How To Plan A Trip With Friends: 9 Easy Steps

How To Plan A Trip With Friends: 9 Easy Steps

How To Plan A Trip With Friends: 9 Easy Steps

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Traveling with a group?  This easy step-by-step guide on How To Plan A Trip With Friends will take the guesswork and frustration out of your next adventure.

Trip planning can be overwhelming and stressful. Traveling with friends can lead to anger or even lost relationships when preparation is neglected.

Let us help you make the most out of your next vacation with friends using these nine easy steps.

1. Why Do I Need A How To Plan A Trip With Friends Guide?

Traveling itself can be stressful.  However, traveling with a group can bring stress to a whole new level.  I learned this lesson the hard way and vowed I would never travel with a group again, that is until I discovered some simple steps to ensure we all have a good time.

Friendships Can Change During Travel

Group travel can either make or break our relationships.  Unfortunately, sometimes we don’t really know our companions until we spend several solid days and nights vacationing with them.  Tensions can rise and moods change, so a game plan is necessary to assure us our adventure will be enjoyable.

Nobody wants to have to tread carefully or be on their best behavior while on vacation.  We want to relax, have fun, enjoy our friends, and be free to do our thing.  These steps will help you to be organized, and ensure that everyone is on the same page. In turn, this guide will alleviate frustration and missed opportunities.

Preplanning will help to eliminate wasted time deciding “what should we do now”.  This will allow everyone to better enjoy their time together.

Start with why: planning a trip

 2. Intention and Overall Vibe of the Trip

Stating the intent of the trip is the most important step.

Every other step in planning a trip with friends revolves around this step.   A trip without a purpose or stated intent can easily lead to boredom, missed opportunities, guest rumblings, and frustration.

Every trip will have a different purpose.  Relaxing, gambling, hiking, meditation, spa experience, wine tasting, and tearing up the town have a particular purpose or vibe you want to experience.  Solace and meditation will be a completely different type of trip than a bachelor party of shots and strippers.

A simple statement of intent or purpose to your invitees allows them to easily accept or decline the travel opportunity.  More importantly, it allows you to prepare your invite list, knowing that your guests are in agreement with your overall plans.

Examples of an Intent Statement

This is a spa retreat.  A completely relaxing trip: no bus tours and no shopping.  This is a weekend to indulge ourselves in luxury spa treatments and “girl talk”.

We are going to craft all weekend at the annual Make a Craft Convention.  This means “bring your soft pants and craft supplies”, not we’re going on a catamaran whale watching tour.

Imagine, being invited to a mountain cabin with your best friend, only to find out that it is a mastermind of entrepreneurs like herself.  You unknowingly accept the invite because it’s the mountains. This sounds like a great time to spend sipping wine, reading magazines, and watching movies.

Where you thought you and your friend would sit around bonding, gossiping, and eating junk food the trip has turned into whiteboards, think tanks, and misery.

This may sound a little far-fetched but worse trips have happened.

 Create a Great Experience

Every adventure whether it be a road trip with friends, a camping trip with friends, or a trip abroad with friends will have a different dynamic, vibe, and intention.

Take time to identify these factors as outlined in this How To Plan a Trip with Friends Guide.  From past experience, I have been on some miserable trips because the intention was unclear.

Help create a great experience with your friends by stating the intent of the trip before anything else!

What vibe will you create

3. Identify The Group Of Friends Traveling

Remember, not everybody is suited for every trip.  Likewise, not everyone wants to participate in every getaway opportunity.

Intention, finances, and length of the trip are defining factors.  Be clear with the intent of the trip so that your travel partners can make a decision, as to whether or not they really want to go.

Choosing the right travel partners for the right adventure will add to your overall enjoyment.  Some trips easily cater to large groups while others are best experienced by a smaller more intimate guest list.

Simply stated:

Who is going on this trip?

Some friends want to hike while others want to booze it up.  There are weekend shopping trips, Big City Christmas Lights Displays, and relaxing spa trips.

A couples retreat will differ from that of a girl’s or a guy’s weekend trip.  Your church group friends’ interests might differ from your mastermind group of friends.

Identify who is going on the trip.  Collect names, emails, and phone numbers for easy communication.

How many people are going on this trip?

The number of people may significantly impact the experience you want to create for your group.  Every single decision from this point forward depends on this step.  From transportation to having meaningful conversations your group size will dictate every opportunity.

