Traveling to Europe with friends. They want to combine plane fares and split the ticket costs evenly. Problem: this means I'll be paying $300 more than what my round-trip ticket would cost if I bought it separately. Should I agree to it?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (74 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My best friend (BFF), whom I've known since childhood, is getting married in Europe. She's invited me to be a part of the entourage, and I have been planning on the trip with her sister (S), her sister's husband (SH), and her other best friend (B). It's my first trip to Europe, and I'm excited!
S and I aren't exactly close, but we get along and have gone on trips together via BFF. SH, I know mainly as S's partner, but he's cool. B is a good friend, whom I've spent time with even without BFF and we've even gone on a couple of trips on our own.
In the course of planning our itineraries, money-saving tips and tricks came up, with the general idea that this was all going to be on a shoestring, considering the exchange rates of our currency to the Euro. (FWIW, we are all coming from SouthEast Asia.) I researched a lot, using ITA Software, Skyscanner, and Kayak (thanks, AskMe!) to find the cheapest fares, and planned my itinerary around my annual leave credits and the cheapest departure date near the end of those credits, knowing that the plane fare is probably going to be the biggest single expense of the trip.
We discussed our plans together and will pretty much be travelling together. We will all be taking the same flight going into Europe, but departing separately. B and SH will be going home earliest, then me after several days. S will be leaving last, a couple of weeks later.
We all decided to apply for Schengen visas together as well, but ran into the hurdle of booking flights without having to pay for them until our visas are approved. (This cannot be done online, as you have to pay for the tickets right away.) Ultimately, we used a travel agent at the last minute: one that S's parents trusted and used often. She booked our flights and hotels and we were able to use these documents for our Schengen visa application.
(Side note: I am not 100% happy with her, as she missed a couple of details in the application form, and I had to do a couple of last-minute bookings with my own credit card since she missed a couple of dates, causing gaps AND forgot to tell us she couldn't find a hotel for an off-the-beaten-path destination. But she did help us out at less than a week's notice from our visa appointment, cheerily.)
Now, my best friend has asked about our itinerary details in order to arrange for picking us up at the airport, etc. and S asked us yesterday (through an online group we formed to discuss our travel plans) if we were going to use the tickets that the travel agent booked for us. I had checked the flight details against the airline website, and the price was comparable to my previous research for the cheapest online fares, so I replied that I looked up the fare and it was $____ online, and that it would do.
Today, after apparently having already discussed it with the travel agent, SH asked our online group if we were willing to split the costs of the plane fare and each pay the same amount. The amount is $300 higher than what I would pay for a solo round-trip ticket. I replied, asking if it would be fine with them if I buy my ticket for the same flight separately, online, and that $300 is a big deal to me.
SH then explained the motivations behind the even split: his and B's base plane fare alone would be $200 more than the average, not including the surcharges. (With surcharges, it could come up to $500-600 more than my solo round-trip ticket.) He said that if we split, it would help offset each other's ticket prices and give us all a better chance of enjoying the trip. Which is a fair point to make.
(Potential internal issue: all along, I thought S and SH could afford the trip more than I, as they have their own condo, car, and higher paying jobs. Oh and their visas and a week's worth of accommodation are being sponsored by the fiance's family. B and I will be paying our own way throughout the trip.)
If I don't agree split the costs, the trip is going to cost the most to B, who like me will be paying for hotels/hostels if we can't find couches to surf, and her and SH's plane fare are the highest among our group.
My problem is that I feel cornered. If I don't go along with splitting evenly, it looks pretty selfish. If I do go along with it, I'm out $300 which could have gone to the occasional splurge on a nice meal or better accommodations. I'm torn between going along to keep the peace, and defending my right to spend my money as I please. The thing is, I come from a community-minded culture where the former is valued more than the latter. But I'm also very DIY and thrifty by nature, and would CouchSurf the whole trip if I could. To be fair to them though, I think they're treading carefully around the travel agent as well, who is virtually a family friend to S and BFF's well-traveled folks.
So. Should I or shouldn't I? Am I just being a cheapskate asshole, valuing savings over relationships? Is it a question of caring enough about B or BFF, and what it's worth? Are there any alternatives we haven't considered?
Please hope me, MetaFilter! It's 2:30am where I am and I'm torn, can't sleep, can't decide, and can't step back far away enough to examine the situation objectively. Thank you in advance!