The Afar Guide to
Girlfriend Getaways

There is no better way to bond with your girlfriends than a well-thought-out getaway. This may be a weekend of pampering and shopping with your squad at a big city hotel and spa, or it may be a trip to reconnect with mom at an all-inclusive Mexican resort. Depending on what you are celebrating, your girlfriend getaway may call for some thinking outside the box. Ditch your college campus reunion and instead spend the week sipping wine in the South of France with your roommates from that era. For your sister's bachelorette, toast her big night with fine champagne—but do it in an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora after spending the day swimming with sharks in the lagoon. Girlfriend getaways come in all flavors these days. Whether your gang of girls wants to shed their stress in the great outdoors, at a festival, or with bottle service and a dance floor, this guide provides options for any style of escape.

Wellness Getaways
Be it a spa weekend in a big city or a fitness-focused retreat on the beach, an adventure in healthy eating at a top cooking school or the chance for mother and daughter to reconnect in a far-flung corner of the world, wellness is a great theme to incorporate into any getaway with the girls.
Jet Set Luxury
Some trips call for an extra dose of bling. Whether it's your best friend's last fling before the ring or a celebration of 20 years post-college friendship with your main squad, these luxury journeys are elevating your exclusive getaway to a whole new level.
Active Adventures
There's no better bonding experience between friends than conquering a challenge. You may be summiting a continent's highest peak, rafting a wild river, or planning an entire trip around a music festival. No matter the locale, doing something active and adventurous on a girlfriend getaway adds an extra dose of excitement to the holiday, and makes for spectacular memories.
Top Tips for Surviving the Girlfriend Getaway
A vacation with the girls can be a wonderful memory—or a terrible trip plagued by petty fights. The success of a getaway depends on the planning, the execution, and your level of friendship. After all, with the exception of roommates and immediate family, you may not have lived with your friends before traveling with them. Habits that are cute at the bar can quickly turn annoying on a two-week getaway abroad. Plan ahead, act with empathy, and follow these tips for success.
Ask questions. Do a little research before agreeing to a group trip—especially if you don't know the other participants that well. How will you be getting around? Where will you be staying? Does everyone have similar budgets? This is particularly pertinent if you are on a tight budget or you know you are picky about your travel accommodations.
Compare your travel styles. On trips with just one or two friends—especially trips that last more than a weekend—try to pick someone with a similar travel style. Regardless of whether you will be sharing a room, you will certainly be sharing a holiday. If you know that you only enjoy active vacations with lots of hiking and little drinking, but your friend's perfect trip involves lounging on a chair by the beach with a pina colada, then you might not be the best match. If you do decide to go together, however, just make sure that the chosen destination can meet everyone's needs. It's perfectly fine to spend the days apart, then meet up for dinner at night.
Realize that with travel, opposites do not (usually) attract. If you're sharing a room, travel style becomes even more important. The more you mesh, the less likely you'll end up clashing after a few nights in the same room. So if you are messy, bunk with your messiest friend on a group trip.
Seriously consider an all-inclusive. These days, many of the most discerning luxury travelers are checking into select all-inclusive resorts. Here, you'll find high-end amenities and chef-driven cuisine at restaurants with a la carte menus and top-shelf liquor. The only difference is that you don't have to pay a tab and tip at the end; you can eat and drink as much as you want for a pre-set, per diem rate. Vacationing with a group of girlfriends, especially across different income brackets, can be so much less stressful when you don't have to worry about splitting a tab.
Have that budget talk. If you're traveling with friends that have different amounts of disposable income, and you haven't booked an all-inclusive, make sure to have a chat about individual travel budgets before you depart. Establish a mutual understanding of what people can and cannot afford when it comes to dining and excursions. This will help keep hurt feelings at bay on the holiday.
Schedule downtime. Regardless of who you are traveling with, nearly everyone needs some downtime. Leave a few afternoons free to keep everyone smiling throughout an otherwise planned-out trip.
Respect people's limits. This is especially important for group trips where you may not know everyone personally. If you like to do every thrill-seeking adventure on the planet, this doesn't mean everyone in your group does. Be wary of your traveling companions' feelings and comfort limits. Show some empathy rather than peer pressure when it comes to talking your sister's best friend into skydiving on the destination bachelorette party.
Discuss the destination. When choosing a destination, make sure to have an in-depth conversation about what each person wants out of the trip. This will be most important on trips to areas where one activity predominates over others. If half your group wants to spend a weekend shopping, and the other half wants to get multiple spa treatments, but everyone loves foodie restaurants, then consider a trip where you are staying at a hotel known for its spa in a big city known for its food scene.
Make a must-see list before leaving. When traveling with a group, it can be easy to end up going with the flow and missing out on something you really want to experience. To avoid this, do some research before leaving on the trip. Set your intentions, and make sure to include them in your itinerary. You don't want to come home feeling resentful that you didn't catch the one place you really wanted to visit.
Be flexible and open-minded. Traveling requires flexibility and an ability to adapt to the unexpected. Traveling with friends will demand even more of this mindset. Expect to get irritated with your travel companions at some point on the trip, but remember this is normal. Try to move past the experience as soon as possible, rather than dwell on it. Keep an open mind and a good attitude and you'll do fine. In fact, you'll have a blast!
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Becca Blond, Girlfriend Getaways Curator

Becca Blond is an award winning freelance travel writer based in Denver, Colorado. She is the author of more than 30 Lonely Planet guides across five continents and contributes content to publications like USA Today, The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, AFKTravel, Cadillac Magazine and Jetsetter. She is also a Personal Travel Planner for Jetsetter. When not on the road she lives with her three dogs, Duke, Bobbi and Poppy, who assist with pet friendly hotel reviews. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @PlanetBlond or check out her blog at Totally True Adventures in Travel Writing.