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What could be more fun than taking a vacation with people you love? Not much, actually – it’s one of the best ways to kick back and relax. But in order to ensure that everyone has a great time and no one feels like they’re doing (or paying) more than their fair share, it’s vital to plan ahead, share the labor, and settle up so everyone’s happy.

  • Before

    The planning stage comes first, of course, and that means coordinating a cooking schedule ahead of time. (Unless you’re planning on eating out for all your meals, in which case, your work here is done.) Get all the participants together on a group email and have everyone sign up for as many cooking slots as necessary to keep the group well fed.

    Once you’ve got the meals scheduled, the grocery list is your next big task. Have everyone send you a list of what they need to cook the meals they’re responsible for. Then, compile a master grocery list (and don’t forget necessities that your rental house might not have – oil, salt and pepper, flour, etc.).

  • During

    Once you’ve all arrived at your destination, divide up the master grocery list onto Post-it® Super Sticky List Notes, writing one for each section of the grocery store. Recruit at least one person for each list and hand them out accordingly. Once you get to the store, arrange a time to meet back at the checkout and then divide and conquer to find everything you need. (And don’t forget to keep the receipts!)

    divide up the mastery grocery list

    Make a schedule of meals on a Post-it® Super Sticky List Note and put it on the fridge door for everyone to see – also, assign at least two people to cleanup duty for each meal.

    For any subsequent grocery trips, make sure whoever pays keeps the receipt. Then, when it’s time to settle up, collect each receipt and label it with a Post-it® Tab marked with the payer’s name.

    collect each receipt and label it with a Post-it® Tab

  • After

    Consolidate all the receipts, add up the total amount spent, and divide it into shares – one for each person. Then, subtract the amount each person has already paid from their share, and collect checks or cash for the difference. If someone has paid more than they owe, make sure they get cash to make up the deficit.

    It might seem like a lot of planning, but a fair division of labor and costs is really the best way to make sure everyone comes home from vacation happier and more relaxed than they came in.

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