There are few things in life better than getting away from all your responsibilities and hanging out with your best girlfriends. It is a time when you can get back to a simpler time of when life was not as complicated. Whether you are escaping a stressful job, a wonderful but crazy family or just the doldrums of life, reconnecting with your squad is a sure fire was to get into a groove that makes life a little more fun.
There are a million reasons why girls’ weekends are good for the soul, but there are also a million ways in which a girls weekend can be easily ruined. Some of these reasons are out of your control, such as bad weather or car trouble.
Although the unexpected can occur, usually a girls’ trip is soured by a lack of forethought and planning such as: odd group dynamic, unfulfilled expectations, bad or expensive location choice or even a lack of suitable activities.
These are a few of the most major ways in which a relaxing trip with your friends can turn bad in the blink of an eye and make you question whether the time and investment into your girls trip was worth it, but it doesn’t need to be! With a little forethought on the front end and your trip can become a memorable time for you to relax and rejuvenate with some of your favorite people.
Get your Gang
To properly execute a girls’ trip, you first need your girls. This is probably the most complicated part of planning a weekend because choosing who to invite can leave hurt feelings or a questionable dynamic.
When you begin planning, you will want to put some serious thought into who you want to share this experience with. It may be a more intimate weekend with one other friend or a large gathering with ten or more girls along for the ride. Depending on how many friends attend, this will dictate how much pre-planning you should expect to do.
How many people
One of the first considerations you should have is how large of a group you would like to attend. You can have the perfect girls trip with one other friend or with a group as large as twenty. It doesn’t matter how many people attend, but the number of guest does change the dynamic and can influence how successful your weekend is.
When you include a large group of girls in the experience, there will be more factors to consider and will require every girl to be more flexible and laid back during the trip. Some of these factors are scheduling. The more people you invite the more obligations you have to work around. This may mean that not every girl can attend for the entire weekend. Many attendees will either need to arrive late or possibly leave early to fulfill other obligations for work or family.
The activities you plan will also need to be more flexible as you will have many different personalities and pocket books to accommodate. I personally love adventure activities and am willing to spend my hard earned money to pay for them, but others may find these activities boring, scary or just not worth the money.
The more people in attendance, the more variation in opinions you are going to have.
When you have a smaller group there are other factors to consider. These factors are having a healthy group of people to chat with, having an equal say in activities, and being able to relax in the way that is best for you.
A girls’ trip can be amazing despite the size of your group, but it is a good idea to give it a little thought. With larger groups you will need to let go of a little control and go with the flow, but that means that you have more freedom to break away from the group and do something different. Often someone will want to tag along with you on your adventure trip, shopping or swimming. A smaller group with give you more personal time with close friends, but you may feel more tied to doing everything as a group and therefore you may miss out on something you had hoped to do.
Make your list
Once you have decided on how many people you would like to invite, you can make your list. Some suggest that you invite certain types of friends (i.e. a funny friend, a friend with great drama, a good listener, etc.), but no one likes being pigeonholed and you’re inviting people not characteristics.
The biggest trait you want in attendees is their willingness to enjoy the experience of the girls’ weekend. Having friends who don’t want to be there, aren’t getting along with others in the group or are stressed about coming have the ability to derail the entire weekend. Despite your best efforts, everyone has stress or may be at odds with other members of the group, but as long as everyone in attendance is hoping to have a good time it usually works out.
If you are trying to keep it intimate, only invite friends who will mesh together well for a long period of time. If you plan on having a large group, then it is kind to make sure everyone invited generally likes one another and will have similar expectations about what kind behavior will look like.
What about the trouble maker?
Do you have one friend who always seems to stir up trouble? It may be best to leave her behind unless you want to spend the weekend running interference between her and other guests.
This is not ideal. No one wants to be left out, but if you are going to the trouble of organizing a relaxing event for your friends, you should be able to do that without dealing with drama among friends.
There is no way to let a close friend know she didn’t make the cut except being as honest as possible without being cruel. You can tell her that you didn’t think she would mesh well with the group, or that you felt the most comfortable with a smaller group and that there were a lot of other people you were unable to include. This is never easy and sometimes leads to hurt feelings, but if your gut is telling you not to invite someone, there is probably a reason.
What about financial differences?
