Disadvantages and problems of travelling with friends and family

Travelling With Friends: 25 Problems, 10 Rules & 12 Excuses

You’ve woken up in the AirBnb and it looks like it’s been hit by a bomb. It’s already midday and your buddies are lying all over the place. Wet towels are slopped on the floor and empty beer cans cover the table. You never realised that travelling with friends would carry so many problems.

There are dozens of disadvantages and problems when travelling with family and friends, including: clashing personalities, different budgets, different levels of cleanliness, different diets, different interests, extended waiting times, sharing facilities, assigning beds, and lack of opportunity to socialise.

In this article, I’ll share the 25 problems I’ve faced when travelling with friends and family. I’ll also share 10 rules you can use when travelling with friends to ensure that you stay friends.

Plus, I’ll provide you with 12 excuses to get out of a trip last minute. And teach you how to tell someone they are not invited on a trip.

Learn more about making friends and dating during solo travel on Nomadic Yak!

25 Problems When Travelling With Friends and Family

After taking 10+ group trips, I’ve compiled the ultimate list of problems and disadvantages to travelling with friends and family.

Here are 25 ways that a vacation can ruin a friendship.

1. Sharing a stinking bathroom

Gloved hand scrubbing a dirty hotel toilet.

I hate using the bathroom when travelling with friends.

There are wet towels all over the floor. Hair clogging the drain. Skid marks in the toilet bowl. Someone knocking on the door asking how long you’ll be.

And after waiting 3 hours for your turn to shower, all the hot water is gone.

When you travel alone, you get to enjoy the privacy and cleanliness of your own hotel or motel bathroom (unless you’re backpacking and using shared hostel bathrooms).

2. Romantic conflicts 

Female friends fighting over a unicorn plushie.

‘I saw him first,’ says one friend. ‘Yeah but he likes me more,’ says the other friend.

If you are travelling with friends who are single and ready to mingle, I can almost guarantee that there’ll be fights over love interests.

And when one friend reigns victorious and hooks up with that love interest, the other friend is left heartbroken (meaning they’ll be sulking and bitter for the rest of the trip).

When you travel alone, you do not have to compete with your friends to win people’s hearts. That’s why solo travellers have more sex than the average person!

3. Clingy partners 

Woman texting on her phone at the cafe.

‘Hang on, I’ve just got to use the hotel Wifi to message my boyfriend before we go out.’ 

5 hours later…

If you’re travelling with a friend who is deep into a committed relationship, they’ll spend hours each day messaging their partner back home. And you’ll be left lying on your bed, feeling sick as you listen to their lovey-dovey conversations.

When you travel alone, you don’t have to wait around for friends who say, ‘My partner doesn’t want me doing this or that.’

4. Bossy b*tches and catfights

Female friends shouting and arguing.

Not all of the friends that you travel with will get along – especially when forced to share accommodation for a week.

Some of your friends will be bossy. They’ll be the ones barking orders and dictating:

  • What you are doing today;
  • Where you’ll be eating;
  • When you’ll be where;
  • Who does what (e.g. cleaning, cooking, booking the taxi, etc.).

At some stage, one of your friends will snap back – no grown adult likes being told what to do. That’s when all hell breaks loose, the catfights begin and the friend group dissolves into warring factions for the rest of the trip.

Or you could just travel solo and plan your own itinerary based on your own interests!

5. Wildly different budgets 

Pile of Euro cash notes.

Some of your friends will be rolling in cash and wanting a luxury vacation – booking into 5-star resorts, dining at Michelin restaurants and splashing out on high-end retail shopping. 

Other friends will be on a tighter budget and looking to save wherever they can – sharing a dorm room with 12 strangers, preparing all their own meals and sticking to a strict itinerary.

You’ve got to decide how much you’re willing to spend. Then you’ve got to convince your friends to stick to a similar travel budget (easier said than done).

The beauty of solo travel is that you and you alone get to determine your budget on a day-by-day basis!

6. Heavy haulers and super spreaders 

Messy bedroom with loose laundry.

