You know women and their to-do lists! We wouldn’t imagine planning a girlfriend getaway without a list. Whether this is your first getaway or your twenty-first, the following steps will ensure that this special trip with your favorite people goes off without a hitch.
- Visit Triporama.com and create a New Group Trip Account. It’s easy and it’s free. Once you start a Group Trip Planner, you can add all your trip participants, poll them to find out possible dates for your girlfriend getaway, assign planning tasks, invite others in on the fun, etc.
- Have a discussion on budgets. Whether it be via email, phone or in person over dinner or drinks, talk about what everyone can comfortably afford to participate in this getaway. Remember the important thing is that you are all together, not that you are all together in a five star resort! Consider a budget getaway for the first year and continue saving for a splurge-getaway for the following year.
- Assign a banker and a secretary. The banker will be in charge of opening a group vacation fun (see next item) and monthly deposits. The secretary is in charge of communication with the banker and the other members to keep everyone informed of monthly balances, etc. Nothing formal – just a sort of ‘checks and balances’ system.
- Open up a group vacation fund. For those of you who want to participate, open up a high interest savings account (for example an ING Direct) and agree upon a comfortable monthly deposit for each person. Note: this does not have to be the only funds used for this vacation, but it could give everyone a comfortable base.
- Start discussing the destination. Start a discussion on your own personal forum with your Triporama.com Group Trip Account. Simply go to “Topics” tab and click on “Suggested Topics”. Pick “Where Should We Go?” and start a discussion. Depending on the dates you have picked for your trip, you could pick a local beach vacation, a tropical beach vacation, a ski trip, holiday shopping in the city… you get the idea.
- Assign each person a destination to research. With your assignments, hit the internet to research pricing on accommodations, air fare, etc. By using sites like the B.Y.O.G! Girlfriend Getaway Guide, which offers a state-by-state directory of Girlfriend Getaway Offers, or Triporama with their “Featured Travel Deals”, you can take the stress and worry out of your research.
- Girlfriend Getaway Decision Day. Sounds like a presidential election, but by now you should have a final decision on your destination and dates. Send out an announcement confirming Girlfriend Getaway Date and Place and request an RSVP from each member.
- Get your paperwork in order. Do you need passports or just photo ID’s and birth certificates? If you are going international, are certain immunizations in order? Consult the U.S. Department of State Travel website for current requirements, travel advisories, etc.
- Research accommodations for your chosen destination. Much like you did with the destination itself, assign a person or persons to research hotels, inns, resorts, B&Bs or maybe rentals. Allow 1 week for research and then discuss results. This might be a good time to plan a girls’ night out to go over pricing, dates, etc. Make sure you discuss details and make your decision on your accommodations before the cocktails are served. Have one person take notes to review the next day.
- Reserve your hotel, rooms, rentals, etc. The banker or secretary makes the reservations via phone or internet using the fund money as the deposit. Print and mail or email copies of the reservation confirmation to each member along with the balance due for each person.
- Start monitoring flights for best pricing and scope out cheap plane tickets. Using sites like airfarewatchdog.com you can search for sale fares and even have fare alerts emailed to you directly. It’s free and very reliable. You can book directly from this site or use the information to book elsewhere.
***Girlfriendly Reminder: Did you get a passport, if necessary?
3 MONTHS TO GO
- Call in the CSI Unit (Celebration Scene Investigation). Go to the library or book store for travel journals and literature about your destination – this always gets you pumped up and helps you lay out a plan on what to do, where to go, what to pack, the climate, currency etc.
- Create your packing list. You can search the internet or try “The Universal Packing List”, kind of an interesting site that will generate a packing list based on the amount of days you are going, the temperature of your destination, your activities and a few other criteria. It will provide you with a list of 90 items. We cannot guarantee that you will need them all and we certainly can’t guarantee that they will list everything you will need, but it is a nice start.
*** Girl-friendly reminder: If you still have not obtained a passport, then you need to investigate now a rush passport.
2 MONTHS TO GO
- Getaway gifts for the girls. Make your getaway unforgettable with special t-shirts, caps, tote bags, spa basket gifts. Think about the theme of your getaway. Is it a ski getaway? How about a long sleeve t-shirt, lip balm and cap to hide the hat head you surely have while enjoying your après ski cocktails. Hitting the beach? How about a tote bag, hoodie cover-up and some soothing after-sun lotion. Relaxing at a spa? The girls will love a track suit, slippers and some pretty lip balm to set off that newly glowing face! The BYOG Gift Shop has all the answers!
- Get your professional life in order. If you will be missing work, start wrapping up projects or finding coverage so you don’t have those worries while you are away.
- Get your home-life in order. If necessary, get child care in order and maybe stock up on some frozen already-prepared meals.
Stay on top of laundry. The rewards of this are two-fold; you will not be scrambling last minute for clothes to pack and you will not be leaving your family with only 1 pair of underwear and no socks. Better yet, this is the perfect time to teach your husband or older child how to do laundry!
THE FINAL MONTH
- One month to go: Arrange any additional ground transportation you may need during your getaway. Are you looking for a good old reliable Taurus rental or something flashy like a convertible or a fun Jeep? Email the girls and get some feedback before you make any decisions or reservations.
***Girl-friendly reminder: confirm all flight information.
***Girl-friendly reminder: confirm when final deposit to hotel or tour company is due.
- 2 weeks to go:
- Get travelers checks if needed.
- Confirm all flight information.
- Confirm all hotel and car reservations.
- Review papers such as passports, license (is it going to expire soon?) and/or birth certificates.
- Make sure all final deposit has been sent (if necessary).
- Unearth your luggage. Check for holes, broken zippers or luggage locks. Need to buy new luggage? Also make sure you are aware of all luggage and carry-on restrictions on the official Transportation Security Administration website.
- 1 week to go:
- Tie up all loose ends. This means both at home and work. Do the children have transportation to and from extracurricular activities? Are all your projects at work covered?
- Review your packing list. Run to the drugstore for any last minute toiletries, film, etc.
- Pack you bag.
- Hit the road! With all the planning and checklist consulting you have done in the past year, you can now relax, enjoy and relish this time with your girlfriends.
You go, girlfriends!
Valerie McDermott is co-founder of the B.Y.O.G. (Bring Your Own Girlfriend) Getaway Guide. An online travel directory of girlfriend getaway destinations. For more information on where to go and what to wear when you are there visit http://www.byoggetawayguide.com