If you're planning a Girlfriend Getaway with your friends, there are a few things you should know to take it from an 'okay' trip to an AMAZING trip! Today, I'm wrapping up my 3 part series by sharing how to stretch your dollar, pick the best travel mates, and a few other tips for planning the best girlfriend getaway ever!
On Monday, I convinced you that planning a girls getaway should be on your to-do list for 2015 (at least, I hope I convinced you) and on Wednesday, I gave you lots of ideas on places to go and things to do!
Now that you’re on board with making this happen, I want to take it one step further and give you some tips for making your trip epic and one you’ll never forget!
Tips for finding good deals
As you probably know by now, I love to travel and I consider any money spent on doing things (like travel) to be money well spent (much better than spending money on things). With that said, I want to stretch my dollar as far as possible, so I have a few tips for finding good deals.
Some of these tips could apply to any trip planning and I am working on a post for just this topic, but there are a few extra tips specifically for girlfriend getaways!
Look for Packages
Girlfriend getaways are very popular these days, so always check for a package. These are great because they usually include a spa treatment or two, some chocolate, and other goodies!
Sometimes you can even luck upon some really hysterical packages! Last year, I stumbled across a breakup themed package when researching a trip to New Orleans and couldn’t help but laugh…you get a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and a voodoo doll with your ex’s name on it!
Plan for Off Seasons
As with any travel, going during a peak season will cost you more, so if you’re wanting to save some pennies, try going off season to maximize your dollars.
What is off season? That will depend on your destination, but essentially its when it’s typically less crowded (for example, the summer is typically the peak season for most destinations).
A great way to take travel 'off season' yet still at a good time is to take advantage of what’s called the ‘shoulder seasons’.
The 'shoulder seasons' are typically the months that bookend the peak season. For example, most of Europe is typically peak June, July, and August. May and September/October are the shoulder seasons and tend to be less crowded, less expensive, but just as lovely (and not nearly as hot!).
So do a little research for your intended destination and be flexible!
If your work schedule is flexible, go midweek to really save a bundle! Spas in particular are much busier on weekends, so if you can swing a mid-week trip, you’ll have cheaper prices all around and less crowd.
Check Groupon or Living Social
As with the packages, Groupon and Living Social are GREAT resources for travel packages! I haven’t personally used them (yet) for traveling, but I have known folks that have, and so far, no one has complained or had any issues.
Look Close to Home
If you’re strapped for cash, you don’t have to hop on a plane to have an awesome getaway! Save some dough and look into places within driving distance.
You can usually find a day spa nearby. Book a hotel room for one night (to keep the feel of a ‘getaway’) and indulge in a day of pampering with your bestie and night out on the town!
Tips for making sure you have a good time
Once you have your trip booked and you’re ready to head out, it’s not a given that you’ll have a blast just because you’re with your besties (unless you’ve traveled together before and know you travel well together!).
Unfortunately, trips that should be epic, end up flopping because people are just different and a tromance wasn’t born ("tromance" = travel + romance…you know, like bromance. Ok…I just made that up, but you get it, right?!).
It’d be nice to think that traveling with any of your friends will guarantee a good time, but anyone that has traveled with others can probably share a story or two to the contrary. So…if you want to ensure you (and your friends!) have an amazing time, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Pick your Travel Mates Carefully
It’s a tough pill to swallow, but sometimes your best friends may not be your best travel mates.
I once had a roommate where we got along awesome as roomies, but a long girl’s weekend in Boston turned out to be the worst trip I’ve ever been on! And yes, I’ll say it…it was due in large part to her (she was very moody). Not only did we have a horrible time, it left a scar on the friendship (i.e. we’re not friends anymore).
My advice on this one…if your friend(s) has any traits that annoy you on a limited basis, or if they’re extremely moody…tread lightly, dear friends!! Try a weekend away first before booking any long vacations (we were originally supposed to go on a 2 week trip to Europe but that fell through, THANK GOD)!!