There’s always one friend that hauls along a heavy suitcase full of unnecessary crap. You’ve got to wait around for them whilst they drag it from the airport and take up all the space in the taxi or shuttle bus.

When you do finally arrive at your accommodation, that same friend flips open their case and starts spreading their clothes, cosmetics, snacks and knick-knacks all around the room.

You find yourself tip-toeing between t-shirts and pants on the floor. Your bed ends up covered in their towels and linen. And where are you supposed to put your toothbrush and cosmetics when there’s no space on the bathroom counter?

It feels like you’re living with a goblin. Not to mention the anxiety you feel when it comes time to check out and your friends’ stuff is still scattered willy-nilly.

7. Dividing the good, the bad and the ugly bedrooms

Woman sleeping on a couch covered in blanket.

You and your friends have all paid equal amounts for your accommodation. But when you arrive, some friends run to reserve the best bedroom whilst the rest of you are left sleeping on the pull-out couch. 

If you’re sharing an Airbnb or a rental whilst travelling with your friends, each bedroom will vary. 

Some bedrooms will be spacious and airy with an ensuite bathroom, charging points, wardrobes and a TV. Other bedrooms will be poky and poorly furnished. Some of you may even end up sleeping on the floor in the living room.

Not to mention, some of your friends may be snorers (I hope you brought earplugs). 

When you travel alone, you get to choose your accommodation. Whether you want to stay in a hostel dorm, a private hotel room or have an entire AirBnB to yourself – the choice (and comfort) is all yours.

8. Different dietary requirements (and allergies) 

Restaurant table full of Mediterranean food.

One of your friends is a vegan. Another is a pescatarian. And the other friend is trying the carnivore diet. 

Then you’ve got to account for intolerances to gluten and lactose. As well as allergies to peanuts, shellfish and alike.

By the time you take into account all your friends’ tastes and dietary requirements, it can be a nightmare trying to find a restaurant or cafe with a suitable menu.

But when you travel solo, you get to eat whatever you like without worrying about others. Whether it’s a 7-Eleven snack or a fine dining experience – the choice is yours.

9. Ailments, injuries and fitness levels

Man holding his twisted ankle.

Your asthmatic friend has forgotten his inhaler. Another of your mates has been burnt to a crisp by the sun. And your lazy friend doesn’t want to do anything that involves leaving the hotel room.

One of the problems when travelling with friends is that you feel like a medic – ensuring that each of your buddies is healthy enough to carry on. 

And when one of your friends is feeling unwell, you inevitably have to stay behind and keep them company whilst the rest of your mates are out having the time of their lives.

When you travel alone, you only have to take care of yourself and your ailments.

10. One person is left to organise everything

Tattooed woman planning travel on a map with camera.

You don’t want to be the person that is left to organise the trip for your friend group – trust me, I’ve been that guy.

You’ve got to gather everyone’s details to book accommodation. You need their passport numbers to book flights. Someone is always upset because they don’t like the itinerary you’ve planned. 

And at the end of it all, you’re left out of pocket because one friend ignores your messages about how much they owe.

The advantage of travelling alone is that you only have to worry about organising your own trip.

11. Different interests 

Woman admiring paintings in an art museum.

What do you want to do during your vacation? Visit historic sites? Throw yourself into some extreme sports? Laze around on the beach all day? Dance the night away in a club?

But maybe the friends that you are travelling with only want to sit around the hotel room and watch movies all day.

One of the problems when travelling with friends is that everyone has different interests. You don’t want to be stuck only doing what your friends want to do.

Solo travel allows you to focus on your own interests. It’s up to you whether you want a lazy day to yourself or an action-packed adventure! 

12. Night owls and early birds 

Hand slamming down on a yellow alarm clock.

You’re trying to get some shut-eye when your drunk friend stumbles back into the hotel at 2 am, stinking of booze and shaking you awake.

Or maybe you’re trying to enjoy a vacation sleep-in when your friend, the fitness freak, decides to get up at 6 am for their morning run.

