Girlfriend Getaways

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Right now I am planning a trip with my college roommates. We are aiming for 2010 to celebrate turning 40. To get inspired and enlist some help, I was lucky to get connected with the editor ofGirlfriend Getaways Magazine, Valerie Rains. Valerie is a native of Oklahoma, and now a fellow Brooklynite.

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Girlfriend Getaways Magazine is a supplement to Budget Travel. Girlfriend Getaways (www.girlgetaways.com) is a magazine about escaping your everyday'??whether it'??s reconnecting with your girlfriends on a vacation or gathering for a girl-bonding night at home--perfect for the mom who all too often lets her womanly side get neglected. The Spring/Summer issue is packed with ideas for girl-only excursions, such as trips to rustic Tulum, Mexico, a green getaway to Sausalito, CA, a charming trip to Savannah, GA or an artsy visit to Niagara Falls, NY. Valerie gave me an exclusive Momtrends interview all about traveling with girlfriends.

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Why did you start GG as a special supplement to Budget Travel?
We started GG because we knew there was something really special about women'??s friendships and the kinds of trips they take together'??or dream about taking together. We want to inspire women to really go out and take these trips, and we want to make it easier for them to do that, too, by sniffing out great destinations and special deals that we think our readers would love.

What are some of the popular themes for a girlfriend getaway?
Spas, beaches, and shopping are consistently popular for girlfriend getaways. Gambling'??s another fun one, and going to Vegas hits the shopping angle at the same time.

My college sorority sisters and I are planning a 40th birthday trip next year. What is your advice for getting this trip up and running? Suggested destinations? (We want to rent a house where we can cook and enjoy light hiking--maybe some spa treatments).
Anytime you'??re planning something with a big group, it'??s best to get going on the plans as soon as possible'??at the very least finalizing the date so that people can make arrangements with their jobs and families, and also start looking for good airfare if that'??s part of your trip. Wherever you end up, we'??re big fans of renting vacation homes rather than booking a bunch of separate hotel rooms. It'??s usually cheaper, and you have more privacy from the outside world and more communal spaces to hang out in together while you cook or before and after the day'??s activities. We like vrbo.com for house rental listings. As for destinations, if your East Coast friends are willing to travel a bit farther, Sedona, Arizona is the perfect spot for the kind of trip you'??re describing. There are gorgeous red-rock canyons to hike around, a solid vacation rental market, and a number of spas of all different stripes.

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What are some travel trends you are seeing for women?
One travel trend we'??re seeing for women right now is the pink slip trip'??women going away after they'??ve been laid off from a job, and celebrating their free time rather than sitting at home worrying. It sounds kind of scary but it'??s really liberating and a total lemons-to-lemonade situation. We'??re also seeing a lot of interest in volunteer vacations, which can be popular among pink slip travelers, too. So many of those options involve helping other women around the globe, which makes them particularly appealing.

What are some of the best deals to be had right now?
There'??s really never been a better time to travel than now. So many hotels, spas, and attractions are offering huge discounts'??one of the few upsides of this rough economy. It'??s a particularly good time to visit big cities, too'??ones like New York and Paris and London that tend to be harder to squeeze into the budget when they'??re full-price. There are just so many sales happening now, you can really make a fabulous big-city trip happen.

And here's another tip: Submit your best travel trip to Tips@BudgetTravel.com. If your tip is printed you get a free 1-year subscription to Budget Travel!

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