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How to Plan the PERFECT Couples’ Trip

When I was younger, I used to dream of being able to go on big group trips in which my friends and I would all bring along our significant others (probably thanks to the movie Couples Retreat, which was one of my favorites). Now that I’m married and have been on quite a few couples’ trips, I love them just as much as I thought I would. A couples’ trip is the perfect way to enjoy a combination of romance and fun. It allows you to enjoy a trip with your spouse and a vacation with your girlfriends simultaneously. While my husband and I enjoy going on solo trips and try to go somewhere just the two of us at least once a year, we honestly look forward to the trips that we take with other couples a little more because it gives us the best of both worlds: he gets time with the guys, I get time with the girls, we get alone time without being judged for wanting it, and we get to hang out as a big group without anyone feeling like a third wheel.

In my group of friends, I play the role of the “planner.” I’m super organized and am basically a typical Virgo through and through. I enjoys planning things, so I generally take on the responsibility of planning our trips (especially since none of my friends enjoy planning quite as much as I do – they just want me to tell them where to be and when). This summer, my husband and I, along with a few different couples that we are close to, are going on couples’ trips to Turks and Caicos, Anguilla, and Grand Cayman. I’m really looking forward to trips that I know will be fabulous and am in the process of making all the arrangements necessary for fun-filled, romantic couples’ vacations. Here are my pointers for how to plan the PERFECT couples’ trip:

Check out these tips on how to plan the PERFECT group couples' trip

How to Plan the PERFECT Couples’ Trip

1. Pick your location

I always pick my location before I do anything else! While you may wonder why I pick the place before I invite other couples, it’s because, in my experience, things get too confusing when there’s a large group of people trying to choose between various destinations. I’ve found that it’s simpler to pick the location (or at least the region or style of trip – i.e. narrow it down a ski trip or a trip to some part of Jamaica) before I spread the word. I do a lot of research before I decide on a location and a few things that I take into account are whether or not my family has a  home or condo there through our vacation club (more on this to come), the climate in particular seasons, what there is to do, and reviews from other travelers.

2. Mark your calendars

For the same reason that I like to pick the location before I invite people, I like to  go ahead select the dates as well. It’s easier so that people know exactly what days they should request off of work and it also shows your potential guests that you’re serious about the trip and that it’s actually going to happen. If I know I’m going to more than likely be inviting friends that have hectic work schedules, I always try to give them the benefit of a weekend so that they can request less days off.

3. Invite your buddies

For me, this is often the most stressful step. Because my husband and I only have a few other married friends, we have to be considerate when inviting our friends on couples’ trips. We always try to make sure that the relationship is fairly serious so that we don’t run the risk of the couple breaking up between the time the plans are made and when the trip actually happens. We also try to make sure that we have both met the given friend’s boo to ensure that if it’s a guy, my husband likes him, and if it’s a girl, the two of us get along without a problem. While sometimes this doesn’t happen, we prefer it because no one wants to be on a vacation with someone that they can’t stand. I also consider what type of trip it is before deciding who to invite. For example, if I know I have a friend who loves adventure, I figure her and her significant other might be a good choice for a trip where we’ll be white water rafting and zip lining. If my husband has a friend who’s wife doesn’t drink, we figure that they might not be the best choice for our trip to Napa Valley where we plan to spend the entire time wine tasting.

After the initial selections have been made, I make it fun by sending out cute evites telling our friends to mark their calendars for our upcoming trip. I require RSVPs at least a month ahead of time (which is when people typically need to book their flights anyway) so that I can have an accurate headcount when making various reservations. I also usually also create a group text message thread so that I can run things by everyone as I continue to plan.

4. Take into account every couples’ financial situation

Before I plan anything else, I take into account everyone’s financial situation. We are all at different points in our lives and have different responsibilities and it’s so important to make sure that everyone is comfortable with the expenses. While we don’t necessarily just come out and ask because we usually have some idea where our friends are at financially, we put some real thought into whether the trip should be a splurge trip or more of a conservative trip based on who’s coming. For example, on some trips, we eat out every single night, and on others, we buy groceries and cook our own meals (assuming we have a kitchen) depending on what we and our friends can comfortably afford at the time of the trip. It’s also important to keep everyone’s finances in mind when making lodging arrangements.

5. Make lodging arrangements

We are fortunate in that my mom belongs to a fabulous vacation club that has houses and condos all over the world. My family has 30 days each year that we can use at the various homes. If the vacation club has a place wherever we are going, we almost always stay there. They are usually 3-6 bedrooms with fully equipped kitchens, which is perfect for a couples’ trip. Even if we are not staying at one of the vacation homes, I prefer a house or condo over a hotel for a group trip. This allows everyone to stay together, which is really fun for late nights spent playing card games or chitchatting over drinks. AirBNB and FlipKey are my go-to websites for finding fabulous rental properties.

If a rental property isn’t an option due to the location or number of people, a hotel is, of course, another option. It’s super important to keep in mind everyone’s financial situation when choosing a hotel because they can be pricey. I always call the hotel instead of making my reservation online to check and see if they have any villas or condo style rooms with multiple bedrooms. I also request rooms close to each other (at least on the same floor, if not right next to each other) and, if the group is really big, I request a discounted room block.

6. Help everyone coordinate transportation

Especially when staying at a house or condo, it’s always easier arrange transportation for everyone to get from and go back to the airport together. Typically, I book flights for my husband and I based on the check in and check out times of the place where we’re staying then I send our itinerary to all of our guests and ask them to book flights accordingly. It usually works out so that we all arrive and depart within an hour of one another and can ride together to and from the airport.

Planning a trip where flights aren’t necessary is a little less complicated, but it still requires a bit of planning. Because most of our friends are spread out around the country, if we’re going on a road trip, we like to have everyone come to Atlanta and rent an SUV to transport everyone to our destination if there is not an option for them to fly there directly and meet us.

7. Plan your itinerary

Planning the itinerary is my favorite part of the process. I read up on the “suggested things to do and see in [insert destination]” and google the best and most romantic restaurants. I keep in mind everyone’s financial situations when deciding on what to do and where to dine and I’m always careful not to overpack the itinerary. I’ve found that for a 5 night vacation, for example, it’s good to have 2 lazy days with nothing concrete on the agenda so people can lounge around or do their own thing. One thing we really like to do whenever possible is to have one day where the girls do their own thing while the boys go out and do something different. The ladies can enjoy a spa day while the gentlemen go out and play golf. It’s really fun to spend a day apart and it makes it that much better when everyone regroups in the evening for dinner together. I always send out a detailed itinerary at least a week before the trip. It’s important that people know what they’ll be doing and how much cash to bring. It’s also important for packing purposes.

8. Have the trip of a lifetime!

After all the planning is done and the bags are packed, there’s nothing left to do but make some memories that will last a lifetime with your significant other and friends!

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Do you have any couples’ trips planned for this summer? I would love to hear where you’re going and what you have on your itinerary! 

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