One reason you may decide not to include someone is money… this is not necessary. If you are worried about someone’s financial situation, you can still invite them without feeling the need to cover their portion of expenses.
The key to this invite is to extend the invitation and give a brief outline of what expenses they can plan to incur. A good way to do this is by saying, “I am planning a girls’ weekend and I would love for you to attend. We are going to rent a beach house for three days and plan to split the cost of the house as well as a rental car among the six people who plan on attending.”
You have put out there that there will be some significant expenses that your friend can account for without making them feel too put on the spot. If they seem hesitant about the trip, money may be the reason, but that is their issue to figure out and giving them a few days to think about it, look up flights or do a little more research can be the best way to help them decide if attending this trip is worth it.
Dealing with rejection
It is always a bummer if one of your friends can’t make the trip, but try to be gracious about the rejection. It may be because of money and asking a friend to overextend themselves is awkward and can easily lead to resentment in a friendship.
There might also be more going on that makes the timing of the trip not possible or pleasurable. Recently, I was invited on a girl’s trip. My gut was telling me it wasn’t the time to go because I had a 5 month old and was not ready to leave him behind. My friends went to great lengths to accommodate me and my needs, but I felt overwhelmed and guilty the whole trip. I still had a good time, but after a 5 hour drive home with a crying baby, I still wonder if it was worth it.
The main reason for a girls’ weekend is to relax with people you love so it is important to set up a weekend of people you love and who will help you enjoy their company and who will enjoy yours. To accomplish this you may need to exclude some friends who you normally wouldn’t, be upfront with friends who may struggle to make it happen and accept if someone isn’t able to come despite your invite to attend.
Get your Location
Deciding to go on a girls’ trip becomes ten times more exciting when you decide where you are going. Part of the fun of going is longingly looking forward to a weekend with no kids, no job, no dishes and no responsibility.
To create the perfect vision of a weekend away is to make sure you decide on the right location. Choosing the perfect locale for your girls’ trip will really lend the right feel to the whole excursion. Many people already know exactly what they are looking for, but if you are stumped about where to head off to, here are some suggestions.
Return to home
If you are getting together with a group of high school friends that have since moved separate ways, it could be fun to head back to where it all began. By returning to common turf, you are setting yourselves up for an easy vacation of reminiscing and visiting old haunts to see how you have changed and what should always stay the same. Although you may think that there will be nothing to do in your old hometown, you may be surprised to see how life is a little different when you are not concerned with making varsity or the next big social event.
When money is a little tight but you still need to get away, it is best to hop in your car and head off to the closest big city available to you. A metro area is going to vastly depend on where you are located, but getting into a city atmosphere could be just enough to shake up your life and let you march to the beat of a different drum. Larger cities also offer more variety in activities, night life, as well as dining options. Sticking closer to home will also allow you to save on the money and stress of booking flights, arranging cars and trying to navigate foreign territory. Money saved is never bad, in my opinion, but it also frees up funds to splurge on a nicer place to stay, fancier dining options, or even a splurge-worthy shopping trip. This may not be the most adventurous trip of your life, but it could provide you with a wonderful backdrop to relax and spend some awesome time with your friends.
I live in Las Vegas Nevada, so sun is never in short supply, but some of my best girls are from very snowy locales, and come January, they are looking for an escape. For this reason, we tend to hit up the beaches of southern California. Heading to the beach, even in less than beach-worthy weather allows everyone to break out their flip flops and soak up some much needed Vitamin D. Beaches provide a chilled out vibe where you can expect to lounge and enjoy the nature around you. With beach towns, boutique shopping and coastal eateries, there is no short supply of things to do and most coastal cities also offer a plethora of adventure activities if that is what you are looking for.
I will openly admit that snow is not my thing, but that doesn’t mean a weekend up at the lodge would not make an amazing girls’ trip. Between hitting the slopes, drinking hot chocolate by the fire and spending some much needed R & R in a snow-surrounded hot tub, a trip to the mountains would be many squads’ dreams. Heading up to the mountain provides built in snow-based activities, but you may be more limited to the lodge and surrounding mountain towns than other locations you can choose. This may sound restrictive but it can also be freeing, as with fewer options of activities you are freer to fully enjoy the activities available to you. You are now free to spend as much time sledding, skiing or snowboarding as you want because you are not worried about making a reservation, seeing that movie that just came out or hitting up the local posh art gallery before it closes. Sometimes focusing on what is in front of you is the best way to be present in the moment you are in.
