In a survey from Credit Karma, 39% of millennial respondents said they spent money they didn’t have to attend social functions with friends. And while fun experiences are one of the best ways to connect with friends, they’re not worth going into debt.
After all, if you can’t afford it, the stress could keep you from actually enjoying it. About two-thirds of respondents said they regretted spending money they didn’t have on events with friends.
But it’s not necessary to completely eliminate vacations, days out, or getaways for the sake of your budget.
First: Don’t be embarrassed to set a maximum price point before vacation planning begins. Being upfront and clear about cost can avoid uncomfortable conversations later on.
Do your research before booking the easiest option. It’s possible to get a luxurious vacation on a shoestring budget — like a castle in France from only $77 per night. And setting a price alert for flights means that one day could make a hundred-dollar difference in how much you pay for travel. And never write off a staycation, which can be a budget-friendly option to escape the tedium of daily life without actually spending on any transportation.
If it’s too late and you’ve already blown your budget on hotel/airfare before the vacation has even started, there are lots of ways to save money once you reach your destination. Consider buying snacks and groceries instead of eating every meal out (turn it into a group dinner party and you and your friends will likely have a better time than at a restaurant). And, as long as everyone is able, try to explore your destination on foot, instead of spending money on taxis.
Check out all of Travel + Leisure’s budget travel coverage for more tips on how to save on vacations with friends.