Be Mindful of Everyone’s Budget
This one can be a bit tricky. If you’re in college or just starting out in the real world, it’s probably not a concern because everyone’s broke!
But, if everyone’s been working for a few years, it’s likely you’ll all be in different financial places (or, some have kids and some don’t…those without kids will, typically, have more cash to blow).
If you’re on the higher end of the scale…don’t expect 5 star accommodations if your best friend is not quite in the same place at the moment. Remember…it’s about spending time together and having fun and that happens no matter where you are or where you're sleeping!!
Consider Everyone's Travel Styles
It may not always be apparent, but consider if you are the type that likes to get up at the crack of dawn and go-go-go or sleep until noon then leisurely pass the rest of the day relaxing as much as possible.
Both are fine, but if you try to get these two types of people together on a trip…it likely won’t go down well (so again…choose your travel mates wisely)!
Just go with the Flow and Have Fun!
It’s a getaway! Don’t allow petty things to get under your skin, if you tend to be that type. It’s really not that important…take a breath, smile, and let it go.
Tips for making the trip extra special
Now that you have your travel mates selected, a place in mind, and you're ready to go, I have a few more suggestions to up your trip from an 'okay' trip to an AMAZING trip!
Plan ONE Nice Dinner
I’m not a foodie, so I generally go for reasonably priced meals. I’m definitely more of a burger and fries girl than a fancy, looks-like-the-cover-of-a-food magazine girl.
But, I do think it’s fun to plan to have ONE really nice meal out with my friends as a celebration of our friendship and to treat ourselves! And it doesn’t have to be fancy!
When I was in Juneau, Alaska a couple of years ago, my boyfriend (at the time) and I went to this little seafood stand that was recommended by a local (and I know...I'm supposed to be talking about girlfriends not boyfriends, but just go with me for this one example, okay?). We enjoyed lobster bisque, king crab legs, snow crab claws, crab cakes, and I think something else.
It was outside on picnic tables and it was served on paper plates. But, because it was fresh king crab legs, it was EXPENSIVE! This lunch ran us close to $100 for the two of us, which was why I almost didn’t want to eat there. BUT, it was the best meal I have ever had and it was worth every single penny.
That was our splurge meal for the trip and we were in jeans…so point being, go for something a little extra special for ONE meal to treat and celebrate yourselves!
Get ONE Decent Group Picture
I say ‘decent’ because I’m betting there will be tons of Instagram pics snapped, but just be sure to pause in front of a gorgeous backdrop and take a ’non-party’ pic that you guys can look back on in later years (and add to the collection with each subsequent trip!).
Do ONE Thing You've Never Done Before
Plan an activity doing something you and your friend(s) have never done before! This is sure to create some awesome memories and up the ‘epic’ factor!
When I went to Costa Rica with one of my friends several years ago, we booked a horseback riding tour through the rain forest. Neither of us had ever ridden a horse before (so, believe me, hilarity ensued and we still laugh about that experience!), so we were both out of our comfort zones, but we had a blast!
Put your Phone Away!
I know..it’s TOUGH! But you’re going away with your friends to spend time with THEM!
If you’re burying your nose in your phone the entire time, you’re not spending time with them, you’re just sharing space. Be present with each other and I promise, you’ll have an even better time!
Last year, I went to Kripalu for a weekend yoga/fitness retreat with one of my good friends. They actually have a policy that you can’t use your phone anywhere outside of your room. When they explained this to us upon check-in, I was like ‘WHAT?’. It was tough (for both of us), but you know what, we were able to focus on each other more and be more aware of the experience of being there without our phones in hand.
Check out the other two parts of the Girlfriend Getaway Series!
So, friends...what do you think? Are you ready to plan an EPIC girlfriend getaway?! What have I inspired you to do? Leave me a comment and share it with me because I'd LOVE to know!