If you are like me, you may live in a metropolis. This does not mean that you are obligated to travel far away or escape to the country. In fact, there are a lot of benefits to vacationing in your own city. I have hosted many girls’ trips in Las Vegas and found great joy in looking at my city as a tourist rather than a resident. Part of the benefit of living in-town, however, is I know some of the best places to go and tourist traps to avoid, and in Vegas there are a lot of traps to avoid. The other huge benefit is that you don’t have to waste your time travelling in a car or plane, you are prepared to relax as soon as the weekend begins. I would recommend that if you choose to stay close to home, you still reserve other lodging than your own as it adds to the whole experience. Don’t let a weekend of girl time slip through your hands because you are too tempted by a load of laundry that has been sitting there or a toilet that needs cleaning. If you do decide to stay at your own house, try to set that weekend apart by locking your laundry room, hiding that pile of mail you’ve been meaning to sort through, exiling the spouse and kiddos to another location, or even sleep in the guest room. Do whatever you need to do to make this staycation feel as much like a vacation as possible.
There is no wrong place to choose for a girls weekend, which can make the process of choosing where to go more daunting. Once you have the vibe of what type of locale you are looking at, you can use several tools to help narrow down where exactly you will want to stay. Keep reading to find out how!
Decide your Vibe
Once you have decided where you are headed with your squad, it is time to decide on what type of experience you personally want to have. It is important to specify that you can really only decide the vibe of the trip for yourself because it isn’t possible to dictate how everyone else on the trip is hoping to feel.
To clarify, a vibe is the general feel of the trip. Do you want to feel relaxed, do you want to have adventure, do you want to explore, to do you want to create new memories, do you want to reminisce about old memories, do you want to eat out, do you want to work out, do you want to binge watch movies in your bathrobe?
Planning a good girls trip is all about setting expectations that are obtainable for the group. By clarifying, even for yourself, what your vibe or expectations for the trip will be will help make sure that you come away feeling that the time, cost and hassle of organizing a trip is more than worth it.
When you have come to terms with what your expectations are, it is a good idea to quickly reevaluate your prior decisions. Any vibe can be obtained at any location and with any group of friends, but there are certainly locations which may be more well suited and a group of friends who are more like minded than others.
For instance, if you want to have a relaxing weekend away reminiscing about good times around a camp fire or soaking in a hot tub, heading to a metropolis is probably a waste. It would also be difficult to invite a single new friend on a trip with a close-knit group of girls because she probably won’t get the inside jokes, know the people or have all the back stories that other have. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go to a big city with a new friend, it is just something to consider in the long run.
Deciding on the vibe of your personal girls’ trip does not typically require much soul searching. In fact, you probably knew before you chose the place or the invitees what you were hoping to get out of the experience.
At this point in the planning you will want to make sure that you have a basic knowledge of what the other girls are hoping to get. It is by no means your job to make sure that everyone gets their dream vacation, we are all adults, but it is nice to be considerate of others’ hopes and expectations when possible.
To start out this conversation, all you need to say is, “I can’t wait to get to the beach and just lay in the sun. What are you looking forward to?” Your friends may respond matching your enthusiasm for lounging or maybe throw out that they want to shop, eat great food, and take advantage of hiking or other activities. Whatever seems the most important to them is something that you may want to try and include into the group activities, whereas smaller requests are able to be fit in when convenient.
What if the expectations don’t match?
From time to time it happens that one’s friends expectations do not line up with the general group vibe you are getting from everyone else. This can be awkward because the friend may feel like her priorities were shafted or she could dominate the activities making everyone follow her lead.
If you become concerned that one person may not be fitting the mold of the rest, do not fear. The best thing to do in that situation is mention to the friend that at certain times the group will probably break away and do their own things, giving her the freedom to enjoy her experience when it differs from your own.
As a good friend, your responsibility would be to give her the opportunity to do what she wants even if you aren’t really interested. This is as simple as saying, “Hey, I saw some cute boutiques on the way over that made me think of you. If you want to check them out I can give you the address.” This doesn’t obligate you to hours of shopping but shows that you were thinking of her wants and desires.