Or maybe you are that friend – the night owl or the early riser. And you’re the one keeping everyone else awake on holiday.

When you travel alone, you can go to bed and wake up whenever you like without worrying about waking others. Unless you’re sleeping in a hostel dorm room (but backpackers are used to this).

13. The bill is never split fairly

Two hands grabbing at a US ten dollar bill.

You’re at a restaurant with your friends on vacation. One of them ordered starters, a main, dessert and three drinks. You just ordered the main and a drink. Yet when the check is brought to the table, that friend decides ‘Let’s just split it evenly!’

Another example… you get to your accommodation and your friends have taken the master bedroom whilst you’re left with the pull-out couch. Yet you all paid the same amount for the rental.

The bill is rarely ever split fairly when you travel with friends.

The beauty of solo travel is that you get to determine your own budget and spoil yourself without going broke.

14. The clean freaks vs the grubby grots

Messy living room with chips and rubbish on couch.

You can expect things to get a little messy when travelling with friends.

One of them will be a clean freak and expect the accommodation to be left spotless – no dirty dishes, no rubbish left on the table and everyone’s luggage stored neatly in the wardrobes.

Your other friends might be a bit grubby – wet towels left on the bathroom floor, skid marks left in the toilet bowl and wet food scraps sitting in the kitchen sink.

Inevitably, the clean freak ends up throwing a hissy fit, the grub laughs in their face and the vacation turns sour.

Travel alone and you can be as tidy or as filthy as you like!

15. Tumultuous transport

Coach crammed with tourist passengers in Asia.

Organising transport when travelling with friends can be a nightmare.

Road trips tend to be the worst. Who’s going to drive? Whose car are you taking? Who’s paying for fuel?

But trying to organise flights can be just as bad. You have to time your bookings so that you all end up on the same flight and sit near one another.

And when it comes to catching an Uber, taxi or bus, you’ve got to make sure that there’s enough room for all of you.

This makes travelling and backpacking hard. You can’t just jump on the next available flight, ferry or coach. And you’re constantly waiting around for your friends to book their tickets.

When you travel alone, you can move as quickly or as slowly as you like. Booking transport is easy.

16. One friend gets left out of the photos

Man taking photo of two female friends.

I was on a cruise holiday once and noticed an attractive group of women. These women were all friends and spent most of the trip posing for the perfect bikini pic.

But there was a problem – they always insisted that the least attractive friend in the group take the photos.

That poor woman must have felt so demoralised after spending all week snapping photos of her friends and having no photos of herself.

This is a problem that friends often face when travelling.

I recommend taking an all-in-one selfie stick and tripod. Use the timer feature on your phone and you can capture some awesome snaps of the whole group.

17. Adventurous friends vs timid friends

Tandem skydiving from a propellor plane.

One of your friends wants to go skydiving whilst on vacation. Your other friend is too afraid to swim in the sea.

A problem that arises when travelling with friends is differences in adventurousness.

If you’re the adventurous type, you don’t want to be held back by timid friends. On the other hand, if you like to stay well within your comfort zone, you don’t want to be constantly hounded by your wild mates. 

When you travel alone, you can be as daring or cautious as you like – tread your own path!

18. Making reservations for large groups

Yellow taxi driving through New York City, USA.

If you’re travelling in a group of more than 5 friends, you’re going to have a tough time making bookings and reservations.

You’ll have to plan in advance and make sure that there is enough space for all of you when booking:

  • Restaurants
  • Taxis and Ubers
  • Some attractions (i.e. white water rafting)
  • Some accommodation (i.e. AirBnB)

Travel solo and you only have to make reservations for yourself!

19. It’s impossible to get anywhere on time

Checking the time on a wrist watch.

Is one of your friends notorious for always running late? Every time you meet up for dinner or drinks, you’re left waiting alone and awkward for 20 minutes.

You can expect that slowpoke to be twice as bad on vacation.

You’ll be waiting to use the bathroom. Waiting at the breakfast table. Waiting out the front of the hotel. Waiting at the airport.

