A weekend away from work and personal responsibilities...time to relax...laughing and bonding with a few friends...These are just a few of the reasons that girlfriend getaways are becoming more popular than ever.
Women account for around 32 million trips last year, and a lot of them were girlfriend getaways. According to the AAA Girlfriend Travel Research Project, these trips now represent four percent of all US leisure travel spending, which is almost $200 million a year.
And what do all these women do on their trips?
* Dining out (86 percent)
* Shopping (74 percent)
* Spa visits (73 percent)
* Going to the beach or pool (70 percent)
Sound good? Then you're ready to get away with the girls.
Planning a getaway can be tricky, so here are some tips to keep in mind.
Talk about money. Everyone involved needs to be honest about how much they can comfortably afford to spend. Remember that the point of the trip is to be together - it doesn't have to be at a swanky resort or exotic locale.
Share the legwork. Each person should do some research on possible destinations. Find out about activities, accommodations, air fare and other potential costs. Then get together over coffee, discuss the details and pick a destination.
It's helpful to have one person in charge of booking, handling the money and communicating with the group. But when it comes to planning itineraries, it's best to take turns. By sharing responsibilities for meal and activity planning, no one can take over the group and everyone has input into the fun.
Step outside your comfort zone. No group trip will thrill everyone all of the time. Be willing to go somewhere you've never been, try new types of food and do an activity you wouldn't normally do.
Because girlfriend getaways are so popular, a number of hotels offer special packages to make the trips even more fun. For example, here are two packages offered by Radisson hotels:
Minneapolis. This package includes a spacious guest room, a bottle of wine upon check-in, a $25 gift certificate to a local mall and a daily buffet breakfast.
Orlando. Some of the goodies in this package include a two bedroom suite, a bottle of champagne with chocolate covered strawberries, a $10 Starbucks gift card, complimentary transportation within five mile radius of hotel, and a $50 dinner for two at the in-house restaurant or a $50 credit for two to a spa, or two guest passes for a local fitness center.
Check the hotels where you're going to find out if they offer anything special for a ladies-only weekend.
Taking a break from it all is a healthy thing to do. And when you can share that break with close friends, you'll come back rejuvenated and ready to take on the world again.
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