Many people may see this whole section as pointless, and with certain groups of friends it is. The reason I include this section is because girls’ trips are amazing and deserve to be enjoyed by everyone. By giving your friends’ expectations and desires for the weekend a little consideration, and hopefully they consider yours, everyone will be prepared and comfortable doing what they want, compromising when necessary, and overall enjoying the experience.
Plan your Trip
Now that you have all of the preliminary things decided, you are ready to put some details in ink. I like to make sure I know who is going, where we are going, and what type of fun we are looking for before I book anything because I hate the idea of having to cancel anything, even if there is no penalty to do so. Once you have everything ready to go, the real fun begins. Looking for different accommodations, eateries and activities is a great way to build the excitement of your trip.
I guess there is one last business item you need to take care of before you get to planning the really fun stuff, how to get to your desired location. The reason this isn’t a very fun part of the process is because your options are pretty straight forward.
- Plane: If you live too far away for your desired location, you will probably need to buy a plane ticket. There are definitely times of year that are cheaper or more expensive so it is best to do a little checking before you decide on your location. If you are flying, you will want to decide if you will need a rental car, if someone lives closer and will be willing to be the wheels for the trip, or if your destination does not require a car.
- Train: This is not really a viable option in the US because our train system is not nearly as developed as it is internationally, but I do like the idea of being able to hop on a train to anywhere. If you are able to, it sounds like a great start to your girls trip.
- Car: If you live close enough, you may plan to drive. There are a lot of benefits to driving, the largest of which is you have a vehicle to use while on your trip. It should be noted that if you are driving and others in your party are flying, you will probably be expected to chauffeur others around all weekend. My perspective has always been that I have saved significant money by not needing to fly so I don’t mind picking up the gas tab, but if you feel uncomfortable with this arrangement, just ask everyone to pitch in ten dollars upon arrival to fill the tank. It is better to mention a communal gas fund early and collect at the start so a few dollars doesn’t hang over anyone’s head.
Sometimes your lodging isn’t that important. If you are taking a business trip or have a quick visit somewhere and need a place to lay your head, your lodging isn’t really a huge factor.
This, however, will not hold true for a girls weekend. Part of girls’ trips is the ability to relax and take a break from the normal stresses of life. This means sleeping in, lounging by a pool, hitting up the hot tub, possibly a spa, or workout facility so being a bit choosy about your location is worth it. The accommodations you make can really start your trip off right. Besides the amenities offered, you will also want to consider price, size, over feel.
If your girls’ trip is taking place at one member’s home, a lot of unknowns are solved. You know exactly what is being offered, you know that the kitchen will be stocked, that the house will be livable and that the price is right.
Staying at one attendee’s home, however, can have a few drawbacks. Depending on the home, it may not have some of the amenities you were hoping for (i.e. pool, hot tub, fire pit, work-out center etc.) This doesn’t mean that you should spend extra money if you aren’t inclined to, but instead plan the most important of the amenities you are missing into the daily plan.
The other big drawback is that you are staying in your friend’s home, which does not have a maid service come through daily. This means you will want to show basic consideration for your friend and her willingness to host.
Helping keep the home tidy, containing your belongings to your sleeping area, helping clean and generally being a good guest are all ways to help your friend relax and show your gratitude for being allowed to stay.
If it is your home, please understand that not everyone will do what I just suggested. I have hosted many guests and there are some that just don’t understand how to be a considerate guest. It is better to just accept that your house will not look or feel the way it normally does. The best way for you to enjoy your weekend is to let go of the responsibilities of being in your home and just enjoy your time with your friends.
One of the most common lodging choices is to stay at a hotel. This can be really fun because they come in all price ranges, sizes, and locations with varying amenities.
Due to the high number of variations, there will also be a lot of different choices to make when narrowing down your decision. To begin your search, establish how many beds you will need. Some friends are fine with sharing a queen bed but others just can’t relax unless they have a bed to themselves. Knowing how many mattresses you need will suggest how many rooms you are looking at.
Next, you will want to establish how everyone will be paying. If everyone is up for sharing and splitting the cost equally it is pretty easy to determine your price range. This can get messier when certain people want their own bed, or their own room. My typical equation is to take the max number of occupants for a room and divide the room cost by that number. If someone is wanting their own bed, they pay for the cost of that whole bed while anyone who is sharing splits the cost of the bed.