STROTIP:  For groups larger than 8, consider an all-inclusive destination.  Resorts are designed to cater to larger groups as well as small groups.  Seating at meals is easy, as well as the in-house entertainment. There is always plenty of room to relax, party, and explore. 

Whereas, a smaller group of 2-8 people, can generally find seating in clubs, restaurants, and other entertainment venues.   Transportation between venues is much easier with fewer people.

Leaving this step to chance causes frustration on every end. Members of the group may feel left out, or irritated, and will not enjoy the trip if the destination is difficult to maneuver.  (Have you ever seen the Bride Train of 15 girls parading through the casino?  Nobody looks happy)

Identify the group, get a commitment, and begin the planning.

Who is going on the trip

4. The Pre-Travel Planning Meeting


The Pre-Travel Planning Meeting is necessary and creates a foundation for the trip.  It should cover 4 main topics:

  • Designate a point person
  • Set the budget
  • Agree on expectations
  • Pick a location

For large group trips, it is advisable to consult a travel professional.  However, you can easily plan your trip with friends, yourself, or by consulting with your pack of travelers.   Be warned though, too many voices can lead to indecision and overwhelming choices.

How to plan a trip with friends: 2 girls discussing a humorous horrible idea.

Designate A Point Person

The Pre-Travel Meeting is the perfect time to designate a point person for the trip.  The Point Person and Host of the trip do not need to be the same person.

The main job of the point is to help with travel arrangements, make necessary reservations, help develop an itinerary and ensure that the trip remains within the agreed budget.  The Point Person will need to communicate with travelers on a regular basis and be detail oriented.

This may sound a little overboard as far as the delegation of duties, but which is worse:

A.  All reservations and daily itineraries are organized.


B.  Standing around asking “Where do you want to go to dinner” or, “What’s the plan for the day”?

Set a Realistic Budget

For many travelers, budget is a big concern.  While some may have an unlimited resource of money, others may have more limited finances.

There may be times the host may need to adjust the trip itinerary to accommodate their comrade’s financial ability.  Other times, the itinerary, adventure, and cost dictate your travel partners.

At any cost, never money shame travel companions into overspending their budget.  Friendships are often lost over disputes involving money.

Developing a realistic budget for the trip can help alleviate any surprises and undue stress.

STROTIP:  As a travel agent and personal trip planner, I often ask my clients and friends to tell me where their comfortable budget lies.  Building an itinerary around realistic cost expectations is much easier.  Of course, you can easily add in splurges and eliminate less important experiences. 

For instance, when we travel to Las Vegas with friends, we might opt to splurge on an over-the-top dining experience rather than overpriced bottle service at a club.  Your group might be the exact opposite.  Money and experiences all boil down to personal preferences. 

Consider these costs when making a budget:

  • Airfare
  • Lodging
  • Transportation
  • Meals
  • Entertainment
  • Special Clothes
  • Incidentals

You, the Host, need to weigh the options and set a budget that is affordable for the group that you want to travel with on this trip.  There might be excursions during the trip that are optional as well.  We will cover this more in the itinerary section.

What Are The Real Costs

The Pre-Travel Planning Meeting is a good time to discuss payment responsibilities and commitment.  Stating upfront costs, as well as incidental costs, is important.

Confusion and frustration often set in when one member of the group starts buying dinner one night and expects everyone else to pick a night to treat.  This is an unnecessary burden UNLESS discussed ahead of time.

Unfortunately, uneven or undefined financial responsibility has the ability to break a friendship.

Timelines and commitment deadlines can also be discussed in the budget session.  Unavoidable circumstances happen all the time, however, does that mean the rest of the group should have an increase in financial burden if someone has to cancel?

It is always best to state the terms upfront.  There is nothing worse than someone dropping out at the last minute and your price just jumped $1000.

How you handle this situation is completely up to you but it needs to be defined and stated.

Setting a budget is an important step when planning a trip with friends.

This Is a Good Time To Talk About Expectations

Every person will have some type of personal expectation concerning the trip.

Some may expect to explore every part of this new city, from sun up to sun down, while others friends are late risers and have no desire to sightsee.

Likewise, you might be expecting to indulge in a spiritual journey and your friends want to go to a club.  Don’t ever assume you know what your group is expecting.

Have everyone share their expectations with each other.

