When identical triplet sisters Kylie, Lisa, and Megan, feel like taking a trip together, spontaneity isn’t usually part of the equation. For one, they’re each busy with their jobs. Plus, Megan has two small children, and there’s some serious mileage between them (they live in Idaho, Los Angeles and Encinitas). Then there are their varying travel personalities. While Lisa prefers warm, tropical weather, Kylie and Megan want to bundle up. Kylie is a “planner,” while Lisa and Megan tend to over-pack.
Still, they somehow manage to book tent time together regularly, racking up an impressive list of joint sojourns (in fact, it’s so long, they had to alphabetize it).
Here, they share their tips for making travel happen with your long-distance pals — and for keeping the peace when those pals just so happen to share the same genes.
You’ll need some lead time
While the sisters never really stop talking about where they want to go next, actually nailing down dates calls for a little more leeway. While Kylie says the trio has planned trips in as little as a few weeks, scheduling around work calendars and children typically demands some higher-level planning. “We try to [start planning] around three to six months in advance,” says Megan. If your long-distance friends need to ask for time off work or save up money, start budgeting out your trip at least three months in advance so everyone can solidify their plans.
Use online tools to organize travel plans
It’s tough enough to book your own plane ticket, so syncing up three or more separate travel plans can seem nearly impossible (especially if you all want to land in, you know, the same place around the same time). The solution? “Budget, research, email, text, call,” says Lisa.
Once your group decides on a location, try creating a group Pinterest board where you can all pin ideas for activities. Schedule out an hour when you can all sit down and look for flights using travel search engines like Google Flights or Kayak, and list out things like shared costs and an itinerary using Google Docs, allowing all of your friends to make edits.
Figure out a system for sharing expenses
What’s a surefire way to cause some hard feelings? Waiting too long to talk about money. “When we travel together, we put our money in a pot and split everything evenly,” says Kylie. “We grew up sharing everything, so [now] everything — and I mean everything — must be precisely even, to the penny.” Whether you calculate the total shared costs after the trip, come up with a joint budget before you leave, or agree to pay your own way and split only shared expenses (like the gas for a rental car), have a solid plan in place before you leave. One option? Open a temporary joint bank account.
Decide on a point person
Avoid double booking and total confusion by designating a trip point person. For the Traveling Triplets, that’s usually Kylie. “She has the most flexible schedule that allows her to spend more time doing those sorts of things,” says Lisa. “Plus, she enjoys the search!” If you’re not the point person, offer to pitch in by taking the first driving shift on your road trip or picking up supplies for your vacation instead.
Put it to a vote
If one friend wants to sunbathe and the other wants to go tour historical landmarks, come up with a plan so that everyone gets to experience what they want to during the group trip. “We make a list of our top 10 things to do and discuss together which are the most likely [to happen] and go from there,” says Lisa. “We’ll talk about options and then put in a vote,” adds Kylie. “If someone feels they had to compromise more, then we make sure to make up for it on the next trip. The rotation system makes everyone feel their voice is heard.”
Save your best behavior for each other
While the Traveling Triplets appear to be a shining example of sisterly love, even they admit to getting P.O.’ed at each other. (Spoiler alert: It usually has something to do with being tired and hungry). Travel can be tiring and stressful, so try to put the kibosh on arguments by addressing the root cause early on. “If an inevitable argument surfaces, we face it head on and all at once and get it out of our system,” says Kylie. “We hug it out. That other stuff doesn’t matter nearly as much as having fun together does.” Most importantly, the trio advises any group travelers to stay flexible. “Don’t have high expectations for how a trip is going to go,” says Megan. “Be open to change, and don’t be selfish.”
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