Things are starting to return more to normal and after being cooped up and apart for so long, we know you’re raring to have some fun. Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve been able to see your besties, especially those who don’t live near you. Video calls are fine but getting together in person is where real connections are made and relationships strengthened.
If you’re like us, you’re itching for that long-awaited trip with the girls. But, for some, budgets may not look like they used to or maybe you’re just really looking to have a great time without stressing about your finances while having fun and then when you get home.
“You will have fun with your friends no matter what you do, whether it’s a weekend spent sleeping in bunk beds and playing Clue at a rental cabin, or splurging on a hotel with great views and a better pool scene,” says Meg Sloan, chief marketing officer at ONE, a fee-free digital banking platform. “But, stress about money is real, and anxiety about spending money you don’t have can intrude on all those good memories you’re creating.”
We know you’re ready, so we have some great tips for you to plan the ultimate girls trip without breaking the bank.
Plan Ahead/Plan for the Off-Season
Plan your trip as far in advance as possible. This gives you time to price shop and find the best deals without having to settle, and some car rentals, hotel rooms, and even spas have discounts if you pay in advance, says Sloan. If you’re able, plan your trip during the off-season, when you might even be able to negotiate rates.
Be Honest With Yourself and Your Friends About What You Can Spend
Before deciding on anything, it’s important to make sure you and your friends are on the same page. It can be tough to talk about money with friends, but making sure everyone is clear on spending expectations can fix any issues before they start and keep stress to a minimum. It’s also important to stick to this budget while on the trip in case one friend really cannot go over her expected expenses.
Where to Stay
Find a Big House To Share
Instead of staying at a posh hotel with multiple hotel rooms, consider finding a big house on AirBNB and similar sites for all to share. Finding a large house with multiple bedrooms is usually very doable on these sites, and you’ll likely come out ahead in the price with access to more space for games and a kitchen for cooking, if you decide to save even more by staying in.
Make It a Staycation
If you are looking to save even more than on a shared space, consider having someone in the group host. “Maybe one friend has an available vacation home or their house will be empty over a long weekend because their partner is taking the kids to a soccer tournament,” says Trae Bodge, smart shopping expert at Truetrae.com, a smart shopping blog. “If you’re not paying for lodging, there’s only food and drinks to worry about.”
Food and Drink
Eating (and drinking) out adds up fast. If you’re concerned this will blow your budget, plan for one big night out with a nice dinner and some drinks, and then plan to do cheaper takeout or even cook for the other meals. There’s no shame in the frozen pizza game or even hotdogs over a campfire – get creative. Everyone can take turns cooking or let the aspiring chefs in your friend group impress everyone with their skills.
If you plan to eat in, you can save even more with these tips:
Buy in Bulk
Take advantage of one of your party’s wholesale club membership. Plan your menu according to what is available in bulk and save yourselves up to 40%, Bodge says. Most wholesale clubs also have discounted booze and beer, so make sure to purchase your libations there as well.
Look for Savings
Deal sites will often have discounts or food. The community-run deal site, Slickdeals.net, has lots of deals on platforms like Grubhub for food deliveries (and Groupon for activities and beauty treatments), Bodge says.
What to Do
Have an Old-Fashioned Slumber Party
Encourage everyone to get cute pajamas and channel the slumber party of your youth. Order or make frozen pizza, play games or work on a puzzle, make popcorn, watch old movies you would have watched back then or binge that new show that you all promised to watch together. Bring at-home nail kits and give each other facials and makeovers just like the good old days … but maybe this time with some wine and cocktails, if you’re so inclined.
Find the Free/Cheap Tourist Traps
Most cities will have inexpensive places to visit. You can take a hike, visit a park, visit a local museum, or take in a community theater show. You might find there are more things to do than you thought. You can also visit local shops just to look at fun things and try stuff on with no expectations of spending or a minimal budget in mind.
No matter what you plan for your trip, you know it will be fun getting together with your girl gang. After all, the goal is to spend time together, not spend lots of money, and there are definitely lots of ways to do that.
More on HerMoney:
- 8 Surprising Ways to Save on Your Next Trip
- Podcast: Travel Savings Secrets from an Instagram Influencer
- Is Now the Best Time to Book Travel for 2022-2023?
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