Between the demands of work, children and significant others it can be tough to even agree on a date for a girls’ night out, so if you’re planning to get away with the girls for any length of time, settle on a date first and stick to it. Make it far enough in advance to allow everyone to clear their calendars.
Then the real fun begins. It’s a good idea to sign up at a web site like Triporama.com or Groople so you and the girls can collaborate without having to arrange to meet physically. These services give you access to group rates and also help ensure that all the decisions–and work–isn’t confined to just one person. After you’ve settled on the major details, each member can take charge of a day, an excursion, or a meal, so that there’s something for everyone and that no one person ends up shouldering too much of the burden.
Another item to settle early on is your travel budget. Get together, online or in person, to talk about what everyone can comfortably afford to spend. Don’t feel pressured to spend more than you can afford, and don’t pressure anyone else to commit to more than they’re comfortable spending. You’re going on this vacation to spend time with your friends, not to spend money.
Once a budget has been set, you might want to open a vacation fund to which each member of the group can contribute on a regular basis. The amount of the contributions should be agreed upon by everyone, although one person should probably act as banker. Have the banker open up an account at a bank. The fund can take care of hotel reservations so nobody has to go chasing after anyone when it’s time to put your deposit down. You can also set aside money for taxis, afternoon coffee or other incidentals.
The group may already have agreed to a week in the tropics, or a Las Vegas spree. If not, you can get the ball rolling by suggesting a location, or a couple of locations, and asking for volunteers to research those locations. Venues to consider are a cruise, a tropical resort, a national park or a theater and shopping spree at a big city. Spa getaways are also a great option for girlfriends. and if you’re looking for something completely different, consider one of the following:
- A cattle drive, or something less strenuous at the original Hole in the Wall at Willow Creek Ranch.
- Rock ‘n Roll Fantasy Camp.
- Mountain biking in Maine.
- A surf safari especially for women.
Once you’ve picked a spot, it’s time to research accommodations. Much like you did with the destination itself, split up the research. Give everyone a week to report back and then another week to settle on a hotel. Then reserve your rooms, using the fund money as a deposit. Decide whether you’ll rent a car or take taxis or public transportation and nail down those options at the same time.
Is everyone departing from the same airport? If yes, then get someone to monitor sites like Airfarewatchdog/ to find the best deals. Designate a spot for everyone to meet once they arrive whether you’re traveling alone or together.
Before you take off, though, here are some other tips to make your stay more pleasant.
- Pick a meeting spot before you leave the hotel in case you become separated from your group.
- Bring your own booze. If you’ll be spending a lot of time hanging out at the hotel pool, bring snacks and liquor so you don’t have to resort to the hotel minibar.
- Compromise. No one wants to do exactly the same thing at the same time, make allowances for individual preferences.
- Coordinate your packing. Designate each person to bring one toiletry item to share with the group.
- Take lots of photos and share them with the group.
Photo credit: Mr Andrew Murray