I don’t know who invented Girlfriends’ Getaways but I’m raising a glass in a toast to her every year during the annual getaway with my college girlfriends. Nothing is more refreshing, more rejuvenating than eating, drinking and laughing until you sprain your stomach with your girlfriends.
Our group is large — we often rented a nine-bedroom home — so it takes some work and organization for it to go smoothly. Here are a few tips for planning your next large getaway.
1. Have a leader
Every group has at least one, the person who can take charge and keep the trip on track. In some groups it may always be the same person, or you may wish to take turns with the responsibilities. Thank goodness for Patti, who has handled booking the houses for our trips several times and is an excellent negotiator.
2. Consider everybody’s budget and location
While some of you may be able to travel in first-class style, others may be more budget conscious. Before anything is booked, make sure everyone is on board with the cost. Don’t guilt anyone into spending more than they are comfortable with just so the group can be together. The highest priority is being together, not finding the most luxurious place.
Because we are spread up and down the East Coast, from Atlanta to Boston, my college friends and I change locations from north to south each year so some of us can drive while others have to fly.
3. Plan far in advance if possible
It’s easier for people to put aside time for a trip if it gets on their calendars early. While sitting around the dining table of our gorgeous rental home at Lake Winnepesaukee last October, we decided on a beach trip for this year. Before we left, we had tentative dates, the location for this year’s trip at the Isle of Palms, and had looked at the websites for a couple of homes we were considering. It was easy to handle the rest of the details by email.
4. Split the duties in advance
We tend to eat most of our meals in our rental house to maximize visiting time and because most of us really enjoy cooking. That does mean some major organization and splitting the shopping, cooking and clean-up duties.
Judy is the best list maker and extremely organized so she prepared a master list of groceries to get us started. She and I both made Costco runs for this trip, as we are in the driving group this year. Unlike when we all lived together in college, we’ve never had a fight over whose turn it is to do the dishes.
5. Leave some free time on the agenda
We generally plan a few outings during our long weekends but want to make sure we have plenty of time to relax and catch up. We may plan one lunch or dinner out but leave maximum time for just chilling. If the group is up for it, try something new. One year we ventured out from our home on Lake Winnepesaukee so Patti could go on her first thing called a “hike.”
And you never know what activities you may dream up on the spot. Last year we invented the rousing game of “How Many Wahoos Can You Fit in a Hot Tub?” After dinner, and perhaps a few drinks on the part of some of us, we put on our swimsuits, and one by one plunged into the hot bubbling water until our entire group was huddled in a mass of giggling steam.
This year? I’m introducing the group to Dizzy Bat. Because nothing builds on wonderful years of shared memories like a face plant in the sand.