How to survive a girls trip
The only place to book connecting hotel rooms and suites. Here's how.
Taking a trip with a group of your favorite girls can be one of the best vacations ever—or one of the most stressful.
There’s always one or two friends in every group who make it a little tough to cut loose and relax: the girlfriend with insane dietary restrictions who wants to choose all the restaurants; the type-A friend who feels the need to control every aspect of the trip and lives to create ambitious itineraries; the fun friend who insists everyone take shots at all hours of the day and gets mad that no one wants to go clubbing till 3 a.m. To achieve maximum adventure with minimal drama, you’ll need a strategy. We talked to six experts about how to make the most of your next girls trip so you can keep the laughter and wine flowing. And if you're thinking about taking the girls to New Orleans, check out our guide on the best spots to stay, eat, and revel in the Big Easy.
Set a budget and stick to it
No one likes to talk about money, but if you discuss money before the trip, it’ll lead to much less stress during the trip. Start with an honest conversation about what each woman would ideally want to spend and encourage people to submit a range. You should ask them to direct message you rather than share it with the group—it’ll encourage more honest responses. From there, you should determine an ideal budget to suit the group and share it with your girls, breaking it into categories like hotel, restaurants, activities, etc. Then, as you plan, be transparent about what each category is going to cost and the running total. Use the app Splitwise to track shared expenses and divvy up each person’s share without ever having to break out a calculator.
Eating out is always a major expense on any vacation, but it doesn’t have to break your budget! Robyn Medlin Lindars a.k.a “Grill Girl” has tips on how to save money on food when you’re on a girls trip.
“Look for restaurants that offer live music and happy hour specials to keep your merry-making a little more budget friendly,” Robyn says. “Check your Yelp app for cool food trucks or hole-in-the-wall restaurants known only by locals, which will help eliminate visiting the touristy places that may offer a good location but less than stellar (and often overpriced) food. Depending on the length of the trip and where you’re staying, you may want to get a room with a kitchen. It’s nice to have the option of cooking when you get tired and don’t want to go out. While not everyone may want to cook while on vacation, eating out can get expensive so be smart by splitting meals (and calories!), bringing your own booze to the hotel, and looking for ladies night drink specials!”
Sleep alone, but stay together
There are a lot of personalities to cater to on a girls trip, so it’s best to stay at a hotel where everyone’s needs can be met. Hungry for a late-night snack? There’s room service. Wondering about the best coffee shops you can walk to? Ask concierge. Forgot a toothbrush and don’t want to make a special trip to get it? Hotel staff will bring you one. Plus, you have amenities such as a jacuzzi, gym, or spa that your girls will love to take advantage of.
Just because you met some of your girls in college doesn’t mean you have to cohabitate on vacation like college students, cramming everyone into one room and forcing people to share beds or uncomfortably sleep on a rollaway. Connecting hotel rooms ensure your group stays together and has all the privacy they need, including their own bed if they prefer. Suiteness is the only place to book adjoining hotel rooms and suites, allowing you to search anywhere from one-to-four bedrooms and displaying the number of beds available in each accommodation.
“In a fast paced world that lacks real-life connection because of distance or the constant absorption in social media, having quality face-to-face time with your friends and family is a gift,” Kate says. “For me, the magic always happens in those late-night conversations with a glass of wine or early mornings with coffee and donuts chatting away with the people you love and don’t get to see often enough. I love the connecting room options that Suiteness offers because we all get to stay together and nights are not cut short because someone has to go off to a separate house or room. It’s the best of both worlds: you have your own space to sleep or put the friend that’s had a bit too much to drink and have a shared common space to gather and hang out together. With all of the quality amenities, a hotel has to offer, it’s the perfect backdrop to create memories that will last a lifetime.”
Smart collaboration starts with sun signs
Involving your girls in the planning will not only make your life easier, but it’ll eliminate some potential complaining during the actual trip. You’ve got plenty of options for how to communicate as a group, but forgo group text and chat in favor of platforms that make it easy to search, save, and collect information such as Slack and Google docs. In Slack, you can create multiple channels such as #restaurants, #hotels, and #activities and assign a lead to each, then formalize the plans in a Google doc that everyone is free to edit, comment on, and contribute to. From the Google doc, you can finalize an itinerary and share it with the group, who can print it out or easily access it on their smartphone.
Astrologer extraordinaire Leona Moon, whose hilarious memes you’ve probably enjoyed on Instagram, has some recommendations on how best to assign each friend an area of planning, based on which element their sun sign falls in.