Pick a Location

The best opportunity to decide on a venue or at the very least, discuss possible destinations is during the Pre-Travel Planning Meeting.

Deciding on a location incorporates all of the preceding steps.  Aligning your intention, budget, and group dynamics will quickly help you narrow your destination focus.

In a perfect world, everyone will be able to attend the pre-travel planning meeting and add to the conversation.  Travelers not included in the discussion may have ideas or excursions that are important to them.

Communication is a key component when traveling with friends, especially when planning daily activities.

Location: where will you go?

5. Develop An Itinerary


Now that the preliminary work and foundation are set, it is time to plan your trip with friends.  This is the most fun part of pre-planning!  Research and proper scheduling and timing will enhance your getaway experience immensely.

When your companions know the schedule and have contributed, however, loose it may be, everyone feels included.  Being organized will cut down on unnecessary texts, stress, and frustration in the group.

Whether you are using a professional tour company or arranging a small group camping trip, the principles are the same.  Let your people know where and when the activities or excursions are scheduled.

Here are some important steps in creating the itinerary for your trip with friends:

  • Research and suggest points of interest
  • Schedule breaks
  • Keep in mind group suggestions

Develop an intinerary

Research and Suggest Points of Interest

As the designated trip planner, you may need to research and suggest points of interest to your group.  Even a long weekend getaway to a cabin retreat may require some suggestions of things to do in the area, such as a local winery or restaurant.

Some in your group may want to hit the ground running, sightseeing and shopping, while others in the group may want to enjoy an afternoon lounging at the pool.  Since the possibilities are endless, a good trip planner covers all the basics and includes something for everyone.

Schedule breaks

Scheduled breaks or free time allows your friends to do something that didn’t make the itinerary list.  Shopping, browsing a nearby art gallery, or reading quietly on their own could be just the reset they need.

Breaks are important to any itinerary.

Everyone Has A Say

Including the members of the group in the planning can make or break a friendship.  Taking suggestions can help ensure everyone’s trip needs are met, especially on multi-day vacations.  Their differing ideas can add to the overall experience of the trip.

Simply ask the group to submit 3 suggestions they would like to do or see on the trip.  Make a list and the most popular and feasible suggestions for the group as a whole become part of the itinerary.  The least popular or more individualized items might be accomplished during the scheduled free time.


Giant flower in chihuly garden, seattle, wa.

StroTip:  A well-designed itinerary considers the proximity of daily activities such as sightseeing, meals, and other entertainment.  Leaving ample time for your travelers to enjoy their visit while considering transit times is super important to the overall experience. 

Relying on ride-share and mass transit can impact your travel plans.  Likewise, not everyone moves at the same speed and ease.  Make sure your itinerary and timeframe are realistic.

6.  Travel Arrangements and Reservations

Any How to Plan a Trip with Friends Guide would be incomplete without this step.  As the trip planner, you are going to have to keep track of arrivals, departures, and any other reservations.


Travel arrangements can be tricky, especially if your group is scattered around the globe.  Allowing your companions to make their own arrangements can help reduce your workload and potential financial obligations.

However, it is wise to give your friends some parameters, such as “arrive by” and “depart by” times.  Otherwise, you could be making multiple trips to the airport or train station.

Hotels, rental units, and campgrounds have stated check-in and out policies.  Likewise, you should incorporate these details into your itinerary.


In our post-pandemic world, you will find that you are going to need reservations in most touring destinations and eateries.

Piling six people into a winery on a Saturday afternoon without reservations might result in being turned away.  Likewise, waiting for a table to come available in a trendy cafe’ might cut into a scheduled tour time.

Reservations will ensure that your group is able to experience everything the trip was designed to bring without frustration and lost opportunities.

Reservation form

7. Communication


Communication is imperative during the trip planning process because it will:

  • Alleviate Stress
  • Promote unity

Alleviate Stress

As you plan your trip with friends, make sure everyone has a copy of the itinerary.

Why leave your guests in the dark, unless of course, the trip is designed to be that type of adventure?  A simple spreadsheet or document with the details of the trip, contact information, and any other important information should be able to be easily accessed by all.

Promote Unity

The unity of the group before departure can be fun and helpful.  Whether you use an email chain, messenger app, or a social media private group to talk, the guests will feel included.

Conversation amongst the group builds excitement and expectation for the trip.  For those who may not know each other as well, it will help them start to bond and build a rapport.

