If you are a girl and you do not have a couple of girl friends that you want to go escape real life with for a few days…you might reconsider your friendships. I have been incredibly lucky and blessed with some amazing girl friends! Women I have connected with in different ways for different reasons. And, I think I could easily say that I would travel with each and every one of my friends and maybe even some that I might throw more in that acquaintance category. Finding travel buddies can be an interesting dance…finding places to travel with them, can be almost as tricky! So, in this post I hope to give you some ideas of where to go, the type of gal pal to take with you, and some tips that might make group travel just a little easier!
The idea of getting away from dishes, drama, and drudgery is appealing to most women. So, the thought of a girls trip with friends is usually a no brainer. The tricky part is working time into your schedule and not breaking the bank in giving yourself a break! When things are important to us, we usually find a way to make it happen. When you and your girl friends start imagining the possibility of a girls trip…it usually starts with very big, and very exciting plans…by the end it has whittled down into something fun and manageable and perfect for your group! A girls trip can be sooooooo many things! I’ll break down some ideas into categories, and hopefully get your wheels turning for your own girls trip excursion.
Wine Tour. This is one of those options that I think, the more the merrier! Wine tours can be easy get-aways with large groups. Most wine regions in the U.S. are like Disneyland for adults. So, many options…you can cater this type of trip any way you like…and you could easily make it an annual trip, and not have the same experiences twice. The most well known wine region is of course Napa Valley, but there are lots of regions in the U.S. making good wine. In the same area as Napa is Sonoma, other large wine regions are Willamette, Oregon and Yakima, Washington.
Food Tour. Find a couple of your foodie friends and get to eating! This type of trip can be easy with a small group of 3 or 4…large groups can be nightmares for dining out. Just a few foodie spots for thought…New Orleans, Portland, ME, Portland, OR, Charleston, Austin are all great regional food destination. I’d also throw cities that have major culinary institutes in the mix…New York, Los Angeles, Napa, Las Vegas, and San Antonio. These are huge cities that you will see in other lists as well, but the food scene in these places are amazing!
Retail Therapy Tour. Who doesn’t love a little retail therapy? No retail therapy list would be taken seriously without NYC. Most people would never associate Honolulu with shopping, but it totally is a shoppers paradise! Other ideas…Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, and of course the Mall of America in Minneapolis. Pay down your credit card balances and then grab a couple of girls that know how to shop til they drop!
Spa Retreat. There are amazing spas all across this great country! Arizona is loaded with them…Pheonix, Scottsdale, and Sedona are all great spa vacation getaway destinations. Napa, CA has great spas. If you are a mid-westerner like me, you’ll be happy to hear that a spa in Lake Austin, TX makes many, many top 10 spas in the US lists. Do a little research, I’m sure you can find an amazing spa retreat not to far from where you live! Bring your friend that loves to be pampered or is a little into alternative medicine with you here!
Beach Vacay. Easy, breezy, and beautiful! Grab your swimsuit, your weekender bag, and your best girl friends and head to the beach. Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Punta de Mita, anywhere in the Caribbean, the Florida Keys, or South Carolina…just book it and go!
The Great Outdoors. Lots of women find hiking, horseback riding, skiing, and other outdoor adventures relaxing. I get it! Just being in the great outdoors surrounded by fresh air and out of the chaos of the city can be super relaxing. A few unconventional girls trip ideas…National Parks in Northern California or Utah, hiking in Colorado, Arizona, or Arkansas, or go work a dude ranch in Montana. Grab you workout buddy for this trip. No doubt these would be memorable get-aways!
Big City Living.
There are plenty of big metropolises to visit in the U.S. The draw of the big city vacations is that they often offer a wide variety of activities, which can be useful…especially if the group is large. Again, a quick easy no-brainer list…NYC, Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Diego, Miami, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas! Bring your walking shoes and your credit card…you’ll need them both! This trip is for your trooper friends…the girls that are up for anything!
Thought I’d throw this in there just for fun. With enough time and money anything is possible…charter a yacht in the Caribbean or Croatia, rent a penthouse in NYC, how about an oceanfront beach house in Malibu…there’s always Paris, the Tuscan region in Italy, or Santorini! When one of you girls gets something in this category planned…count me in!!!
So, hopefully by now I’ve gotten your girl trip wheels turning…let’s talk about how to get it planned out! As in all things, communication and flexibility are key if you actually want to make a girls trip happen. There is no “right” time. You just need to pick a date that is far enough in advance of everyone’s schedule that the trip ends up being almost the only thing on the schedule, and then let life work itself around your trip! It’s easiest to let one person be the “lead point”, otherwise there is too much confusion. Make sure to pick someone who has great communication skills AND THE TIME to invest in keeping the trip organized. Delegation skills are also sometimes useful for your “lead point”, just make sure that if a task is delegated that the info goes back to your lead to communicate out to the group…I promise it just makes it easier! I’ve recently come across an app that I seem to really like that is for group travel. It’s a place where itineraries, reservations, and expenses can all be easily found and tracked. It’s called Coordin8. It’s a little work on the front end, but I think worth it for what it provides. A couple of thoughts for good measure…large groups require more advanced notice and more planning. I know that’s a no-brainer statement, but if you have never traveled with a large party, it’s something you have never even thought about…I promise! I’m all for preparedness and schedules…in fact, I love structure! But, make sure to schedule in some downtime and BE FLEXIBLE! Also, if there is something you really want to do…speak up, and vice versa. Things can get sticky in group travel. Girls trips go so much better when we drop our expectations about the place we are going or the plans we’ve made, and are so much more enjoyable when it becomes more about spending time with dear friends and just having an experience with them that you’ve never had before! Make sure to set at least a “ballpark” budget before you book anything. You want everyone on the same page on approximately how much they will be responsible for. Spending more does not always directly correlate to a better trip. There are lots of ways to travel on the cheap if money is tight. An amazing girls trip does not have to be anything extravagant…in my opinion the most important thing to have for your girls trip is a comfy place to hang out! If your traveling somewhere by plane, 4-5 days is the sweet spot as far as longevity of the trip. If by car, 2-3 is usually plenty of time to catch up, reconnect, and not break the bank!
There are lots of decisions to be made. All of those decisions about how you will get there, where you will stay, and what you will do will all unfold as you whittle your wants down to the perfect girls trip for your group! Half the fun is planning and just having something to look forward to other than what you’re going to make for dinner and who is picking up the kids from soccer! Text your best girlfriends and get something on the schedule…I promise you will not regret it!!
Just for fun I’ll throw in some good shoe options for girls trip travel! If you’ve ever tried to walk the Las Vegas strip or vineyard fields in heels you know that shoes can make or break your trip! And, you are not allowed to take ugly shoes on a girls trip…these things are important people!
Vineyard Shoe Options: here, here, and here. It’s agriculture ladies…heels are no bueno here! But you still need something nice for amazing dinners out!
Beach Shoe Options: here, here, here, and here. It’s the beach! Don’t be overdressed! Cute, comfy and casual is key!
Great Outdoors Options: here, here, and here. Functional, comfy, then cute in this category!
Big City Options: here, here, and here. Any kind of fashion slip on sneaker will do here…your feet will thank you! Save your heels for dinner!