05/08/2012 03:58 pm ET Updated Jul 08, 2012

How to Share Vacation Expenses with Friends

By Lauren Coulston, Integration Manager, Women & Co.

What's your ideal vacation? Is it a road trip? Yoga retreat? A much-needed vacation with a friend sounds like a great idea, but it can get tricky once you get into the planning. When you have dinner out with friends locally, it's easy for everyone to put down their credit card and split the bill, but that's not necessarily the case when it comes to vacation expenses. Whether it's a tropical beach locale, a ski jaunt or a road trip, there can be a lot of issues to work through before you book anything, let alone start packing your suitcase. It's important to talk to your friend about things such as what type of vacation you like and how you'll split expenses during the planning process -- there's nothing worse than kicking off a vacation with disagreements over expenses.

Tips to Get Started:

Get on the same page. What's your vacation style? Do you go first class all the way? Or do you look for deals and savings wherever you can? Talk about this when you begin planning.
Plan your expense sharing strategy ahead of time. Will you both chip in equal amounts for a pre-paid credit card and use that for all expenses? Will one person pay for everything during the vacation and you'll settle up after the fact? Will you alternate paying for hotels? How will you handle paying for gas?
Be flexible once on vacation. Things will arise, such as an unplanned sunset cruise or a hidden gem of a winery, so allow for some changes from your initial itinerary and budgeting plan.
Re-group at home. Once you're home and back to reality, check in with your friend about the experience. Would you do it again? What would you change?

• Sharing vacation expenses with friends, other couples, or family is a great way to cut costs.
• Don't let haggling over expenses get in the way of a friendship!
• There are some great apps out there that can help you with tracking expenses.

About the Author:
As Integration Manager, Lauren manages Women & Co.'s strategic partnerships to syndicate content and build integrated programs on websites frequented by women. Lauren brings over 15 years of financial services experience and a passion for helping women feel financially empowered. Lauren holds a B.S. in Finance from Tulane University's A.B. Freeman School of Business. In addition to her role at Women & Co., Lauren is Events Chair of the Citi Working Parents Network NYC and serves on the Citi International Women's Day Steering Committee.