Ask questions like:

  • Will any of the dinners be formal?
  • We have free time on Tuesday and I was thinking about going to the Farmers’ Market.  Would anyone like to come with me?
  • Hey, I’m looking for a new weekend bag, does anyone have some suggestions?

Questions open up dialogue and dialogue helps to gel a group experience.

8. In Case of Emergency


Even the best-laid plans sometimes develop a hiccup.  Missed or canceled flights, illness, weather, and travel restrictions occur every day.

Having an open conversation on what to do in case of an emergency is far easier before a situation arises.

 What If?

When you plan a trip with friends, consider and plan for the What If scenarios.  Discuss possible outcomes and develop a fail-safe procedure to keep everyone safe.

Possible What-If and emergency scenarios:

  • What if I lose my passport?
  • What if we miss the cruise ship departure?
  • Do you know if your travel companions have a food or medicine allergy?
  • What will you do if someone in your party goes missing?  How long will you wait to notify the proper authorities?
  • Does anyone in your group know how to fix a flat tire?
  • Sure, these are bummer questions to ask, but it is always better to be prepared.

Emergency Contact Form:

Provide an emergency contact form for your group.  Sure, we know our friends’ families, but do we know how to contact them in the event of an emergency?

This downloadable form should help you keep all of their emergency contact information readily available.

It is a good idea to have both a paper copy and an electronic copy of all Identification Cards and travel documents.  A little preparation can save hours of time, especially if you lose your passport or identifying documents.

9. Final Thoughts: How To Plan A Trip With Friends



 Travel with friends and have fun

Using the How To Plan a Trip With Friends Guide will help you step-by-step as you plan a trip with friends.  You will stay organized and reduce the frustrations of trip planning.

Whether it’s a 10-day Mediterranean Cruise or a 3-day Road Trip to Chase Waterfalls, these principles are important to ensure you achieve the last step.


More than anything, your friendships are important.  Have fun, laugh a little, and then some more!

Thanks for reading!  Now go forth and travel on!

5 Important Safety Tips For Tires and Traveling

5 Important Safety Tips For Tires and Traveling

.****As an Amazon affiliate, we may make a small commission from your purchase at NO extra cost to you.


Road miles add up quickly.  Here are 5 important safety tips for tires and traveling.

The bottom line is:  As a road traveler, it isn’t a matter of IF, it is a matter of WHEN will you have a flat tire?

Whether your tires are brand new or have a few thousand miles on them, anything can happen at any time.  You can run over a nail, smudge a curb or just have a slow leak.  What are you going to do?  Are you prepared?

For 20 years, Robb and I, have been driving up, down, and throughout the country.  Sometimes we have trailers and sometimes we just have Tugg, our Chevy Equinox.  We have had more than our share of tire mishaps.  On one particular trip, we blew 4 trailer tires on our cargo trailer!!! 

As prepared road warriors, we know that we can be in some difficult situations.  Road conditions are not always smooth driving.  Changing weather conditions, uneven lanes and debris in the road are all dangerous to our tires.  Even cautious drivers will experience tire blowouts and it can be freaking scary when it happens.

A blowout sounds like a bomb!

What’s even more frightening is that you could swerve into the next lane or into the ditch.

While we can’t tell you how to prevent a blowout we can share some important preventative measures that may help you feel safer on the road.


The ALARM!!!

The Mothership is equipped with a TPMS and thank goodness for it.  Just this past week, coming in through Interstate 70, the alarm beeped.  Robb pulled over immediately and found that our sensor had jiggled loose and the air was quickly escaping.

Can you imagine what would have happened if we went flat?  Our Renegade is not equipped with a spare tire.  You might think this is irresponsible on our part, however, even if we had a spare, we wouldn’t be able to change it. Our tires weigh about 150 lbs.  For us, we have to wait for roadside assistance.

Conversely, our trailer usually contains two spare tires.  Robb and I have our tire change routine down to a science.  Most times it only takes us about 17 minutes to swap out a blown tire for the spare.

The Trailer-Aid Tire ramp has come to the rescue so many times we lost count.  Changing a tire on a trailer is not so easy using a jack.  With this block, you either pull up or back up onto it, raising the flat tire off the ground.  Swap the tires out, and go on down the road.

Here are 5 important safety tips for your tires and travel.