If there are not the same amount of people attending as there are bed spaces available, it is suggested to just split the room cost evenly and either be okay with someone sleeping single or rotate who gets to sleep alone every night.
This is all little stuff, but some people find it really important to pay exactly their share. If it is easy to accommodate, it is best to do so. Once you have the price range for hotels, get online and start browsing. You may have a chain you love to stay at, or like to go through all of the possibilities on every hotel search engine. If you don’t care about amenities, then save yourself some money by going with the cheapest option, but realize it may put you far away from the things you hope to do and see.
This process usually works best if one or two people take the lead, and then text or e-mail out options. Smaller groups can usually negotiate this process simply enough, but in larger, more opinionated groups it may be smart to take a vote and go with majority rule.
The luxury, the feel and the amenities offered at a resort are really fun, but with that feeling of luxe comes bigger price tags and some major drawbacks. A resort is going to give you a lot of places to relax with on-site with pools, hot tubs, saunas, fire pits, spas, and upscale eateries.
If I had a choice, I would almost always stay at a resort, but the price tag is what brings me back down to earth. At resorts, you will be responsible for more than just the nightly rate. Most resorts, in the US and abroad, have resort fees (typically $30+ a night), parking fees (typically $15+ a night) and nothing is complimentary.
The eateries onsite are usually priced mid-range, but in my opinion don’t usually offer a very high quality meal unless you slip into their fanciest option. I suggest looking into a resort if you are planning to have your whole weekend there. If you want to spend the weekend at the resort and do little else, a resort is totally worth it.
If, however, you have a lot of different activities you are hoping to do outside of the resort, it might be worth your while to skip the spendy resort and choose a nice hotel that doesn’t have so many hidden costs.
The new kid on the playground is renting a home for you and your friends to stay in. This is a great option for large groups as the rates, compared to multiple rooms in a hotel, are comparable if not cheaper.
It is also a great option for groups who want to spend a lot of time together relaxing, watching movies in a space that hotels don’t offer unless you are in a common area.
The other factor with choosing an individual rental is it can put you right where you want to be. If you are hoping to be in a smaller area, there may not be too many hotel choices, but thanks to the ease of renting your own home, there could be several options that provide everything you need in the best location for you.
Many vacation rentals take their business seriously and have amenities you might think only available in a nice hotel. In one of my recent stays, the house offered a view of the San Diego Harbor, fire pit, hot tub and three televisions. This home was exactly what we needed for a weekend away.
If you decide to look into vacation rentals, please understand that there are some costs that can make you uncomfortable.
First, a cleaning fee. Many vacation rentals have a cleaning fee which is tacked onto the final bill. This pays for a maid service to make sure the place is kept tidy. Typically, you will see this charge as an additional $150- $250 for the entire stay, but with increasing competition, it is not uncommon to find rentals who build this cost into their nightly price.
Second, large deposits: This is the part that makes most renters uncomfortable because the owner is asking for a large chunk of money to sit there in case something happens to their home. This is typically not something to worry about as most trips happen without incident. If you do take the plunge, arrive at your location and notice something is amiss (such as a broken tv, hole in the wall, etc.) you can call or e-mail the owner right away to make them aware. If this is your case I usually recommend e-mailing them as well as calling because a paper trail is always your best friend.
Part of the benefit of vacation rentals is that you are in contact with the owner and for the most part owners want happy renters so they will continue to receive good ratings.
Good ratings leads me to my two big suggestions regarding online vacation rentals. First, look at the ratings! To have the best experience, look at the ratings for the homes you are considering. I like to read 5-10 of the 5 star ratings and all of the one or two star ratings. If there are more one or two star ratings than I want to read, I probably shouldn’t be renting the home. Once you have read through the lowest starred ratings, you have to decide how valid you think they are. I once read a one star review that read “they offered books I didn’t like and so I am rating them one star.” This review had no baring on my interest in the property so I was able to overlook it completely. If you notice a lot of negative review about how money is handled, the cleanliness of the home, or how issues were handled, you may decide to stay away from the rental as a precaution, but you will likely find a few of those for every rental because there are no rules about who is allowed to review.