Always. Waiting.

And sometimes, their tardiness will mean that you miss out on your allotted time slot (e.g. when you have tickets to visit an attraction at a set time).

Travel alone and you’ll never be waiting on anyone but yourself!

20. The forgetful friend

Wallet and keys sitting on a table.

Maybe one of your friends is notorious for always forgetting their things?

They leave behind their glasses. Their keys. Their wallet. Their phone.

And when you’re halfway to the beach and that friend realises they’ve forgotten their things, you have to waste another 20 minutes going back to the hotel to get them.

Plus, that forgetful friend is always asking to borrow your stuff because they didn’t pack properly.

Travel solo and you won’t have to babysit your forgetful friends!

21. The whinging friend

Lego person crying and complaining.

Nothing is ever good enough for the whiny friend – and it drags the rest of you down when you’re trying to enjoy your travels.

It’s too hot. It’s too cold. This restaurant sucks. This hotel is crumby. Those people are too loud. The ice cream is too expensive.

The list of complaints never ends!

22. Uninvited guests

Drunk friends at a messy party.

One of your female friends has picked up a boy at the bar. Or maybe your mate has attached himself to a drunken group of lads.

And now, they’re all coming back to your accommodation to party the night away!

Chances are, someone is going to end up shagging in your bed. The motel staff will knock on the door at 1 am with noise complaints. The toilet will be blocked. And when you wake up in the morning, everyone will leave you to clean up the mess.

23. Room temperatures

Temperature gauge on an air conditioner.

One of your friends runs hot – they insist on pumping the aircon all night so that it is freezing.

Another friend runs cold – they want to run the heating despite the fact that you’re already sweating buckets.

You’re stuck in the middle, trying to keep everyone else happy.

Travel solo and you’ll sleep like a baby every night in the comfort of your own room.

24. You don’t meet as many travel buddies

Male and female friends travelling together in Nepal.

It’s easy to make 100s of friends when travelling solo. You meet interesting people from all over the world and forge lifetime bonds as you adventure together.

But when you take a trip with your friends from home, you barely interact with other travellers. You form your own social bubble and have no time to spare on strangers.

You return from your trip with the same friends that you’ve always had and your social confidence is none-the-better.

25. You don’t challenge yourself or grow as a person

A female solo travelling to Hokitika Gorge on the West Coast of the South Island, New Zealand.

You always have someone to rely on when you travel with friends. They are always there to help you through sticky situations (e.g. speaking a foreign language, trying exotic foods, skydiving out of a plane, etc.).

Travelling with friends also tends to be less adventurous than solo travel. You stick to the tourist traps and comfortable resorts instead of venturing out into the remote regions to uncover true culture.

When you take a trip with friends, you rarely challenge yourself. And because you fail to challenge yourself, you fail to grow more self-confident.

When you travel solo, you have to independently face unique challenges every day. Plus, have a heap of alone time to reflect on your life (e.g. your career, relationships, etc.)

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10 Rules for Travelling with Friends – How to Travel with Friends and Stay Friends

1. Allocate bedrooms before you pay for the accommodation

Fancy hotel room in Indonesia.

It’s not fair that all your friends pay the same amount for accommodation when some of them will end up sleeping on the couch or floor.

To prevent this problem, look at the different bedrooms when booking your accommodation online. If the bedrooms are not equal in size or quality, then not everyone should have to pay the same price.

Ask within the group chat, who wants the nice bedrooms and who is happy to sleep in the common areas?

Adjust the amount that your friends have to pay accordingly (i.e. friends staying in nice bedrooms should pay 25%-50% more than a friend sleeping on the couch).

2. Partners do not dictate the rules 

Street sign saying "Please don't try to sleep here"

Travelling with friends who have clingy partners? Worried they’ll be on their phone 24×7, making you sick with their lovey-dovey chit-chat?

Set a limit as to how much time you can spend on your phone each day (I suggest 2 hours). This will ensure that your friends spend some time together.

