Girl’s night out can be great. But if you’re like many of today’s stressed, busy moms, you don’t just need one fun night – you need a weekend. (Ooh! Girl time.) Admit it, you’ve fantasized about it before: no duties, no kids (much as you love them) and loads and loads of girl talk. Why not finally do it?
If your answer is “because it’s expensive,” we can make it easier for you. As you do your budgeting, here are the best tips for having a fun mom’s weekend that won’t break the bank.
Places to Go, Things to Do, People to Meet
Like us, you’ve probably gone over the list of the usual things to do on a mom’s or girl’s weekend away. Some may be a little on the dry side; others are probably well beyond your budget. (I mean, sure. Who WOULDN’T love a mom’s weekend to New York City? Heck, as long as we’re at it…why not Paris?)
Realistically, most people today – moms or not – are on a budget. You won’t get a great girl’s weekend for free unless one of you has a very rich and very generous aunt, but there are ways around the money crisis. Here are our favorites:
- Go some place you’ve never been before, but keep within driving distance (say, three hours max). Just being in a different environment will be an adventure. It doesn’t have to be a sizzling Los Angeles nightclub be fun; just change your scenery. If you’re a city mouse, take your friends to a gorgeous country bed-and-breakfast inn. Or if you and the other moms are from the ‘burbs, plan activities in the city.
- Stay just outside of town. If you reserve a motel room in Goleta rather than Santa Barbara, it’s likely you’ll save oodles of money – while still being within a 20-ish minute drive to all the Santa Barbara sights. Or stay in the Back Bay or Cambridge rather than Boston proper (ouch, Boston proper – so fun, so hip, so expensive – pick a place outside the city limits for savings).
- Go on a wine tasting tour. When my cousin’s girlfriends lived in northern New Jersey, they drove up to the New York Finger Lakes area once a year for a wine tasting tour that was wonderful, with several wineries in close distance to one another. You’ll tend to sip rather than guzzle when it’s wine v. beer, too. Be sure to eat at every stop and have a designated driver back to the motel or B&B. Switch off DDs for your second day so everyone can get a turn at relaxation, fun and sampling.
- Arrange for a pampering weekend. Hen weekend spa breaks are popular for a reason: when else do you get to self-pamper? Look for Groupon and Living Social deals; don’t just pop into random spas and manicurists. They’ll instantly know you’re not local (they always do – trust us) and will invariably charge you up if you don’t do your homework ahead of time and get firm quotes. Also call ahead and ask about discount rates for your group.
- Plan a few activities in, too. You can save money by having an awesome all-grown-up slumber party with your posse. Have a movie marathon (tip: this does not have to be chick flicks…my girls and I did back-to-back Die Hard and Star Wars movie marathons on our weekend away, plus one Wallace And Grommet stuck in there – don’t ask). Eat, drink, relax in your motel room and save dollars on admittance fees and restaurant food.
- Attend a champagne brunch. Again, this is something say we’re going to do, but never get around to actually doing. Break that mold by going ahead and indulging mid-day. Don’t go to a super-expensive place, and once again, be sure to call ahead to get firm pricing and availability. You’d be amazed how inexpensive a champagne brunch can be.
Start Without Me: Mom’s Weekend Ideas Better Left on the Shelf
Now we come to a more serious side of this tutorial: weekend ideas that are much more likely to be a flop than fab. (You know. The ones that will leave you saying “Hey. Where did all my friends go?” after trying out your idea, or maybe just upon hearing what you have in mind, eek!)
The following may be cliché, too costly, and potentially dangerous…or embarrassing at the very least:
- A male strip club. Girlfriend, please. And that’s all we have to say about that.
- A “learning” weekend (crafts, skiing lessons, etc). Don’t DIY on your weekend, even if you love DIY. You’re dealing with more than just you, and not everyone wants a task on their day off when they already have tasks all week long. Skip this idea.
- An “alias” night. You may have heard of alias nights, where you and the girls take on fake names, don wigs, dress out of your usual character and go wild on the town. Though this really can be fun, we’ve seen it backfire, too – especially when some alcohol is involved. Remember: what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas. Leave this idea alone.
- Heavy cover charges or other charges. The most exclusive, hottest night club (if you can get in at all – there tends to be a velvet rope at such events and non-borderline-celebs needn’t apply…yuck) isn’t worth it if you’re worried the whole time about the cost. Huge cover charges or meal charges can stress anyone’s budget and leave resentment among friends. Two thumbs down on this idea.
- The local tour as recommended to you by a travel agency or travel website. We have nothing against agencies and travel sites. They can yield a wealth of information for your stay. But package deals aren’t always deals at all. Sometimes, they’re less-successful activities that are being bundled into a “package” to sell a very slow-moving product. Other times a big break on one activity can be offset by an outrageous charge on another. Instead, ask a local if you have friends in the area, or Yelp different places to stay and things to do to see what people really have to say.
Have fun with your girls. Your great weekend away could lead to a regular activity, say once a season or, for your mom friends who live relatively far from each other, bi-annually or yearly. You deserve it and your family will LOVE the happy, refreshed Mom they get the Monday afterward.