  • Check your tire pressure frequently. Road miles and heat will cause your tires to expand. Your tire pressure will increase.  Know how much pressure you should have in your tires.  Stop and get air if you need more, likewise, release some air if the pressure is too high.  This Digital Tire Pressure Guage is a great tool to have in every vehicle you own, plus it makes a nice stocking stuffer!



  • Invest in a TPMS. Tire Pressure Monitoring System., especially if you are towing a trailer of any sort.  The TPMS has saved us hundreds of dollars in blown tires.  Because the system alerts you to overheated tires and air pressure, you have time to pull to a safe space and investigate the situation.  Let me tell you, it is far better to get off the interstate than to change a tire on the driver’s side of the trailer while traffic is racing by you.
  • Put an eyeball on the tire.  Are the cords showing through? Are there any visible nails in your tire?  How soon do you need to replace your tires?


  • Check your tools! Do you have a spare tire, jack, and wrench to fix the tire?  Even if you are physically unable to change the tire yourself, having the necessary tools to do the job is important.  Imagine somebody coming to your aid and not being able to help because there is no spare.  Check this now!


  • Do you have roadside service?  Do you know your policy # and telephone number?  It is a good idea to keep this information handy.  In fact, have it in several places.  Your phone, in the glove compartment, and maybe even in your wallet.  Roadside assistance is especially important if you are physically unable to fix a roadside problem.

Keep in mind, safety first! A little preventative measure can save you a lot of headaches, stress, and anxiety.

    Where do you want to travel next?  This article is sure to give you a few ideas! 

    14 Orlando Area Attractions That We Enjoyed Beyond The Mouse.

    Be mindful, travel safe, and adventure often! 

    Essential Road Trip and RV Resources

    Essential Road Trip and RV Resources

    *We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases, at no additional cost to you.   Click to review our privacy policy.

    Essential Road Trip and RV Resources

    Not all roads lead to the same destination. In fact, sometimes a wrong turn can be disastrous. Before anything, you are going to want to check out these Essential Road Trip and RV Resources.  Whether you are camping, sightseeing, or driving alternative routes you want to consider all of the possibilities.  

    These apps and websites will help you navigate the roads less traveled.  It sure doesn’t hurt to save money along the way.

    Essential Road Trip and RV Resources:

    RV Trip Wizard: 

    is our new favorite trip-planning tool.  Entering your destination, the wizard will plot your route, miles, travel time, fuel costs, site costs, and estimated food and entertainment expenses.  Sometimes scenic byways prohibit RV and trailer traffic, so it is better to plan your route with an app that takes all that into consideration.   Trust me; you don’t want to be caught on Apache Trail or Rt 66 into Oatman in a 40 ft. Super C. 


    This app points out attractions along the route.  Maybe you want to see a ghost town or a quirky roadside tourist trap.  Roadtrippers shows campgrounds, eateries, and places of interest as you travel to your destination.


    This membership provides access to many “off the beaten path” campsites.  Many independent landowners provide unique remote camp spots for travelers. By using our link you will save $10 on your first booking. 

    Roadside America:

    This fun website provides travelers with those quirky tourist traps we love to visit.  Want to find the biggest ball of twine or maybe The Thing?  Roadside America is the website for you.

    Gypsy Guide:

    This app narrates comprehensive driving tours of many national parks, scenic drives, and tourist destinations. The tour guide is well-studied and has a pleasant voice. He may even direct you down a secret road to a secluded beach.   Destinations include Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, and Hawaii. 

    National Park Service: 

    NPS is your guide to all things National Parks.  Information about hiking, camping, road closures, and reservation requirements is available. 

    StroTIP:  If you are planning on visiting more than 1 National Park this year, buy a National Park Pass and save $$$$.  Last August, we bought our pass for $70 and visited four parks for a $50 savings.  This year we are exploring eight more parks bringing our savings to $290. 

    RV Parky: 

    RV Parky locates Walmart, Cracker Barrel, Casinos, and campgrounds along your designated route.  Users are encouraged to leave reviews and updates of their overnight stay.  The app conveniently links phone numbers and GPS directions to your desired locations.  

    StroTIP:  Always call big box stores before pulling in and getting comfortable.  Situations and boondocking rules change all the time.  

    USA Rest Stops: 

    This app locates possible rest stops along most major interstates and highways.  Whether you are in a motorhome or corvette, you are going to need facilities on your road trip.  Take the guesswork out of planning your next bathroom break and use this app.  