And make it known that their partners back home don’t dictate the rules for your group trip. If you want to go to a nightclub, do it. If you want to go to a pool party, do it. If you want to go skydiving, do it.

As friends, you determine what your trip will involve – not your partners.

3. Set a maximum daily budget 

A pink piggy bank surrounded by coins.

As a group, set a maximum daily budget per person (e.g. $250 per person each day). Take into account accommodation, food, drinks, activities and transport.

Don’t set a daily budget so high that the less financially fortunate friends in your group can’t afford to keep up. But also, don’t set the budget so low that none of you can have any fun.

This should help to minimise any arguments over money.

4. Eat one meal together each day

Travel friends sharing a meal in a hostel dining area

Prevent your friend group from splitting into smaller factions throughout the trip.

As a group, decide on one meal that you will eat together each day.

I think that breakfast is the best meal to share with your friends on a trip. It gives you a chance to agree on what you are going to do together that day.

Don’t let one friend dictate which cafes and restaurants you visit. Each day, let someone new make a recommendation. 

5. Do one thing together each day 

Female friends travelling together through Penang, Malaysia.

If your friend group divides into smaller factions during your trip, you will spend very little time together and it will defeat the point of the vacation in the first place.

Before you leave, you should have a basic itinerary. Try to plan one thing that you will do together as a group each day.

If it’s too difficult to plan in advance, simply plan together over breakfast in the morning.

Each day, give someone new a chance to recommend something. Don’t let one friend dictate what you are doing each day. 

6. No loud music or noise after a set time

Mini music speaker floating in a pool.

There’ll be days on your trip when some of your friends want to head to bed early, whilst others will want to party until sunrise.

That’s fine – but try to come to a fair arrangement that will keep both parties happy.

Set a time each night (e.g. 11 pm), after which there should be no loud noises such as music speakers, shouting and screaming.

In all likelihood, your accommodation will have a set time after which there should be no loud noise. It’s probably best to use this as your benchmark.

7. Everyone has to organise one part of the trip

Friends pointing at a travel map.

Don’t leave all the trip planning to one of your friends. It’s not fair.

Allocate one part of the trip to each friend:

  • One friend arranges accommodation
  • One friend arranges transport
  • One friend arranges activities
  • One friend arranges dining options and reservations

Post some options in the group chat (e.g. accommodation options) and let your friends vote on which they like most. Once everyone agrees, make the booking.

8. Everyone needs to download the same bill-splitting app

Friends splitting cash for a bill.

Don’t leave one friend to pay for the accommodation, tickets, meals and drinks. 

Sure, everyone promises that they’ll pay them back – but it seems to slip their mind as soon as they get home.

Before you leave for your trip, share a link for the Splitwise app in your group chat. Ask everyone to download the app (it’s free on iOS and Android).

Splitwise makes it easy to keep a running tab of who owes who what during your trip with friends:

  • Create a group for your friends
  • Add expenses (in any currency) as you go
  • Everyone can log in and view their expenses and IOUs
  • Keep track of who pays next or settle the bill using Paypal or Venmo.

9. Everyone has to clean up after themselves

Spraying and wiping a stain off of a kitchen bench.

Messy accommodation puts a dampener on a trip with friends.

Implement this rule – everyone must clean up after themselves before going to bed.

If people don’t clean up after themselves promptly, there’s a second part to the rule – their mess will be dumped on their bed or in their luggage (don’t take this too far and soak their bed in beer because it will only cause fights).

10. If you aren’t there on time, you get left behind

Checking the time on a wrist watch on a male arm.

You shouldn’t have to waste all day waiting around for your slowpoke friend.

As a group, agree upon a time that you will arrive at your destination that day (e.g. the hiking trail).

Make it known that if everyone isn’t there within 10 minutes of that agreed-upon time, the people who are there will proceed without them.

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12 Excuses to Get Out of a Trip Last Minute

1. Running low on money 

Man opening an empty wallet.

