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I dropped out of a group vacation—do I still have to pay for the hotel?: Tips from travel experts

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Historically, I'm not a fan of group trips. Someone always ends up inexplicably crying or taking personal offense to not every single person wanting to do an overpriced brewery tour.

But one of the most stressful parts of traveling in a herd, to me, happens before the vacation even starts: when one person drops out last minute.

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The rest of the group is then left to either absorb the now slightly higher cost of the trip or confront the flaky friend about what exactly they'll still be paying for — two less than ideal options.

There is a right way to handle this, though, says Lee Thompson, co-founder of Flash Pack, a company that plans group trips for solo travelers in their 30s and 40s.

"You should always offer to pay your share of a trip that's already been booked — accommodations, rental cars, planned excursions etc. — regardless of the reason you can no longer attend," Thompson says.

'On group trips I strongly suggest getting your own accommodations'

When planning or opting out of a group trip it's best to be over communicative, says travel reporter Victoria M. Walker. Friendships can be strained by assumptions about who is paying for what.

"I've seen friendships break up or be ruined over a vacation gone badly or a vacation where someone needed to drop out for whatever reason," she says.

Walker agrees that if you drop out of a trip last minute, you should offer to pay for some part of it: "It's just common courtesy and good etiquette and good manners to at least provide some sort of compensation."

Depending on the reason a person cancels, though, it might be appropriate to give them some grace. If someone lost their job or canceled due to needing an emergency medical procedure, then absorbing the cost might be the supportive thing to do, Walker says.

You can also get ahead of the issue by booking your own lodging.

"On group trips I strongly suggest getting your own accommodations," she says. "If someone does need to drop out, then it's kind of on them."

You might still have to figure out other planned costs, but at least one of the larger expenses won't be affected by a last minute cancellation.

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