Second, the cheapest option is not always the best. Cheap hotels have a reputation for being questionable and the same is true for vacation rentals. Pictures are very easy to manipulate, so instead of finding the one that is the cheapest, you will want to carefully evaluate what is offered, how much time the owner has put into the property listing, as well as the reviews. A less than pristine house is not the end of the world, but it may make you or a germophobe friend a little less comfortable during the trip
Most great girls’ weekends involve a good amount of great food. If you are headed out of town, finding the right eateries can be a little intimidating. Some people can find the hidden gems without even trying, but most of us just aren’t that lucky.
Instead of taking the risk of not liking anything you eat over the trip, it is wise to do a little research beforehand. One fun way to decide on where to eat is to assign each girl a meal and let her pick or plan, meaning she either gets to pick where to eat or makes the meal for everyone.
Most of the women I travel with prefer to spend their time eating at locations that we can’t normally frequent due to the little people that follow us around! If you have too many people, or too few meals, you may want to decide how many meals you plan to eat out.
Some people love to eat out every single meal, but others, like myself, begin to feel weighed down if they eat out more than once a day. Of course, I suggest talking to your group about this, but please note this is not some huge debate or discussion that needs to happen. It is more like you are touching base to set similar expectations.
Once you know what type of food experience you are looking for, you can do a little back ground work to make sure you get what want.
An easy way to find the best places are to ask some friends who have frequented where you are going. This is one of my favorite ways because you find the hidden gems that normally aren’t know outside of the locale. Asking a friend means you will also get information more applicable to you since your friends or acquaintances understand if you would have concerns about cost, type of service or any special dietary requirements
For me, yelp is intimidating. It offers a snap shot of basically every eatery and other services available. The reason yelp is not my favorite way to obtain restaurant recommendations is because each listing seems to host stock photos of food and doesn’t give me a good overall view of what to expect when I eat there. I am a planner, I know this about myself, so I like to know if a place is sit down with a waiter, fast food or somewhere in-between, I want to know if I should dress up or dress down, and with so many reviews for each restaurant, it is hard for me to evaluate the experience because there is just too much information to paint a clear picture.
Now that I have said that yelp is not my go to site for restaurant recommendations, I will say that it is a great tool to use in combination with other formats. When you receive a suggestion from a friend, yelp is a great way to double check and make sure you are getting accurate information. It is a wonderful way to search a specific area and if you are craving something specific to find it without too much hassle. Yelp is a smart app to download so you can check on a local eatery as you are out and about, but the mammoth of information it provides might be overwhelming for an initial search.
Are you addicted to Pinterest? Most of the world is and it is an easy and fun way to explore the food scene or a local area. Pinterest is great for getting more obscure suggestions that the normal Google search. Big businesses tend to own search bar results and I doubt anyone would be surprised to find out there is a McDonald’s in the city you are travelling to, but that may not be what you were hoping for.
Pinterest will blow your world open to ideas and eateries that most people do not know about. It is also great if you have specific dietary needs such as a keto, vegan, paleo or other specific diet needs. The great thing about Pinterest is that these are people who have written about their experiences rather than a business page about the restaurant.
Pinterest is the perfect website to use in conjunction with yelp. You are going to get a million suggestions for various boards, but not all bloggers are built the same so double checking the reviews on a larger scale will make sure you know what to expect and can really be excited about dining out.
If you are a true foodie, then you probably have a higher standard than I do and will want suggestions from someone with an equally developed pallet. Luckily, food blogging is huge and to find a number of them is as simple as typing in food bloggers and the destination you are travelling to. The result populated from your search will often be lists of popular food bloggers in that location. From there you can follow their Instagram, read their blog, or keep tabs on them through twitter. This is also a great way to find a blogger that really suits your sensibilities.
If you are at a total loss and don’t feel like diving down the rabbit hole that is blogs, yelp and Pinterest, you can also utilize Facebook groups. It seems that Facebook has a group for anything and they are easy to find if you search the city you are headed to and the word food. This will take you to a lot of different groups which will give you a lot of different suggestions as well as dialogues about the restaurants that you can choose. Although Facebook produces a lot of fake news, it is a great way to ask questions to locals about their dining experiences so you feel totally confident in your decisions!
Regardless of how you get your information the best part of eating out is just enjoying the experience. Even if one of your choices ends up a dud, take it in stride and find an ice cream truck asap!
The last part of your trip is planning all the fun activities you and your squad plan to do. Since I am an adventurer at heart, I love to be busy and active, even on a vacation, so my activity planning is a heavy focus of any trip.