This excuse works particularly well if you’ve recently had to make big purchases or pay overwhelming bills:

  • Rent
  • Car service or registration
  • Home or car insurance
  • Hospital visit or dental work
  • Student debt
  • Tax (say that your tax bill was bigger than you expected)

But it also works well if you’re self-employed or a freelancer. You can cancel a trip with friends by saying that you recently lost a big client and won’t make enough this month to cover the cost of going away.

Here’s a template you can use to cancel a trip with friends last minute using money as an excuse:

‘Hey guys, I’m sorry but I just can’t afford to travel right now. I recently (insert financial excuse from the list above) and I’m strapped for cash this month. But I hope you have an awesome time – we can catch up when you get back and I can hear all your stories!’

2. Sick pet or pet sitting

Sick dog at a vet receiving medicine.

Tell your friends or family that you can’t make the vacation because you had to take your pet to the vet for one of these common animal ailments:

  • Skin conditions or rashes
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea 
  • Ear or eye infections
  • Limping
  • Growths

If you don’t own a pet but one of your family members does, you can tell your friends that your family member had an emergency (see below) and you have to mind their pet. 

Want to really sell the pet-sitting excuse? Let the pet stay at your home for a night and send your friends a selfie with the animal.

Here’s a template you can use to cancel a vacation with friends using pets as an excuse:

‘Hey guys, I’m sorry but my (insert pet) has (insert animal ailment from list above). I’m not going to be able to make the trip. I’ve got to take (insert pet) to the vet and get it sorted ASAP. But I hope you have an awesome time – we’ll catch up when you get back, I want to hear all about the trip!’

3. Feeling unwell 

Sick woman sitting wrapped in blanket with tissue.

Tell your friends or family that you have to cancel the trip because you are suffering from one of these common illnesses:

  • Flu or cold
  • Asthma and allergies
  • Muscle pain or sprains
  • Covid-19
  • Sore throat
  • Eye infection
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Headaches and migraine
  • Rashes, sunburn or eczema
  • Diarrhoea, vomiting or reflux

Most of the time, there’s no need to explain your illness to your friends. And there’s certainly no need to go to a doctor (unless you’re actually sick).

Here’s a template you can use to cancel a holiday with family or friends using illness as an excuse:

‘Hey guys, I feel awful. I’m not going to be able to make the trip. Think I’ve got (insert medical condition). Going to spend a few days at home recovering, don’t want to make you ill. But I hope you have an awesome time – we’ll catch up when you get back!’

4. Problem at home

Plumber fixing leaking pipes.

Tell your friends or family that you have to cancel the trip last minute because an emergency has arisen in your home:

  • The car won’t start
  • There’s a leak from your plumbing/roof/drainage and it’s flooding your home
  • There’s a power outage and your fridge is starting to leak
  • There’s damage to the roof/walls from wind/rain/fallen branches
  • There was a fire in the kitchen
  • The fire or security alarm keeps going off
  • The security camera caught someone scoping out your home
  • The window has been smashed.

Make it seem like the problem could get worse if you leave the house unattended. You might even suggest that the problem presents a security risk (e.g. it’s easy for thieves to break in through a broken window).

Here’s a template you can use to cancel a trip last minute using a problem at home as an excuse:

‘Hey guys, there’s been an (insert problem at home). I’m really sorry but I’m not going to be able to make the trip. I have to stay here and get it sorted before it gets any worse. I won’t be able to enjoy the holiday with this on my mind. But I hope you have an awesome time – we’ll catch up when you get back.’

5. Mental health 

Pills with smiley faces drawn on them.

Tell your friends or family that you have to cancel the holiday because you are suffering from one of these mental health issues:

Only rely on these excuses if you legitimately suffer from one of these mental health issues. Your friends and family will worry about you.

Here’s a template you can use to cancel a vacation with family and friends using mental health problems as an excuse:

‘Hey guys, I’m really having a tough time with my (insert mental health problem). I’m sorry but I’m not going to be able to make the trip. I want to stay here until I’m in a better mental state. But I hope you have an awesome time – we’ll catch up when you get back.’

6. Urgent job or work opportunity

Woman working in her home office.