“When planning my girls trips, I consider the mix of friends going based on the element associated with their sign: Earth (Capricorn, Taurus, Virgo), Water (Pisces, Cancer, Scorpio), Air (Aquarius, Gemini, Libra), or Fire (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius),” Leona says. “Earth signs love to plan, so let them! Assign your Earth friends the most detail-oriented aspects of planning, from finalizing the itinerary to handling the daily schedule and time table while you’re on the trip. Location is most important to Water signs, and they’ll be an asset when choosing a destination and hotel, though they’ll naturally gravitate toward anywhere with a pool or beach. When traveling with Air signs, leave some flexibility and free time in your itinerary. Air signs love to organize a spontaneous adventure and somehow know all the hot spots to go with zero advance research. Fire signs like to be physically active on vacation and spa, gym, or wellness time is important to them. They also have impeccable taste in food and wine, so they should be tasked with selecting restaurants and bars!”
Make dinner reservations ahead of time
You don’t need to plan every single meal, but you absolutely should determine where you’re going to have dinner each night. Don’t leave restaurant decisions to a group debate—you won’t reach an easy consensus. Assign one person the task of researching restaurants within your budget that accommodate a group and any dietary restrictions, checking Yelp for reviews and Google Maps to make sure it works with your itinerary. Once the list is final, make reservations by phone or online, ideally 30 days in advance.
“Anyone else usually plan their trips around the restaurants they want to eat at? Yeah, me too. I choose the restaurants and research their locations before creating my itinerary, so I can make sure to maximize my time in whatever city I’m visiting and not spend too much time getting from place to place,” Allie says. “However, traveling in a group isn’t always easy and there are so many more factors involved. It’s best to research restaurants ahead of time, so you’re not left trying to find a restaurant that fits all your needs last minute (because we all know how that usually goes). I usually try to bring breakfast foods with me or stop by a grocery store once I get to the destination, so that I can tie myself over until lunch (this is especially helpful when staying with others because everyone is on different schedules and you won’t have to rush out of the room in the morning for breakfast or wait on everyone else if you’re hungry). Also, this way you can save by only eating out for two meals every day instead of all three.”
Create a self-care environment
Let’s face it, some people are better travelers than others. It’s normal to feel anxious about the most basic aspects of traveling—flying, familiarizing yourself with a new city, making sure you hit all the must-see places. Girls trips are the perfect opportunity to insert some much-needed self-care into your itinerary. Before you go out at night and after the day is done are two ideal times to encourage the girls to pamper themselves—be it face masks, glam sessions, or even an in-room massage (if it’s in the budget).
Professional makeup artist and licensed cosmetologist Bre Khounphinith, Beauty By Bre on Instagram, suggests adding skincare and makeup to your girls trip to bond the group.
“A great hydrating mask would be awesome to bring out everyone’s natural glow for the trip. I love Neutrogena Hydro Boost mask. They are only about $3 and are amazing,” Bre says. “One night of glam is always a great idea—especially when you don’t have to do it yourself. Being a makeup artist, I do advise booking more than one beauty expert if you have a party larger than four. One artist doing a large number of girls can take a long time and eat up most of your day. The experience itself is a lot of fun and who doesn’t like to bond over makeup? If this is something you do decide on. I would recommend it being for the biggest night of the trip. You’ll feel gorgeous and have amazing pics.”
Avoid mommy/wife/work guilt
It’s hard to leave it all behind and relax when you’re worried about your responsibilities back home. Before you embark on a girls trip, get a good read on who’s probably stressing about going, be it the mom with young kids, your girl having relationship drama, or the workaholic who has a huge project coming up. Make sure these women feel supported and encourage them to talk about their feelings, but not so much that it dominates the conversation. You’re taking this girls trip to live in the moment—together—and it’s okay to demand everyone get on the dance floor and shake off the guilt vibes.
As a mom who is always on the go, Nikol Fisher a.k.a. BeachSeakersFam on Instagram, understands first-hand how difficult it is to leave the kids behind, but sheds light on the value in doing so.
“Remember life before kids? A weekend getaway with your best girlfriends was nothing out of the ordinary and oh-so-much fun! Then you became a mom and you can’t find the time to even grab coffee with friends let alone go on a girls trip, and besides, how on earth would your kids survive without you? Don’t let having kids ruin your much needed time with your gal pals. Your kids will survive for one weekend without you, and you will come back so much more refreshed,” Nikol says. “Get your partner or a family member or a babysitter to look after the kids—it's actually good for them to have someone look after them other than you every once in a while! And you need to go on that trip with your girlfriends, talk about non-kid related things, have a drink (or two), go out dancing, and just relax. Being a mom, you automatically start putting everyone’s needs above your own and you just forget about your own needs. A girls trip is just what you need to keep you sane and remind you of the person you were before you became a mom—she’s still in there! You are so much more than someone who is yelling at her kids for all the spills and messes or is constantly stressed out about whether or not her kids are getting enough nutrition. It is amazing what one weekend will do for your well-being. Plan that trip with friends and don’t feel guilty about it! Your kids will thank you for it in the long run.”