How to Plan the Perfect Girls Trip: My Six-Step Guide
As a travel blogger, I’d like to think I’ve truly mastered the art of travel planning. At the very least I can now count “booking a decent hotel on the Booking.com app in under five minutes flat” as a serious skill. Can I legitimately add this to my CV?
But the truth is, no matter how many trips you plan in a lifetime, each one is always different. And so too the planning – and the challenges – that come with it. When travelling solo, for example, I always prioritise safety (i.e. not arriving in a new city after dark if I can avoid it), whereas when I’m planning a holiday with my best mates or my boyfriend, I focus on finding places and travel experiences that feel like the right fit for everyone going away.
Girls trips are one of my favourite ways to travel. There’s just nothing like that moment when you and your besties pop open that bottle of champagne to toast to all the brilliant and unexpected adventures ahead. But the reality is, long before you board that international flight, you need loads of preparation to ensure your girls getaway is as fantastic as you’ve been dreaming it to be.
But, fear not! The Beauty Backpacker is here to make sure that’s exactly the case. Here is my six-step guide to help you plan the perfect girls trip, be it an unforgettable hen do or your annual besties reunion (also known as your annual escape from adulting). So get out those Google Docs (honestly, I swear by these) and let’s get planning!
Step #1: Discover Everyone’s Travel Personality
First things first, you’ll want to figure out what type of travel everyone enjoys. This might seem really basic, but it’s so important to get this right. Is everyone keen on a nice spa break? Then a weekend at Champneys might be just the ticket. Do you all enjoy a little outdoor adventure? Then perhaps a road trip to the Lake District is the way to go. Is everyone craving a holiday further afield because they have some holiday time to spare? Then maybe somewhere more exotic, like Marrakesh, or Tel Aviv, is your best bet. More often than not, this first step can be the most time consuming, since you need to work around everyone’s travel style and travel schedule to find a place that works. Create a list of five to ten destinations that seem to accommodate everyone’s travel requirements and go from there.
Step #2: Choose Your Destination
Once you’ve identified everyone’s travel personality and listed out the destinations most likely to work for you all, it’s time to get the girls together and narrow the list down to your favourite spot. Of course, you may not get to a general consensus very quickly. If you can't agree, simplify things – and make the planning more fun – but setting up a voting system (Doodle poll is great for this) and get everyone to choose their top three places. Whichever destination gets the most votes wins!
Step #3: Book Your Flights
I actually find booking flights for a group trip much easier than booking solo travel. That's because you can “divide and conquer.” Once you’ve confirmed your travel dates, get together and split up the flight search with each of you using a different website to hunt down the best flight deals. I like travel aggregator sites like Kayak and Momondo, but with a couple of you on hand to help, you can compare prices across these, airline websites and even the mobile apps. Do this in person or over Skype so you can shout out your best finds and before you know it, you’ll have a round-trip ticket to girl getaway heaven.
Step #4: Book The Perfect Accommodation
Once your girl crew is settled on where to go, it’s time to book accommodation. You’ll want to consider both the number of girls going away as well as everyone’s holiday budget before you book. Agree a nightly hotel rate that suits everyone's budget so that no one’s shocked by the final holiday costs. Then, much like choosing your destination, you’ll want to agree what all the girls want from the trip. Do you just need a place to crash because you’ll be spending most of your time out exploring? Or do you a want a place to call home for a week, where you can chill by the pool with a few cocktails before a night on the town? Work this out first and then start your search. For larger girl groups, I recommend AirBnB. It’s global, so can book anywhere from Brooklyn to Beirut, and it makes it very easy for multiple people to organise a single booking. You can also book more local apartments, such as these lovely luxury apartments on Marbella Beach in Spain, to truly feel like a local. If your group is small, then consider staying at a boutique hotel instead. And if you’re on a tighter budget, book out all the beds in a single dorm room for your girl squad.
Step #5: Work Out What To Do When you Get There
Finally, the hardest part is over. You’ve picked your destination, you’ve got a way to get there and you’ve got a place to sleep. Now comes the fun bit! What ever will you do when you get there?
Here, I always turn to the travel bloggers I know and love and create a hit list of activities for the trip. When travelling in a group, I recommend one of two options. Ask one member of your gang to take the lead and organise all the trip's details, keeping in mind everyone’s travel style. But if everyone likes to get stuck in, then ask each girl to create a list of her must-sees in a shared Google doc. The landmarks that make the cut on everyone’s list get added to the group's travel itinerary. Then, decide if you want to book your activities in advance (sites like Get Your Guide are great for this) or wait until you arrive and book with a local agency. If your trip’s short, I recommend booking a few things in advance so you don’t spend your precious holiday time planning. If you're more concerned about your budget, book when you arrive because you typically get better deals from local agencies.
Step #6: Decide What to Pack
Last but not least, you’ll need to figure out what to bring on your girls trip. Of course you'll each bring things that suit your individual styles. But it’s still worth discussing how you’re planning to celebrate the occasion. Will you be living out of your bikinis or do you need to pack a few glamorous bits too? Either way, make sure you discuss things beforehand so every girl’s fully prepared. And if you're uber-organised, then try and coordinate across the group and minimise your amount of luggage. One of you can bring a hairdryer for everyone to share whilst another takes responsibility for the group's weekend face masks. Just, whatever you do, make sure one of you brings the bubbly.
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