Tell your friends or family that you have to cancel the holiday because one of the following work-related problems has arisen:

  • You’ve been asked to interview for a new job
  • Your boss has dumped a big project on you and it’s due ASAP
  • You have taken on a major project that could lead to your promotion
  • You made a mistake at work and have to spend time fixing it

This excuse works well because your friends do not necessarily know what’s going on at your workplace.

You can also add that you asked for time off but your boss denied your request (shift the blame).

Here’s a template you can use to cancel a holiday with family and friends using work as an excuse:

‘Hey guys, this (insert work commitment) has popped up at work. I’m really sorry but I’m not going to be able to make the trip. If I do well at this project, I could get promoted – so I’m going to take it on. I hope you have an awesome time – we’ll catch up when you get back.’

7. Family emergency 

Car damaged from an accident.

Tell your friends or family that you have to cancel the vacation because one of the following family emergencies has arisen:

  • A family member is sick or injured (e.g. Covid or rolled ankle)
  • A car accident
  • A family member has had a home problem (see above) and you have to help
  • A natural disaster has affected your family (high winds, fire, flood, etc.)
  • Your family isn’t able to take care of your kids.

Avoid using these excuses unless your family has actually suffered some sort of emergency. Your friends will worry about your family and it could put a downer on their holiday. 

Here’s a template you can use to cancel a trip using a family emergency as an excuse:

‘Hey guys, my (insert family member) has (insert family emergency). I’m really sorry but I’m not going to be able to make the trip. I have to help them get it sorted out. I won’t be able to enjoy the holiday with this on my mind. But I hope you have an awesome time – we’ll catch up when you get back.’

8. Freak accident 

Bee sitting on a person's hand.

Tell your friends or family that you have to cancel the trip because of one of these freak accidents:

  • You were stung or bitten by a bee/wasp/ant/spider/dog
  • You had an allergy attack to pollen/nuts/shellfish
  • You were robbed
  • Your car won’t start or was hit by someone
  • You rescued an injured animal
  • You smashed your phone
  • You got locked out of your house
  • You got called up for jury duty
  • You have an infestation of mice/rats/cockroaches
  • You stepped in glass

Some of these excuses are more believable than others. Try to strike a balance between believability and being serious enough to warrant cancelling the trip.

Here’s a template you can use to cancel a trip last minute using a freak accident as an excuse:

‘Hey guys, can’t believe it, I’ve (insert freak accident). I’m really sorry but I’m not going to be able to make the trip. I have to get this sorted out ASAP. But I hope you have an awesome time – we’ll catch up when you get back.’

9. Wrong dates 

Paper diary calendar with a yellow highlighter.

Tell your friends or family that you have to cancel the trip last minute because you thought the trip was next week or next month.

Make the excuse believable by writing the wrong date in your diary or calendar and sending a screenshot.

Add that you’ve requested time off from your employer but they won’t allow it at this late stage.

Here’s a template you can use to cancel a trip using the wrong date as an excuse:

‘Hey guys, I can’t believe I’ve done this but I thought the trip was (insert wrong date). I just asked the boss for time off but they said it’s too late at this stage. So stupid of me – sorry! But I hope you have an awesome time – we’ll catch up when you get back.’

10. Underprepared for exam

Student walking to class with textbooks.

Tell your friends or family that you have to cancel the holiday because you have an exam coming up and you aren’t properly prepared.

This excuse works best if you are a high school or college student. However, it can also work if you are studying for a work exam or career course/certificate.

Here’s a template you can use to cancel a vacation with family and friends using study as an excuse:

‘Hey guys, I’m super sorry but I won’t be able to make the trip. I’ve got this important (insert exam) coming up and I’m just not properly prepared yet. I really want to nail it and I won’t be able to enjoy the vacation knowing that I’m underprepared. I hope you have an awesome time – we’ll catch up when you get back.’

11. Your family/partner/boss doesn’t want you to

Angry dad telling off his son.

