5 Laid-Back Girls' Trip Destinations Anyone Can Afford

By Holly Johnson on 2 May 2018 0 comments

There are a million and one reasons a girls-only trip might be exactly what you need. Maybe you're planning a bachelorette party and need a few days to unwind before the big day. Or perhaps a weekend getaway has been on the horizon for years but you've never found the time. Either way, life is too short to never get away with your female friends.

Unfortunately, planning a trip with multiple guests isn't always easy — especially when your guest list is past the age of all-nighters fueled by endless tequila shots. For many, the insane appeal of the Las Vegas party scene isn't what it used to be. Plus, it's highly possible you're all working with different travel budgets and diverse ideas of what is considered "affordable."

If you're looking for a fun girls' trip that's laid-back, interesting, and likely at a price point everyone in your squad can afford, consider these five possibilities that are both affordable and fun.

1. Charleston, South Carolina

Thanks to its southern charm and intact historic core, Charleston is one of the most interesting beach towns in the U.S. Stroll down cobblestone streets or take a horse-drawn carriage tour of the city's historic treasures. Charleston's well-preserved buildings represent a wide variety of architectural styles, from Victorian to Art Deco. Round out your history lesson with a plantation tour and a visit to Fort Sumter, a sea fort well known for its role in two battles of the American Civil War.

When you tire of the city, head to a nearby beach. Folly Beach, a hangout for surfers and bohemians, is great whether you want to people-watch or participate. Surf novices can get a taste of the action with private lessons or small group classes from Shaka Surf School. For those more in the know, the shop hosts "Wemoon" surf and beach yoga classes on Saturday mornings for $90.

For a medium-sized city, Charleston is surprisingly cheap to fly to. Nonstop flights from Chicago start at around $225 in July, for example. Hotels in the historic district start at around $115 per night in July for double occupancy.

2. Tulum, Mexico

Tulum, Mexico is only an hour-and-a-half from the Cancun airport, but it might as well be a world away from the spring break party scene in the Cancun Hotel Zone. While Cancun is happening 24/7, Tulum puts off much more of a laid-back beachy vibe.

If you're up for some serious chill, Tulum is the perfect destination to relax on a beach with a book and a Corona all day. You can also swim in one of the many nearby cenotes, natural swimming holes created by the collapse of limestone bedrock above. These freshwater Edens can be a refreshing break from the seawater, which can get warm in the summer.

But the reason many people visit Tulum is to explore the ancient Mayan ruins set along a cliff over the azure sea below. Here, you can marvel at the ancient structures, wondering how they have continued to remain standing since the 13th century. Nearby Cobá contains more Mayan ruins, including a 137-foot pyramid you can climb.

Best of all, Tulum is affordable. You can fly into Cancun International Airport round-trip from many U.S. cities for around $300. From there, you can take two connecting air-conditioned bus rides to Tulum, but it may be just as cost effective to get a private shuttle for your group or even rent a car. Finally, Tulum accommodations are surprisingly affordable with many three-star hotels and vacation rentals well under $100 a night.

3. Denver, Colorado

Denver is a town that's all about the outdoors, but it's also got a thriving arts scene. By day, you can check out local hikes at Ouzel Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park, Bear Creek Trail at Lair o' the Bear Park, or Royal Arch Trail in Boulder's Chautauqua Park, for example.

By night, dine at one of the city's trendiest restaurants in RINO (River North Art District). Afterward, take in the district's street art and experimental galleries, and pop in for a drink at one of the many local breweries or wineries.

Or head to a performance. The Denver Theatre District is a 16-block area of downtown anchored by the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, where you'll find plays and musicals nearly every night of the week. In the mood for an outdoor concert? Head to the stunning Red Rocks Amphitheatre, just 10 miles west of Denver, which hosts concerts in just about every musical genre you can think of.

Because Denver is a popular destination with a large airport, it's easy to get cheap flights here. Round-trip airfare between New York and Denver in June starts at $250, for instance. Accommodations are affordable, too. Hotels in the heart of downtown Denver start at just $160 per night in June. Or, you can share a larger place with more space for everyone via Airbnb, starting at around $70 per night depending on the size and location of your rental.

4. Napa Valley, California

Napa Valley can be a very expensive place to visit, which is not surprising, considering it boasts truly spectacular views and some of the world's best wines. But there are actually some ways to experience Napa without breaking the budget.

Getting here is probably the most pleasant surprise, price-wise. Nonstop flights from Chicago can be had for around $300 in June.

Once you're here, you and your gal pals will want to sample local flavors from some of the region's many wineries. The only problem is, typical wine tours (or the Napa Valley Wine Train) will set you back hundreds of dollars per person. Instead, through Airbnb you can book a guided tour in a vintage VW bus for $125 per person plus wine tasting fees (tasting fees are usually $30-$40 each). Or if you want to work off the grapes in between tastings, Calistoga Bike Shop offers self-guided tours that include free wine tastings at the wineries starting at about $110 per person.

If that still sounds too expensive, create your own map and Uber your way to each winery. Uber drivers are easy enough to find in Napa, and splitting the costs with a group is probably your cheapest way to get around. Finally, the $15 Taste Napa Downtown card lets you visit 25 tasting rooms within walking distance of each other. You won't get to tour the wineries, but you'll be able to taste some amazing wines at a price you can't beat. Whatever you do, don't drink and drive.

Napa hotels can be pricey, but if you stay 12 miles away in Fairfield, you can find doubles as low as $133 per room (which you could split) at the height of summer. You can even book whole homes on Airbnb that work out to less than $100 per person per night.

You can even splurge for a bit of pampering at one of the day spas in Napa. A 60-minute Swedish massage at Greenhaus Day spa is $105 and facial treatments start at $60.

5. Sedona, Arizona

If your group prefers the active outdoors, Sedona is hard to beat. It's home to some of the most beautiful hikes in the nation, with huge red rocks, fascinating geologic formations, and even three spiritual vortexes, if you're into that kind of thing. The easy and popular Broken Arrow Trail makes a good start, with its towering rock formations, Panorama Point, and a sinkhole named the Devil's Dining Room. If you want to get out in nature without as much work, you can also book a Pink Jeep Tour with a guide who will point out the giant red rock spires, landmarks, and best views for $110 per person.

Sedona has a thriving spa scene as well to relax your sore muscles. Numerous spa resorts and day spas are located in the downtown area and beyond. Fortunately, spa services can be affordable; a 60-minute massage at Sedona's Namti Spa starts at just $74 and facials start at $79.

A two-hour drive from Phoenix, Sedona is fairly easy and cheap to get to. Round-trip flights from Chicago to Phoenix start at $201 in September. Hotels can also be reasonable. Double rooms at a basic hotel start at around $100 per night in September.

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