We all love a girls’ trip. After all, what’s bad about spending a few days with your closest friends laughing until you cry over glasses of wine and making memories you’ll cherish forever? But planning it…not so much.

Whether you are organizing a bachelorette party or a much-needed weekend getaway, trying to balance the budgets and preferences of all of your girlfriends is enough to give anyone a headache.

But before you start to panic, we’ve broken down how to plan a girls’ trip into four simple(ish) steps. Each of these tips are meant to make sure everyone you’re jetting off with feels like they’ve been seen and heard in the planning process, meaning you’ll be sending less frazzled group emails asking everyone to just pick a place already. So read on, get your girls together, and get ready to have a blast.

photo by hanna haston

Take it Offline

We’ve all been a part of a nightmare email chain trying to get a girls’ trip planned — and it’s no secret that it’s not exactly the most efficient way to get a getaway booked. So if possible, take it offline and make an evening out of the planning process. In addition to getting around having to wait days for everyone to respond to simple questions about flight times or dates, it will just be plain fun. Invite everyone over for a glass of wine — or two — and start planning. We promise it will make comparing everyone’s calendars and tackling difficult conversations about budgets (more on that in a minute) so much easier.

photo by gal meets glam

Be Upfront About Budget

Figuring out a budget everyone is comfortable with is one of the most difficult parts of planning any kind of getaway. So our biggest tip for navigating these potentially stormy waters is to be as thoughtful as possible. Don’t suggest jetting off to the Maldives if you know members of your girl group are not on an overwater villa kind of budget. Instead, be mindful and encourage everyone to be as honest as possible with what they’re comfortable with. If it helps, have everyone write what they’re comfortable spending down anonymously and try to work with the lowest budget at the table. If that budget is much lower than everyone else’s, figure out if the other members of your getaway group are willing to help cover some of the difference.

photo by kristen kilpatrick

Figure out What You Want Out of this Trip

Once you’ve locked in a budget, you can move onto more fun conversations (we promise!). But before you jump into looking at bucket-list destinations, flights, and hotels, it’s important to make sure everyone is on the same page with what they’re looking to get out of this trip. So ask: Does everyone just want to spend time together? Or do you want a jam-packed itinerary full of city exploring and once-in-a-lifetime experiences? Getting all of this out on the table will help you figure out where you should go — because renting a remote cabin in the mountains is probably a bad idea if most of your friends can’t sit still for more than a few hours.

photo by kristen kilpatrick

Narrow Down the Options

Finally, use all of these conversations to narrow down your options to what’s in budget, and what presents enough opportunity for everyone to do what they want to do. Ask everyone in your group to share two or three ideas with this in mind, and pay attention to the places that more than one person throws out. If three out of four people mention Santa Barbara or Sedona, for example, you’ve likely found a winner. So book it and get ready to have a great time.

Are you heading off on a trip with your closest girls anytime soon? Chime in with planning tips (and tell us where you’re going!) in the comments below.

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