    Harvest Host and Boondockers Welcome:

    Harvest Host and Boondockers Welcome are strictly for the self-contained boondocker.  For a small fee, members have access to over 2000 unique camping locations.  Spend the night at local wineries, breweries, and farms across the US, Canada, and Mexico.  Did I mention you stay for FREE?

    TSD Logistics:

    Save Big Bucks if you drive a Diesel.  Get huge discounts of up to .65 a gallon on diesel fuel purchases.   Did you know big rig truckers get huge discounts on diesel fuel purchases?  They do, and now you can too!  TSD Logistics has a Diesel Fuel buying program that is free to join and can save you a ton of money when you fuel.  The savings vary depending on where you fuel and the discounts TSD is able to negotiate with the fuel stations.

    Currently, you can expect a discount off the posted pump price of anywhere from .16 to .65 cents and you get to keep 90% of that.  The other 10% is the fee TSD charges for the savings.  No joke that is a .59-cent savings per gallon.  Talk about money in your pocket.  This is absolutely one of the biggest ways to save money we have found.  When you use 3,000 gallons of diesel a year the savings add up quickly.  For us over $1,500 last year.  Wow, just wow.

    USE THIS CODE:  RVRS1124 or Robert Strobridge

    StroTIP: Save Big Bucks if you drive a Diesel.  Get huge discounts up to .65 a gallon on diesel fuel purchases just like the big rig drivers.  TSD Logistics has a Diesel Fuel buying program that is FREE to join.  You pay them a small commission based on your actual savings.  We saved over $1,500 this year in fuel costs!  Wow, just wow!  Show us little love and put my name where it says Referred By: After you save $500 they will give us a $25 fuel credit.  You can do the same thing with your friends.  Click here and start saving the Big $$$.

    Gas Buddy:

    Everyone who drives can benefit from using Gas Buddy.  This app helps identify current fuel prices.  Ask yourself, why would you pay $.10 more a gallon for fuel than you need to?  Sometimes gas stations right next door to each other can vary in price.  Save money on fuel every day.

    Get Upside:

    SAVE MONEY ON FUEL.  Fuel prices are already on the rise so every penny counts.  Get Upside finds the station with the biggest discount near you.  It’s easy to use and your savings build up and you can transfer them to a gift card or PayPal.

    StroTIP:  Best of all if you refer your friends at no cost they save 15¢/gal on their first fill-up, you get 1¢/gal a gallon every time they fuel. 

    Why not share the love and save some $$$.  Give it a try if you have to get gas — every dollar counts right now!  Use this link or enter my promo code ROBB5993 to get an extra 15¢/gal cashback on your first purchase:  I’ll also get an extra 15¢/gal cash back after you use the app (so thanks!) 


    As travelers, we realize that sometimes camping in our RV doesn’t work out.  There are times when we want to rent a home so that family or friends can stay with us.  When we travel to Hawaii or anywhere internationally, our RV stays parked.  Check out VRBO for all of your vacation housing needs.

    Get Your Guide

    We are big fans of taking tours.  Are you?  Check out Get Your Guide in whatever local city you are exploring.  Whether it is a white water rafting day or a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon, you can find something fun here!

    Sometimes it is necessary to rent a vehicle, even if you are an RVer.  Once in a while, we will pick up a Jeep so that we can explore a little “off-road”.  Other times we may rent a mini-van if friends are joining us.  You never know when you might want to change it up a little.  You can rent a car right here!

    Getting to and from the airport just got a little easier.  Rather than paying to park your tow vehicle, think about getting a private transfer from the airport to your rig.

    We hope that you find value in using these twelve essential road trip resources.  As full-time traveling RVers, we understand the value of free camping and fuel discounts.  Over the last 3 years, we have traveled coast to coast several times and have clocked over 100,000 miles.  Saving money where we can is necessary.  We use these twelve essential road trip resources often and we hope you will too.

    When you travel, do you calculate tolls into your budget?    In a standard car, a single toll might only be $5. Driving through that same toll in our Renegade Verona with a triple axle trailer can cost us $50. We need to be aware of toll roads and avoid them if possible.  You can read about our experience here.

    Thanks for reading!

    Travel Safe and Adventure Often!