This is one of my favorite aspects of planning because I really love creating new memories through activities. One suggestion I would make is that when you pre-book anything, make sure that you only buy tickets for people who have committed to that activity. If someone is on the fence, you don’t want to commit them to paying an admission price or risk swallowing that cost on your own. This can be difficult if you have an indecisive friend but it is their risk to take, not necessarily yours.
With so many different repayment options available, such as venmo or the cash app, it makes repayment a breeze. When I book things online, I like to confirm that I am planning to buy tickets, get the thumbs up, buy the tickets, screen shot the receipt and text it out with a reminder like “All booked, can’t wait, just venmo me when you get a chance.”
Just like any planning, you have a lot of resources in finding the specific activities you would enjoy with your friends.
The easiest way to fill your weekend’s social calendar is by talking to your squad. More than likely, there will be enough ideas to fill the weekend without looking for any outside suggestions. Even if your girls can’t come up with specific activities or locations they want to see, they should be able to give you some good ideas about where to start. Once you have ideas of what you are looking for, it is just finding the right deal and putting it on the to do list.
If you are totally lost about what to do, Groupon is one of my first stops. Groupon has a plethora of businesses who are trying to get their fun ideas out there at discount prices. Groupon also has a ton of filters so you are not searching through a million pages of things you are not really interested in.
The other benefit of Groupon is that there are often sales by Groupon to give you an extra percentage off local deals so you are able to save even more money. If you plan to book using Groupon, make sure to read the fine print as many locations exclude weekend and holiday bookings.
If you don’t find a Groupon deal that really strikes your fancy, you do not need to fret because it is also a great platform to show off what your destination has to offer outside of the normal tourist haunts. Being from Las Vegas, every search bar result will include 99% of activities available on the strip. The problem with this is those activities are all really similar and specific to a party weekend away. Those lists never seem to include the amazing things that locals know about off the strip and so tourists really end up missing some of the hidden treasures Sin City has to offer. It is worth taking a look at Groupon just to see what else is at your destination that you didn’t know about.
The largest drawback of Groupon is that it isn’t available in every location and it only has activities from people who have agreed to advertise on the page. It is a fun way to find the atypical activities of a destination, but it does not mean that those are the only activities available.
If you really want the local experience, then ask the locals. Facebook is a great way to approach strangers and ask for their honest suggestions. Facebook has traveler groups that would love little more than to answer any and all questions you might have about a specific location. I love these groups because they will not only tell you what the best things to do are, but the best time to go, how much they cost, and other things to do in the area. Start with our group as there are lots of people we know are eager to help.
If you don’t like planning as much as I do, then you may not choose to do any of this beforehand or only plan a couple big things and let the rest of the weekend develop more organically. If this is the case, then you will also have the benefit of consulting your hotel’s (or resort) concierge (or the owner of your vacation rental). These individuals are not only locals, but their whole job is to help you achieve a certain experience.
That means they will help you decide what activities are best and then even help you make the arrangements for the activity in some situations. This is a huge plus, but it does cost. Typically the concierge doesn’t charge anything for their service, but they are also not concerned with the prices of activities or finding a deal. If you are price conscious, you can always ask for their input and then search the web for a better deal than the normal price. I love asking concierges because they are up front about what to expect and usually care a lot about what my likes and dislikes are. It is like a personal party planner for your vacation!
Web Searches, Pinterest and Blogs
I am lumping these three things together because I have already discussed them and they are not my favorite ways to search for things to do. The main reason for this is you are going to get the same things over and over again with little variation. The results are always going to be the big tourist stops or well-known sites that already come to mind.
If you are headed to Paris, you will receive a million posts about hitting up the Eiffel Tower, Louvre and a couple churches, but very few of these lists are going to list those secret gems which really add a little spice to every trip. It doesn’t mean these sources aren’t valuable, but it does make them far less valuable in my eyes.
Planning the perfect girls’ trip can be an intimidating and stressful, but it doesn’t need to be. Taking the time to put together the right squad and choose your dream/reasonable locale will help you build a foundation to plan the perfect getaway with your gals. Once you have built that foundation you can decide on your vibe as a group and plan activities, accommodations and eateries that will help you relax, reminisce about the good times and create memories to last a lifetime!