How to make the most of the long-awaited trip--before, during, and afterwards.
1. Set a date far in advance and stick to it. We all know it can be hard to find the time, but it's easier if you have it written down in your schedule. Ideally, it's the same weekend every year.
2. Share the trip-planning load. Put each member in charge of a day, an excursion, or a meal, so that there's something for everyone and that no one person ends up shouldering too much of the burden. But don't overschedule--you don't want to be on the clock!
3. Make sure everyone has everyone else's cell phone number entered into their cell phone. As well as the hotel's address and phone number, and that of a local taxi company.
4. Create a kitty: Everyone chips in an amount at the start, and then you can pay for minor expenses (coffee, taxis) without arguing over who should get the check this time. If anyone mentions her husband or kids by name while on the trip, she has to put a dollar in the kitty.
5. BYOC: Bring your own chardonnay! You're going to be just fine hanging out in the room or at the pool. And don't forget the corkscrew and snacks. Or make a run to the supermarket upon arrival. You can make your own minibar, stocking it with treats that you won't let yourself have at home.
6. Bring old photos--the more embarrassing, the better. You'll be certain to spend much of the trip reminiscing, and you'll be glad you have the pictures on hand.
7. And take lots of pictures--of each other. A year later, you'll be far more interested in looking at photos of each other than you will be of any sites or attractions. But decide in advance whether swimsuit pictures are allowed.
8. If you fall in love with a place, and you want to return, book it then for the next year. For cruises and spas, you'll usually get a discount and/or preferential treatment.
9. The most popular destination in the U.S. for a Girlfriend Getaway is Las Vegas--and for good reason. What happens in a Girlfriend Getaway is just between us girls.
10. Rent bikes! It's a great way to have an adventure and to break the rhythm of walking around, especially in a city
11. Be willing to compromise. If she wants to go to a museum but you don't but she went to a different attraction for you--and said nothing--then it's your turn for a sacrifice. No one is going to want to see/go to the exact same things as their friend. It's usually not as fun to go alone, so a compromise can save hurt feelings and as long as you go together, it can't be that bad.
12. Allow for alone time. It's okay to crave it, and this trip is all about satisfying your cravings.
13. Don't pack everything/Shop on your first day: pick up a scarf, sarong, bag, or piece of jewelry to wear throughout your trip. Not only will you feel like a local, but it will remind you of all the places you got to wear it when you're back at home.
14. Designate each person to bring one bulky toiletry item (shampoo, conditioner, blow-dryer, lotion, toothpaste, etc.) to share with the group. That way you don't take up all the bathroom counter space with lots of large bottles or duplicate travel size bottles.
15. Get t-shirts made after the trip for everyone: put a group picture, the date and where you traveled to. Inside jokes and peoples' nicknames are a few more decoration ideas. It's a more personal souvenir than a magnet or snow globe--and one which you can wear year round and on the next trip!