Not sure where to start? Read our complete guide to planning a girlfriend getaway. Need some inspiration for your next trip? Read about 15 top girlfriend getaways. From renting a farmhouse in Tuscany to taking cooking classes in Florida's Amelia Island, each of our trips is ideal for bonding, relaxing, and learning something new.
Group discounts (typically 15-30%) don't kick in unless you book at least 10 hotel rooms, but you can often negotiate rates more easily than at resorts or on cruise ships, according to Lara Weiss of K Hotels.
"Staying in a suite can also be more cost-effective than booking separate rooms," says Jolie Goldring of Ovation Travel. For example, the rate for a 550-square-foot mini-suite at the Hilton New York rings up at $489 -- $100 less than two separate standard rooms. "But there's always the question of who is going to sleep on the pull-out sofa," Goldring says, noting that rollaway beds usually lead to extra charges.
- Affinia Hotels (www.affinia.com)
- DoubleTree by Hilton (www.doubletree.com)
- Embassy Suites Hotels (www.embassysuites.com)
- Fairmont Hotels & Resorts (www.fairmont.com)
- Hyatt (www.hyatt.com)
- K Hotels (www.k-hotels.com)
- Kimpton Hotels (www.kimptonhotels.com)
- Loews Hotels (www.loewshotels.com)
- SpringHill Suites by Marriott (www.marriott.com)
All-inclusive resorts come with alcohol, on-site dining, and activities. "The true benefit of this option is that each party knows what her costs are going to be up front, which takes the pressure off of splitting checks," says Hotel.com's Nicole Hockin. The flip side? You feel obligated to stay on property because you've already paid for all your meals and drinks.
- Divi Resorts (www.diviresorts.com) Caribbean
- Meliá Hotels & Resorts (www.melia.com) Mexico
- Iberostar (www.iberostar.com) Spain, the Caribbean, Mexico, and the Mediterranean
- Club Med (www.clubmed.com) worldwide
- Occidental (www.occidentalhotels.com) Spain, Mexico, and the Caribbean
- Riu Hotels & Resorts (www.riu.com) worldwide
- Sandals (www.sandals.com) Caribbean
- Starwood Hotels & Resorts (www.starwoodhotels.com) Mexico
- Superclubs (www.superclubs.com) Caribbean and South America
Vacation rentals offer more space and a per-person rate lower than a hotel. But fewer frills may also mean you'll have to go grocery shopping and cook. Make sure that everyone is willing to share the housekeeping chores and cleaning fees.
- HomeAway (www.homeaway.com), with more than 225,000 rentals that range from condos to private islands
- VRBO from HomeAway (www.vrbo.com), with 150,000 properties mainly in the U.S.
- VacationRentals.com (www.vacationrentals.com), a third brand from HomeAway that focuses on promotions and deals
- FlipKey (www.flipkey.com), a TripAdvisor company with more than 100,000 rentals around the world
- ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals (www.resortquest.com)
- Vacation Roost (www.abetterstay.com)
- Rentalo.com (www.rentalo.com)
- OwnerDirect.com (www.ownerdirect.com)
From waterslides to onboard lectures, cruising is ideal for multigenerational groups. Norwegian Cruise Line has even dreamed up innovative cabins to host larger parties, like its Courtyard "ship-within-a-ship" suite complexes. Cruises are also packed with value since prices include meals; alcoholic drinks and sodas typically cost extra.