Last spring, my friends and I had a dream of treating ourselves to a weekend away. Unfortunately, we had a very limited budget, a huge group of 10, and did not want to sacrifice on lodging, services, or food. But in spite of these obstacles, we had a fantastic weekend and only spent around $100 per person for top-notch lodging and food.
Going away for the weekend doesn’t have to be a huge budget-buster. If you’re planning a spa getaway for the girls, a little creativity and planning can save you major cash without sacrificing any part of the experience.
Cheap Spa Getaways
Planning a girls’ vacation means spending some quality time with friends, but it can also mean a major hit to the wallet. Check out some of the ways you can lower the cost while still enjoying the relaxing spa getaway of your dreams.
1. Agree on a Budget
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Before making any reservations, make sure your friends all agree on a per-person budget for the entire weekend. This can help you narrow down your choices and help ensure that no one will be washing down caviar with Veuve Clicquot while the other girls munch on cheeseburgers. While it might be an awkward conversation, it’s important to get a sense of what everyone is comfortable spending, and to make sure you’re respectful of differing budgets.
2. Stay Local
Not everyone has a private Lear jet waiting in line to get waxed at the local airport. For those of us who don’t have the funds to take a weekend jaunt to Hawaii, why not check out local vacation destinations that have all the facilities and activities you want without the exorbitant travel costs? Some resorts even offer discounts to in-state residents. So pull up your state’s tourism website and see what hidden gems you can find.
3. Book a Condo
Why not forgo staying at a hotel and go in for a shared condo instead? If you can land a condo suite that sleeps 10 friends for as little as $150 per night, you’ll spend only $30 per person for a two-night stay. Furthermore, condos often offer kitchen facilities, which means saving big on meals. By thinking outside the box when choosing your accommodations, you could score some deep discounts.
4. Plan Activities Ahead
Knowing what you’re doing ahead of time means you can budget accordingly without surprises. Go over your itinerary with your friends and create a schedule down to the smallest detail so you’re not swayed by tempting activities outside your price range. You can include things like a few hours of shopping, lounging by the pool, and lunch at a favorite restaurant followed by mani-pedis. Sure, there are other events happening around your spa, but if you plan ahead you won’t feel that unwanted pinch in your wallet.
5. Use the Facilities for Free or Cheap
Be smart about the spa facilities you plan to use. Anything that requires one-on-one time with an employee, like a professional massage or facial, will likely be pretty expensive. General facilities for spa-goers – like the gym, steam bath, pool, and hot tub – are typically free for all guests to use, so be sure to put those on your to-do list.
You can also improvise your workouts by going for a group run or splitting the cost of a yoga instructor. Hot yoga followed by a dip in the pool will make you feel pampered without requiring you to dish out the big bucks. Also, call ahead and find out if there’s a distinction between amenities for resort guests and for spa guests – if you have to book an expensive massage to gain access to the sauna, it’s better to know before you go.
6. DIY Your Spa Treatments
At $75 a pop, resort manicures and pedicures might not be in the budget. So how about opting for DIY spa treatments instead? You can bring a UV light and a gel manicure set for group mani-pedis. Or, grab cheap, DIY face masks from the local drugstore to apply while gossiping poolside.
If you want to get really creative, a paste of oatmeal and milk makes an excellent exfoliator, while mashed strawberries mixed with cornstarch works well as a pore-refining mask. Turn down the lights in your room and crank up the tunes. You’ll never miss the pricey treatments down at the spa.
Even if you have a seriously limited budget, you don’t have to forgo a relaxing vacation with your friends. As long as you’re all committed to creatively saving money, you can still return home feeling relaxed and happy, and not stressed out because you just blew your budget on a shiatsu massage.
How do you save money when you go on vacation?