    Ten Actions We Can Take To Support Small Businesses Without Breaking Our Bank

    Ten Actions We Can Take To Support Small Businesses Without Breaking Our Bank

    Ten actions we can take to support small businesses without breaking our bank

    Today, more than ever before, small businesses need our help.  2020 played havoc with so many industries and the livelyhood of many entrepreneurs.  It is time we help them, support them and give them the much-deserved recognition.  There are ten actions we can take to support small businesses without breaking our bank.  In this article, we are going to spell it out!

    Did you know that advertising is one of the highest expense line items on a business’s profit and loss statement?  Right behind salaries and taxes, advertising and marketing are our highest expenses. “You have to spend money to make money, right?”

    Whether a company chooses print ads, like newspapers or billboards, or face-to-face advertising like conferences and networking events, advertising expenses are eating into our bottom line.  We advertise for the future hope of making a sale.  Sometimes our endeavors work, and sometimes they fail.


    How much do you spend on advertising and marketing?

    These days, advertisements litter our blog feeds, social media, and email.  Marketers are paying premium prices to place ads where consumers will see them and hopefully purchase their offerings.  Make the sale, offset the cost of the advertisement and increase the bottom line.  It is a vicious cycle.

    For instance: Before COVID-19 and the shutdown,  most of our marketing was face to face at tradeshows and conferences.  The average cost for each show was around $5000, and we exhibited at five different shows throughout the US.  Our advertising budget between booth space, travel expenses, and collateral promo materials averaged around $25,000 a year.  That is a lot of money.

    However, the good news is we only needed to land one contract to consider our efforts successful.  Most times, we would book 2 or 3 or more clients from that show.  Booking a client was essential to offset the expense.  Sometimes the conference did not work out for us, creating a significant loss for the endeavor.


    But this is basic economics, and we don’t need to belabor the point.  We want to talk about the power of the referral and give you ten actions to support small businesses without breaking our bank.  These are simple steps to help our friends, family, and fellow entrepreneurs increase their exposure and, hopefully, their bottom line.

    Social media outlets, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube, are vast advertising and marketing platforms.  Their exposure can also be quite costly and even ineffective if not used efficiently.  All of these channels have algorithms that determine the direction your posts take and who they are shown to.  Simply put, your posts have to meet specific criteria so that your potential client will see them.  There is a hitch, though, and it is this:  These platforms change their algorithms all the time, so we never really know what to do and how to do it.

    What we can be sure of is, the power of a referral is still king.  Telling your friends, family, and circle of influence is the number 1 most cost-effective and straightforward way to share your favorite business and help them succeed.


    Here are ten ways to support small businesses without breaking our bank: 

    1. Follow your favorite small business’s on Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Snapchat…wherever they are…follow them.
    2. Like and Love their posts.
    3. Make a positive comment on their posts, even if it is an emoji. Algorithms LOVE comments.
    4. Share their posts on your feed. Make a statement that says something like, “We had linguini and clams at Momma Sofia’s last night…OMG, it was amazing.  You should try it!”.
    5. Tag a friend that might be interested in their products or services.
    6. Post photos of their products, services and TAG them in the posts.
    7. Tell your friends about them. Carry their business cards with you and give them out (where applicable).
    8. Write a positive review. Studies show that online reviews hold as much value as a close friend’s recommendation.
    9. Sign up for their newsletters.
    10. Send a message to them telling them what you like about their services and their products.


    The Power of a Personal Referral

    The power of a personal referral is overall the most important and effective advertisement.  In fact, some of our long-term clients originated from a simple referral.  Either a friend or colleague mentioned our company to a prospective client, and bam, a contract.  This simple gesture increased our revenue exponentially and did not cost the person referring us any money and it saved us a lot of money in advertising and marketing costs.  Referrals have so much power!

    While we might not think that our influence is that great, I can assure you it is.  You know people that we don’t know and when you say, “I trust this company,” people listen.  Just as consumers buy products endorsed by celebrities, we can support our friends with businesses.

    As we wind this article down, we want to challenge you.  Robb and I are stepping up to take our social media time to the next level.  Each day, we will intentionally share, comment, like, and shout out to many of our colleagues and business associates.  Will you?

    And while you are hanging sharing and liking, would you give us a follow, like, and share?

    Here are our links!

    Let’s do this together and help give small business the lift it deserves!

    Thanks for reading and please subscribe to our newsletter.  Each week we will give you some travel tips, life hacks and other fun information.

