How Excel Saved My Friendship of 18 years

Anyone that knows me personally, knows that I have a thirst for travel.

Apart from traveling with family, I have a few travel buddies. The longest trip I took was an entire month in Europe, with my one of my travel buddy, Ash, 9 years ago in 2007. Thereafter, we have taken numerous trips, including the most recent one to Japan, for a duration of 16 days. 

Of course, traveling with friends can be fun, yet may cause tension, and for some, even losing a friend at the end of it.

So how did our friendship survived all these trips?

The answer is Excel.

Excel for Budgeting

When traveling together, an agreement on how much money you'd like to spend is important. If one person prefers to spend extravagantly on 5 star hotels while the other prefers to save up by staying in hostels, you could be headed for a major clash.

So, create an Excel document, list down in terms of how much each want to spend for accommodation, food etc, decide on a budget that's agreeable, and stick to it in the course of the planning!

First potential disaster averted… by Excel.

Excel for Managing Expectations

Everyone has different expectations of a trip. Some want lots of sightseeing, some wants lots of shopping. It’s a matter of compromise.

Since we are working adults and are unable to meet up often to plan our trip, we just use Excel to facilitate our decision-making process. Here’s what we usually do.

  1. List down all the things that we want to do
  2. See which one excites us the most
  3. Plan it into the itinerary

After all is planned, everyone in the traveling party will have an overview of what’s going to happen during the trip. So if anyone is not happy with the itinerary, they can edit it… or keep quiet and forever hold their peace.

PS: We don’t really follow our itinerary strictly, but it serves as a good reference for us. We strongly believe in spontaneity as well. :) 

Sharing for Excel

Did you think we will email numerous Excel documents to each other all the time? And then get fed up when someone made some changes on her copy in her laptop and you also did the same? Then you guys have to edit and compile the changes made again? Imagine the horror for big traveling groups! 

We use OneDrive!

Once the Excel document is saved to OneDrive, everyone with whom the file is shared with can open it simultaneously and make changes. These changes are visible to other users in real time. So, you edit anything you want in the document anytime you feel like it!! The document will also be available on your mobile / tablet which is great for travel!

I love Excel so much! Thank you Excel for being the savior of my friendship. I think you will continue to save more people in time to come. 

PS: Microsoft Excel, which is one of the application in Office 2016, can do all the above and more, which I may share some tips and tricks next time! 

This post was first written on LinkedIn