What’s better than gathering the girls together and heading out for a weekend of fun? But, if you’re on a budget, it’s easy to think that you can’t afford much more than a night on the town in your own city.
Luckily, your trip budget doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are some tried-and-true tips for planning a girls’ trip on a budget.
Set up daily budgets
To ensure that you keep things cheap, establish a budget from the very beginning. Break it down into daily spending limits. It’s easy to overspend the first few days of a trip, especially when you’re excited to experience everything. Creating daily spending limits for both yourself as an individual and as a group will help you better track your spending and guarantee that your money will last you for the entire trip.
To make sure that you have all of your plans and budgets in one place, get a trip planner to record all aspects of your holiday. Once your girls’ trip is done, you’ll then have a supercool keepsake that you and your friends can return to again and again.
Create a group budget based on the lowest individual budget
Finances are hard to talk about, especially around friends. Chances are, not every member of your group will be at the same place financially. This can be awkward for those who need a lower budget, especially if you start looking at five-star hotels or other expensive activities.
Instead, create a group budget that accommodates the lowest budget of the group. Find accommodation that everyone can afford. Choose a more affordable destination. Skip the gourmet restaurant for another local spot. This way, the lowest spender won’t feel left out, and you’ll all get to enjoy your trip without worrying about finances.
If there are certain activities that members of your group are keen to experience, but it’s at the high end of the group budget, you can plan some free time when the group can split off to enjoy the activities that they can afford.
Negotiate Airbnb/hotel rates
You might be surprised to discover that accommodation rates are almost always negotiable. Whether you’re booking a hotel or an Airbnb, reach out to see if there are any discounts that they can offer. Often, and especially when it’s a low tourist season, you’ll be offered a small discount just for asking.
Prepare your own breakfast and lunch
If your girls’ trip is a longer one, the cost of meals can add up quickly. By preparing your own breakfast and lunch, you’ll save a bunch of money that you can allocate to delicious, local cuisine. It’s helpful if you book accommodation with a kitchen or at a hotel with a continental breakfast.
If you choose to eat out for lunch, opt for something like street food or another cheaper option. Especially if you’re a foodie, it’s easy to blow the bank in order to try everything, but when you’re on a budget, you’ll have to pick and choose the cuisine experiences that you can afford.
Use different apps to book activities
Technology is your friend when it comes to planning a girls’ trip. As you plan, use tour booking apps, like Viator or Groupon, that will outline different tours and activities available, often at a discount. Download booking apps, like Hopper, which track plane tickets and predict whether prices will rise or fall, ensuring that you book the cheapest tickets available. Financial apps like Splitwise will allow you to track how much each member of your party owes each other. Research whichever city you visit to see if there’s a transportation app available to provide bus schedules and other navigation services.
Apps like these will make your trip exponentially easier, and it’ll reduce any arguments or other drama surrounding finances, route planning, and other more stressful aspects of group trips.
Check multiple transportation options
Transportation can be the biggest expense when it comes to planning a trip. Be sure to consider all transportation options besides flying.
Busses aren’t super fancy, but a bus ticket is a fraction of the cost of a plane ticket. Taking a six-hour nighttime bus instead of a flight allows you to sleep on the way and saves you hundreds of dollars.
If you have the time, check the prices at different arrival/departure airports. Sometimes, an airport two hours away from your destination will offer tickets that are hundreds of dollars cheaper than if you arrive at an airport closer to your destination. You can then take a bus, train, or rent a car to travel from the airport to your destination.
Getting creative with your transportation can save you loads. Sure, one-way flights are much easier, but wouldn’t you rather have a few hundred dollars in your pocket for vacation fun?
Opt for cheaper, off-the-beaten path locations
When you imagine your dream girls’ trip, you might picture your favorite girls all together in NYC, Paris, or Aruba. Unfortunately, those destinations aren’t always suitable for those on a strict budget.
Instead, search similar cities that are a bit off-the-beaten-path. Lesser-known destinations tend to be cheaper, less crowded, and they can still offer a similar vibe to the bigger destinations.
For example, if you’re looking for a quintessential Southern experience, visit beautiful Charleston over other busier Southern destinations.
If you’re still set on staying at one of the more prime destinations, you may be able to swing it if you search for accommodation a little outside of the city center or even in an adjacent town. Everyone wants the hotel overlooking Times Square or Central Park which, unfortunately, means that lodging in those areas will come with a large price tag. Hotels a little further away won’t carry that cost.