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7 steps to planning a fun and relaxing girls spa weekend getaway

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I've often taken the lead when it comes to planning a girls spa weekend for me and my girlfriends. Planning and researching the trip is half the fun for me! Read on to find out how to pull off a great girlfriend's weekend that will be relaxing, refreshing and fun. Here is my recipe for success:

7 Steps on how to plan a girl's spa weekend getaway

Step 1 - Pick a date

When do you want to go? What season? Will it be a holiday or long weekend? Could bad weather negatively impact your travel plans? How many nights will you stay?

Step 2 - Set a budget

Be considerate of budgets when deciding on a location. It isn't fair to exclude someone who wants to come along by selecting a location that isn't within the budget of the group.

On the other hand, since it's a spa weekend it probably won't be cheap. It's a good idea to have realistic expectations and break down costs. How much do you want to spend per person? Be sure to factor in:

- Accommodations
- Meals, beverages and snacks
- Transportation costs like airline tickets, gas or highway tolls
- Spa treatments and gratuities
- Other activities: shopping, sky diving, and etc.
- Taxes, fees, gratuities and service charges

Step 3 - Select a location & hotel

How far do you want to travel from home? Would you want to fly or drive a few hours out? We usually stick to a reasonable driving distance for the weekend - usually 4 hours or less - though we sometimes stretch it to 5 hours for a great deal or a coveted location.

What type of place do you want to stay at? Bed and breakfast, motel, resort, hotel, country, spa resort, and etc. What type of accommodation would work for everyone in your group? Basic, deluxe or luxury?

Will the spa be onsite or offsite? Onsite is very convenient and much more relaxing. Your group can have spa treatments at the same time and head to the spa together. If your spa treatments are at different time, it works out nicely if people can head to and from the spa at their leisure.

Step 4 - Factor in other activities

What will you do after the spa? Is shopping important to your group? Will you want to swim in a pool, soak in a hot tub, and relax in a sauna? Are exercise facilities important? Do you want to be in a city or in a more rural area? Will you participate in any outdoor activities during your weekend?

Step 5 - Make reservations as soon as steps 1 through 4 are complete.

Reserve your accommodations first, spa treatments second and dining/activity reservations last.

It's tempting to wait to reserve the spa treatments, but since it's the main purpose of your weekend you'll be disappointed if your first choice of treatments and times are booked up. Most spas recommend you reserve your treatments when you make a reservation.

Step 6 - Iron out the final details

Are you driving? If so, who will drive? Map out your route.

What will you bring? Don't forget bathing suits, athletic footwear, clothing, music, snacks, wine/beer or other beverages for the room.

For our girls getaways, everyone bring something different: chocolate, wine, bottled water, snacks, and magazines. In the early years we planned this out to the letter but now everyone just shows up with something to share and it works out great. The personalities and interests usually dictate what each person will show up with. It's kind of fun waiting to see!

What time will you leave? What time do you plan to arrive home? If you are leaving families behind, this is especially important to agree on what time you will plan to return home.

Step 7 - Have a great time!

Some final words of wisdom from an experienced girl's weekend planner: don't let the trip get too big.

Stick with a manageable number of three to four friends. When assembling a group of girlfriends for a spa weekend, assemble carefully. Remember, this is supposed to be girlfriend bonding and relaxation at its best. You will be spending a lot of time together - in the car, in the room, at the spa, and at meals. Consider group dynamics and a good mix of personalities.

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