5 Squad Trips That Aren't Overdone

Photo by Mi-Anne Chan / @misobella.
Summer just isn't complete without a big trip, and there are few better ways to travel than with a bunch of people you like enough to call your BFFs. As we get older, though, our careers, S.O.s, and endless responsibilities make friend vacations harder to commit to. Suddenly, abandoning real life for a week of fun feels practically taboo.

Still, since we're all for breaking a few "adulting" rules in the name of making memories, we've put together a list of unexpected, off-the-beaten-path destinations that might not be on your crew's radar just yet. And because packing is another major headache to contend with, we've come up with a "must-bring" list for each place — from quality camping gear to an emergency reserve of bubbly that'll keep every day festive. We promise that as soon as you clink glasses on your first group night out, you'll be reminded of why unique bestie adventures are worth rebelling for.
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Photo by Piera Gelardi / @pieraluisa.
The Expected: San Francisco
The Shake-up: Austin, TX
While pre-techie San Francisco once reigned as America's quirkiest city, the state capital of Texas truly celebrates eccentricity these days — as evidenced by its unofficial slogan, "Keep Austin Weird.” Thanks to a growing population of trendy transplants, the city is home to some of the coolest shops, cafés, and bars in the region. Sights like the Cathedral of Junk and South Austin Popular Culture Center also do their part in keeping the eclectic vibes high.

Working your way through the dozens of vintage boutiques along South Congress Avenue (a.k.a. SoCo) will take up a whole afternoon, and there's no better way to celebrate your findings than with a night out on Rainey Street. The historic bungalows on this block were given a major makeover to house a collection of hip eateries, from Tex-Mex food trucks to beer gardens. Austin is also a super bike-friendly city with plenty of parks, boardwalks, and nature trails to explore.
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What To Bring
Austin is known for its offbeat style, and you'll fit right in with a pair of trendy shades. Opt for a smaller bucket bag on your boutique runs, so your arms don’t get tired and slow your shopping roll. To stay environmentally friendly, bring along reusable shopping bags for your possible haul. And last but not least, don't forget to pack cute bike lights to help illuminate your rental rides.
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Photo by Piera Gelardi / @pieraluisa.
The Expected: Greece
The Shake-up:
Canary Islands, Spain
Traveling with friends who can never agree on things to do? Island-hopping is the way to go. Day trips to close-by destinations are a snap to plan, and everyone will get to explore on their own terms. Greece has long been the go-to for this type of adventure, but, for the crew that isn't afraid to stray from the typical tourist route and explore uncharted territory, the Canary Islands are where it's at.

This Spanish territory consists of seven islands with unique vibes that'll match up with different preferences in your group. There's Fuerteventura for adrenaline junkies, Tenerife for history buffs, Gran Canaria for hikers, and La Palma for stargazers, to name a few. The majority of these islands have one important feature in common: sandy beaches with a side of crystal-clear waves. With so many incredible beachfront resorts to choose from, picking the right island to serve as your home base might be a bigger challenge than nailing down the perfect itinerary.
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What To Bring
Since you'll be a beach bum all day, your packing list really needs to go the distance. Start by grabbing a makeup-setting spray with built-in SPF, so your mascara doesn't melt off your face, as well as a slip dress that'll serve as a swimsuit cover-up during the day and a slinky party outfit at night. Bring along a cute Bluetooth speaker to blast your playlist, too.
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Photo by Mi-Anne Chan / @misobella.
The Expected: Bangkok
The Shake-up:
Singapore
Make sure to bring your appetite to Singapore, because the destination does not mess around when it comes to food. Sure, most people think of Bangkok when it comes to excellent street eats, but this alternative locale boasts an even wider array of spicy dishes that will delight your taste buds. It's also touted as the second-safest country in the world, so you can explore late-night bites at ease.

Many of your meals will probably take place at “hawker centers” — which are basically low-key food courts with no AC. They may not be fancy, but they make up for it with diverse and affordable eats that you can enjoy family-style with a group of friends. Whether you're chowing down Laksa in the historic Katong neighborhood or sampling chili crab at seafood stalls, you'll make incredible memories along your food pilgrimage.
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What To Bring
Singapore is located close to the equator, so equip yourself with a mini fan for the soaring temperatures. Locals shield themselves from the sun with umbrellas, and you'll fit right in with a clear creation that effectively blocks UV rays. That said, bringing along a light jacket is also recommended, as the malls are known to go all-out on the AC. Finally, there's no better dining authority to lead you through the streets of Singapore than the just-launched Michelin Guide.
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Photo by Patricia Lopez / @palora.
The Expected: Cancun, Mexico
The Shake-up:
Guanajuato, Mexico
Looking to take in Mexico but skip the "permanently on Spring Break" crowd? The captivating beauty of Guanajuato, a city dripping in colonial history, has to be seen to be believed. Take a walk in any neighborhood, and you'll be stunned by the many colorful building façades that dot its winding streets — practically made for Instagram, if you ask us.

However, #OOTD-worthy backdrops are not the only things we love about this destination. Every October, the whole town turns out for Festival Cervantino, an international fest celebrating the traditional arts, from opera to painting to dance. Whether or not you speak the language, experiencing a bustling cultural fiesta alongside your best friends will definitely be an experience of a lifetime.
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What To Bring
Guanajuato is very much a walking city, so keep your essentials in a leather pouch to ensure they're safe, yet accessible, when you're out and about. Wear a stylish Panama hat to stay cool and polished. And if you're the type to document every moment of your cultural immersion (no shame), pack an instant camera so you can gift your friends little mementos to remember the trip by. Make sure your jewelry stays untangled with a handy organizer — and leave some room for the handmade finds you'll likely buy along the way.
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Photo by Melissa Leong / @fooderati.
The Expected: Sydney
The Shake-up:
Tasmania, Australia
Sydney may have iconic landmarks, but Tasmania has some of the most jaw-dropping sights you'll ever see, period. This remote Australian island is a treasure trove of natural wonders, from the dramatic sea cliffs at Tasman National Park to the breathtaking sunsets at Bay of Fires.

As such, we think Tasmania is best explored via a classic road trip, which will take about 10 days, according to Lonely Planet. You'll catch a glimpse of so many great things Mother Earth has to offer: rainforests, mountains, and lavender fields, to name a few. Due to its low levels of air pollution, Tasmania is also one of the best places to get a clear view of the night sky. Is there any better bonding experience than having a heart-to-heart with your closest friends under the stars?
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What To Bring
For long-haul outdoor treks, it helps to develop a practical approach to packing: A water bottle is essential for staying hydrated, and an insect-repellent scarf will protect your neck. It's currently winter down under, so throw in a well-made blanket. And since your clothes will likely end up a bit wrinkled on a road trip, try a crease-releasing spray in lieu of an iron.
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