Aug. 10, 2006 -- Planning a getaway with a group of girlfriends is quite different than booking a vacation just for you and your significant other.
Here are some tips from Budget Travel magazine for planning a trip that your friends will be able to afford and remember forever.
Get everyone involved in the planning. Write a list and make each person in the group responsible for an item on the list. This way, no one person gets stuck doing all the planning.
Pool money for group expenses like meals and taxis. It saves groups from figuring out each person's share at every stop. At the end of the trip, the group can split whatever remains.
Share the luggage load. If you're sharing a suite or have adjoining rooms, you don't need multiple hair dryers and millions of bottles of shampoo. With the strict weight limits on baggage, you'll need the extra space in your suitcases for souvenirs.
Consider vacation packages. Many tour operators sell air-hotel packages for less than the cost of airfare alone. It pays to capitalize on their relationships, so shop around and compare the cost of packages versus the price of purchasing airfare and hotel separately.
Subscribe to e-newsletters. Most airlines and tour operators send out weekly e-mails announcing special early-bird deals and last-minute sales, so be sure to get on those e-mail lists. Third-party sites like Travelzoo, Smarter Travel and Digital City will collect information on all sales and then share it with you. If you don't want to fill your regular inbox, set up a separate e-mail account just for travel deals.
Use reverse psychology in choosing a destination. Instead of deciding where you want to go and then looking for the best deal you can find, why not decide what kind of vacation you want -- museum-hopping, white-water rafting, lounging on a beach -- and then look for a destination that fits your budget.
Ditch the crowds. This holds true especially in Europe. Visit the Languedoc region of France instead of pricey Provence; try Le Marche, Italy, instead of Tuscany; explore Ljubljana, Slovenia, rather than Prague.
Be flexible when you book. When you're booking anything from flights to a complete vacation package, flexibility is key. Midweek flights are often less crowded and are therefore (generally) cheaper. Business hotels are apt to charge less on weekends, when their usual customers have gone home. Package prices can change dramatically if you move your departure date up or back a few days so check out all possibilities before booking.