In theory, nothing sounds better than an epic weekend getaway with your besties, whether you’re taking advantage of cheap travel to Europe, visiting breathtaking destinations threatened by climate change before they disappear, or hitting some of the real-life inspirations for your favorite Disney rides. In reality, just navigating an unfamiliar place can be stressful — even before you even factor in whether everybody’s having a blast. But don’t fret: It’s possible to preserve your friendship and your sanity when you travel with your squad. Here are seven planning tips to de-stress your girls’ weekend for the best group trip ever.


1. Get a sense of what everybody absolutely does and does not want to do. You don’t have to love every part of the itinerary, but it’s important for there to be something for everyone. On the flip side, you want to make sure that no one feels downright uncomfortable with anything on the agenda. Let “balance, balance, balance” be your ultimate planning mantra.


2. Find out what everyone’s ideal day looks like. Chances are there’s going to be a mix of early birds and night owls in your group. Taking stock of when people usually like to kick-start the day and when they want to get some zzz’s will help when compromising on a group schedule or deciding what activities to split up for.


3. Agree on a general budget. We get it — talking about money is uncomfortable. But that’s exactly why it’s crucial to make sure everyone’s on the same page. Besides having a rough total of how much you want to spend, remember that budgeting is all about priorities. Someone might prefer to skip the luxury hotel in order to splash out on a fancy dinner, while others might want to save on meals so that they can splurge on theater tickets.


4. Make a spending plan and track those expenses. Once you have a budget, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty. Does the group want to spread out booking costs, or keep it simple and have one person pay up-front? When it makes sense to put a bigger payment on one card — if a restaurant can’t split the bill eight ways, for example, or to save time in ticket queues — how important is it to rotate who pays first? Create a system for tracking every purchase, be it a Google spreadsheet or a trip-planning platform like Travefy.


5. Don’t be afraid to split up or go solo. Let’s be real: There are very few people you really want to spend every waking moment with, so don’t feel like you have to do everything together. After all, splitting up ensures that people will get to do what they’re most excited for. And if someone wants to bow out here and there? Agree that there won’t be any hard feelings from either side. (Remember, JOMO is the new FOMO.)


6. Group chat the right way. We’re all for diversity, but group texting gets messy when iOS and Android phones mix. Late for breakfast? Found an awesome boutique on your own that you think everyone should come check out? It’s best to have an app-based messaging option that will work equally well on all devices — whether it’s Slack, WhatsApp, or Facebook’s Messenger.


7. Know your tools. Technology will make your life a whole lot easier. You’ve probably heard of these already, but Venmo and PayPal let you settle the tab without worrying about cash or exact change. Travefy — mentioned earlier — has a payment feature, in addition to other capabilities like collaborative itinerary building and chat, while apps like TripCase and Kayak provide flight updates and itinerary organizers, with the addition of receipt filing in TripCase. If your trip involves long-distance driving, Roadtrippers shows you restaurants, attractions, and other stops along your route.

What are your travel-planning tips for a great group getaway? Let us know @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)