Tell your friends or family that you have to cancel the trip because your:

  • Boss refuses to give you time off
  • Parents are worried about you
  • Partner is feeling down and doesn’t want you to go

However, be aware that using this excuse could draw some backlash from your friends against your parents or partner. They will likely say, ‘Your parents/partner shouldn’t be controlling your life like this.’

This could be harmful to your relationship.

Here’s a template you can use to cancel a holiday with friends using your family, partner or boss as an excuse:

‘Hey guys, I’m super sorry but I won’t be able to make the trip. My (insert boss/parent/partner) doesn’t want me to come because (insert excuse). I want to do what’s right for them. But I hope you have an awesome time – we’ll catch up when you get back.’

12. Be honest 

Female friends laughing in a field of sunflowers.

It’s cliche but it’s true – honesty is the best policy.

Instead of making up a fake excuse, I think it’s always best to just be honest with your friends and tell them that you don’t feel like going on a trip right now.

This way, you don’t have to spin a web of lies. 

And true friends will respect the fact that you’re just not up for it.

How to Tell Someone They Are Not Invited on a Trip

Travel friends sitting together in Vietnam.

I’m not going to judge you – I’ve been in this situation myself. 

You’ve got an awesome trip lined up with your friends when an acquaintance catches word and invites themselves. Or even worse, they were invited by one of your friends without first consulting the group.

When you tell someone that they are not invited on a trip, you must include these 4 elements in your message:

  • Emphasise that the decision was based on logistical factors they are not invited on the trip because:
    • There is not enough room in the accommodation
    • There are not enough seats (e.g. car trips)
    • The activities you have planned only allow a certain number of people
    • It would make the trip more expensive for everyone if you included another person.
  • Suggest alternative plans – perhaps they could travel on their own or with their own group of friends and spend some time with them when they arrive.
  • Offer reimbursement – if the person has already paid to join the trip, you must offer to return the money they have already contributed.
  • Reaffirm that you are still friends – you hope that this doesn’t affect your friendship and you look forward to hanging out with them when you get back.

You should not feel guilty about disinviting someone from a trip if they invited themselves. In this case, you can tell this person that they are not invited on a trip by wording your message like this:

“Hey (insert name), I’m really sorry but I think there’s been a miscommunication. (Insert friends’ names) and I have spent ages planning this trip but we didn’t know you were coming. Unfortunately, there’s (insert logistical problem from list above). I’m sorry you can’t come with us, but if you want to travel alone or with friends, we could hang out with you once you get there. I hope this doesn’t come between us – I always love spending time with you and I’m keen to (insert future activity) when I get back!”

But if they were invited and you are now revoking that invitation, you probably should feel a little guilty. In this case, you can tell the person that they are not invited on the trip by wording your message like this:

“Hey (insert name), I’m really sorry but there’s a problem with our booking. Unfortunately, there’s (insert logistical problem from list above). Would you mind travelling alone or with friends? We can all hang out together when you arrive. And I’ll send back all the money you’ve already paid. Sorry again – I had to choose someone and the fairest way I could think to do it was the last friend to join the trip. Hope this doesn’t come between us, would be great to hang out with you in (insert destination)!”

Related Posts

Summary: Problems Travelling with Friends and Family

Four solo travel friends jostle.

Travelling with friends and family comes with dozens of problems.

With all these disadvantages, you can see why solo travel is now the #1 travel trend in the world!

If you do travel with your friends, be sure to implement the rules above so that you stay friends upon your return.

But if you become overwhelmed and decide that you don’t want to go on vacation with your friends and family, you can always rely on one of the above excuses to get out of a trip last minute.

Find More Solo Travel Tips on Nomadic Yak

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Nomadic Yak helps solo travellers to plan journeys that are adventurous and authentic.

Every article is written by me, Harry. I’ve travelled to 40+ countries over the last 5 years – mostly alone.

See my advice about making friends, dating and sex during solo travel.

You’ll also find 100s of solo travel tips on how to save money, make more friends, build a social media following and much more.

Plus, you can use my solo travel destination guides to discover international sights and attractions that few other travellers get to witness.