there are ways to build an itinerary that ensures a harmonious travel experience that accommodates everyone’s financial preferences and limitations. 

Understanding Budget Styles

The first step in managing group trip budgets is acknowledging that everyone has different spending habits and financial capacities. A practical approach is to categorize budgets into different styles, such as $ (budget), $$ (moderate), $$$ (comfortable), and $$$$ (luxury). As trip organizer, encourage open communication by asking each group member about their preferred budget style, making it clear that there is no right or wrong choice. Expect this feature Let’s Jetty, the best travel planning app, designed specifically for groups (beta coming soon!) 

Majority Rules

Once you have gathered everyone's budget preferences, identify the majority budget style within the group. It's important to emphasize that this doesn't mean imposing strict limitations but rather setting a baseline that reflects the majority's comfort zone. This ensures that the group can plan a travel itinerary with activities and accommodations that align with the financial preferences of most members.

Flexibility and Mindfulness

Understanding that individuals may have varying interests and preferences, it's crucial to allow for flexibility within the group. If some members wish to indulge in experiences outside the majority budget, encourage them to do so. However, stress the importance of mindfulness and consideration. Remind group members who are planning activities outside of the group’s budget comfort to do so while those who might not participate in those higher-budget activities have alternative options for activities or other plans. This prevents anyone from feeling left out.

trip planning with a group on a budget

Clarity and Communication are Key

Direct and honest communication is the cornerstone of successful group travel planning. Establish a platform, whether it's a group chat, a shared document or Let's Jetty App where members can share their budget preferences clearly via our survey feature, or discuss any concerns that may come up using our reactions and comments on our message boards whether it’s “Things to Do” or “Places to Stay”. This creates a transparent environment, allowing everyone to voice their opinions and contribute to decision-making.

Plan Diverse Activities (and make costs known)

Build an itinerary that accommodates the different budget ranges. Mix in both free or low-cost activities and occasional splurges to strike a balance. This ensures that everyone has the opportunity to participate in activities that align with their budget style, fostering a sense of inclusivity. Remember, everyone should be able to opt-in or opt-out freely.

Emergency Fund and Contingency Plans

Encourage all group members to set aside a small emergency fund for unexpected expenses. Unforeseen circumstances may arise, and having a financial buffer helps mitigate stress and keeps the trip enjoyable for everyone. 


It’s hard to calculate an exact dollar amount budget, or to even expect that budgets won’t vary occasionally after expectations have been set. Creating an environment of understanding and open communication can pave the way for a successful and enjoyable experience. By acknowledging individual budget styles, emphasizing flexibility, and fostering mindfulness, you can ensure that everyone in the group feels included and has the opportunity to make the most of the adventure. And of course, there are tools that can help! Let’s Jetty is a group travel planning app designed for group travelers to plan together and stay on the same page.

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Let's Jetty is a group travel planning app that makes it easier, faster, and more enjoyable to plan group trips. With features like invitations, surveys, and an itinerary builder, planning a group trip has never been simpler.

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