Up until now most of my travel adventures have been with my daughter, but she is finishing her junior year of college, heading to Australia for 2 months for a work internship, and building a life of her own. I had planned a fabulous pre-Australia trip to Bali for the two of us next month to reconnect before she started her job “down under”, but a health issue has prevented me from travelling that distance. For the last month I’ve been a bit down in the dumps, trying to regroup and figure out how to write a travel blog with physical limitations that don’t seem to be going anywhere fast. I decided to focus on trips closer to home for now and, on a whim, asked one of my oldest friends from childhood if she was interested in a girlfriend getaway. She is one of those friends you rarely see but when you do, it’s as if not a day has passed. Friends like these are precious and few and they should be celebrated…what better way to reconnect than with a luxurious vacation! Here are my personal tips for planning a blissful getaway with your best friend that won’t break the bank.
Limit the trip to a long weekend. The shorter the trip, the more splurging you can afford. Think an extra massage, roomier accommodations, perhaps a nicer hotel.
Keep the flight and/or driving times short. This gives you more time to relax and enjoy the trip and minimizes fatigue so you don’t need a day to recover.
Split the expenses. This sounds like a no-brainer, but I have paid for 2 to travel for as long as I can remember and it gouged me. When I booked my upcoming girlfriend getaway I couldn’t believe the savings and I realized I could actually afford more than I thought I could.
Call the hotel directly to book your accommodations. It is usually less expensive than even the discounted sites. I originally booked through hotels.com because they offered the lowest price online and they have a generous rewards program. The more you book on their site, the more free nights you receive. My friend called the hotel directly and they offered us the Beach Lover’s Package for the same price hotels.com quoted for the room alone – the package includes a welcome drink and a bottle of wine upon arrival, 2 free 1/2 hour massages, free non-motorized watersports, and free appetizers at the bar nightly. Sign me up!!!
Define what luxury means to you. For me that means a pristine stretch of sand, beachside rooms, and crystal clear water. Throw in great snorkeling, fresh seafood, and excellent cocktails and I’m in heaven. Everything is a trade-off when you’re on a budget. Splurge on what is most important to you and give up something else.
Be sure you and your friend are on the same page. If you like to lounge on the beach and she wants to shop all day, you may not be compatible travelers. Or if you like to turn in early and she is a night owl, this could make for a problematic, stressful vacation that won’t allow for much female bonding. Having common expectations for the trip and what you both want to get out of it is helpful.
As far as my own upcoming girlfriend getaway, through a bit of research I discovered a sublime piece of paradise in the Bahamas chain, the Cape Santa Maria Resort in Long Island. This is an untouched, barefoot elegance kind of place and I’m so excited to experience it and enjoy 4 days basking in the sun, snorkeling, swimming, and having lots of laughs with my bff. It’s just what the doctor ordered and the perfect way to hit the reset button. Look for my upcoming post on what I’m packing for a trip to the out islands of the Bahamas. Until then…