Enjoy time together with your friends without breaking the bank on hotels, plane tickets and pricey activities. What you get: budget fun and close ties that, according to research, can help you live longer.
If you have a few hours...organize an affordable spa trip
When you get the head count, call a few spas and ask for a group rate (many offer up to 20 percent off services for big parties). Ask too about free amenities, like access to saunas, hydrotherapy and steam rooms. Then, see if there's room for all to lounge. Most spas have spaces they can provide for no additional cost, and they might even let you bring in food and drink, such as salads and bubbly.
If you have a whole day...create a DIY wine-tasting tour
Good news: every single state has a wine region. Instead of signing up for a tasting tour, which can cost upwards of $100, it's easy to create your own discounted itenerary. Just line up a friend to be the designated driver. Check tasting-room rates ahead of time—many cost just $5 per person. Also, ask if you can bring a picnic lunch (often they'll have benches).
If you have a weekend...sign up for a house rental
Booking a rental can snag you the best deal for your group. Try popular websites airbnb.com and homeaway.com. You'll often find nicer digs than you would for a similar price on a hotel, and using the kitchen saves on meals. For the destination, consider an area just outside your intended locale—but still close—and you might see the price drop big time.