    Travel Safe and Adventure Often,

    Maureen & Robb, aka The Stromads

    Tips To Save Cash and Time On Road Tolls!

    Tips To Save Cash and Time On Road Tolls!

    How to Save Hundreds of Dollars on Road Toll Charges

    Tolls, those pesky, used to be small, fees for the maintenance and upkeep of controlled-access highways and bridges.  Thirty-eight states have toll roads, so you are likely to encounter them if you are making road trips.  If you are like us and are an RV’er with a trailer or tow vehicle, tolls can significantly increase and become a significant expense.

    With a little bit of pre-planning, you can reduce your toll costs and stress drastically.

    The first step is to set up an electronic tolling account.  With this in place, you can reduce the stress of needing exact change sometimes and waiting in long lines at toll booths.  Thirty-one states have electronic tolling, and if you are in the eastern part of the US, you can cover 19 states with two accounts.

    In most states, you can do this at the toll booth or service areas, online, or can buy transponders at local retailers.  Costs vary by state and type of transponder.  However, if you do any traveling, you will quickly recoup the transponder’s cost.  Not only will you save money, but you will also save time by using the express tolling lanes where you don’t have to stop at a toll booth.

    Since we are most familiar with east coast travel, we highly recommend EZPass and SunPass.  EZ pass covers 16 states fully and part of Florida, SunPass covers Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina.

    So, how do I save $$$ on tolls?

    First, by setting up your electronic account, you save $ by getting the lowest toll rate available at the time, and if you are a frequent traveler on some roads, you will get an extra discount.  You also don’t have to worry about getting a violation if you don’t have the exact change or an upcharge for cashless tolling or bill-by-plate.

    How do you save big money on tolls?

    Don’t use toll roads at all.

    Maybe this seems a little weird, but you have to consider most toll roads and limited-access highways are built to streamline traffic flow.  So that means there is almost always an alternative route.  You say, yeah, well, duh, but how much more time is that going to take?  It depends, but we have found that it is an hour or less extra on a multi-hour trip in many cases.

    Again, it just takes a little preplanning and using a map or mapping app.  You can set the options in google maps or your GPS to avoid tolls.  Be careful with this because sometimes paying the toll is worth it.

    So let me give you a couple of examples.

    If we are going to the Midwest, our GPS would normally route us on the PA Turnpike, Ohio Turnpike, and Indiana and Illinois toll roads.  Not to mention straight through Gary, Indiana, and Chicago suburbs, which is somewhere you want to avoid driving at all costs, in our opinion.  Much like the DC/Baltimore Beltways, Atlanta, I-10 through Houston, and most anywhere around LA.

    So, back to the Midwest story.  If we reroute off the turnpikes and toll roads onto toll-free interstates traveling through Maryland, West Virginia, middle Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, the drive is not only much more beautiful and less stressful. In that case, it saves over $80 in tolls.  I am sure you would agree that is a significant amount of savings.  We do it on every trip we can going and coming.

    For those of you headed to Key West or the Everglades, stay off of the Florida Turnpike.  The trip takes about 45 minutes more to travel I-75 through Alligator Alley, you avoid Ft Lauderdale and Miami stress and save $75.

    Bonus StroTip:  Instead of I-75 from Naples to Miami, take US-41 the Tamiami Trail, and you will encounter a most incredible scenic drive.  This drive is one not to miss.

    This next example is for those traveling I-95 from Richmond, VA to Delaware or vice Versa, who want to avoid Baltimore and Washington DC traffic and tolls.  Use US-301 instead of I-95.  It may take an extra 20 minutes, or it may save you hours when traffic is snarled around Baltimore and DC, which is most of the time.  This beautifully scenic route will take you over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and through some small towns and with cute shops and restaurants.  Just watch your speed, and be ok with tall bridges.  Savings will vary on this trip.  There are fewer tolls going South.  Coming north, you will save at least $50.

    These are just a few, and there are many others if you take some time and check it out.  Our friend Steve, a trucker, follows our travels on Facebook and always has tips for us.  If you don’t have a friend Steve, ask us, and we’ll have some suggestions.

    Of course, there are also apps out that do this as well.  Currently, we are testing TollGuru.  Do you have a favorite app or way to save on tolls?  Let us know.

    So there you have it, another super-saver StroTip!

    Thanks for reading!

    Travel Safe and Adventure Often,

    Robb and Maureen, aka The Stromads