Sunday, July 21, 2019

6 tips for planning an awesome girls getaway

Essence Fest weekend 2019


Looking to have a hot girl summer with your girlfriends?! 

I recently attended Essence Festival in New Orleans and had the time of my life! 

This was my first time in awhile going on a girls trip and this was the biggest group I've traveled with (there were eight of us ladies all together). I couldn't have asked for a better group of women! We had a blast together, everything went so smoothly, the group was super chill and we all vibed together well, plus I made new friends and bonded more with some old ones. 

If you're planning a girls trip, make sure you do it right! Here's how to pull off a girls' vacation successfully ...



1) Picking rooms

There's usually that one person who takes charge in a group when it comes to reserving the room, planning, scheduling, etc. In my group, one person planned out most of the trip and put the Airbnb on her credit card (we all paid her right back, of course). So, if you have this one special person who steps up and takes the lead, I think it's only fair that this person gets the choice of picking the nicest room at the hotel/Airbnb/villa or wherever you're staying. From there, it's up to the group with how you work out the sleeping arrangements. 

I'm usually a go with the flow type of chick and I'm not too picky. However, I was lucky enough to have my own little room in NOLA because it was one of the warmer areas in the apartment, and no one wanted to sleep there. The room had a little fan next to the bed, so I didn't mind, plus I had my own bed. Hey, now!

In my 20's, I was so chill that I wouldn't have even cared if I slept in a bathtub, lol (which I've actually done before after a night of drinking). Now, I just want someplace comfortable and clean to lay my head down - a couch or bed will do. And, if I have to share, I don't mind. 

Do whatever works for your specific group of ladies. 

If some rooms are more spacious and nicer than other rooms, maybe the girls staying in those rooms can add in a little more cash. Or, if you don't mind sleeping on a couch or a pullout couch and someone else insists on a bed, just let them have the bed. In the end, how much time are you really going to be in the hotel/Airbnb anyways? 


A night out in NOLA!

2) Do your part / keep it clean

Everyone should pitch in when it comes to maintaining a clean living space. I get it, you're on vacation and you want to live it up and have fun. No one is thinking about chores on vacation. But, be mindful of your roomies. You don't want to be dubbed the "messy" or "sloppy" one in the crew. Cuz then guess what? You will get talked about and your friends might not want to go on vacation with you again if you're really that bad. 

It doesn't take much effort to clean up your own dishes (simply place them in the dishwasher, if you have one). If you see the trash is full, dump it, and if you make a mess in the bathroom, clean up after yourself, dispose of any feminine items and wrap them up good... you get where I'm going with this. Everyone is grown and no one should be cleaning up after other people. 

Also, don't be a bathroom hogger! 

If you are the type of person who needs an hour or more in the bathroom, then wake up extra early to do your thing. Be considerate and realize you're sharing the bathroom with others. Do your hair and makeup outside of the bathroom or get dressed in your room so you don't hog up the bathroom for too long.

I was so lucky to have traveled with a clean and considerate group of ladies! There was only one bathroom in our apartment (yup, only 1), but we managed quite well. At first, I thought the one bathroom situation was going to be a disaster, but our bathroom routine was on point, we had no problems, and there were no bathroom hoggers. 



3) Keep it safe

Watch out for one another, especially while in public. Have fun but stay alert and watch your surroundings. 

If you see one of your friends had a little too much to drink and can't keep up with the rest of the group, ride in a Uber with her and take her back to the hotel. Make sure she makes it to the room safe and sound and then Uber back to the rest of the group. Or, if it has been a long day and everyone is pretty much exhausted, then just call it a night. 

Don't go out and be the sloppy, blackout drunk who can't even walk by the end of the night. You should know your limits with alcohol and if your friends feel like they have to keep babysitting you, they will get annoyed. 

Never leave your drinks unattended. If you have to use the bathroom, finish your drink first, take your drink to the bathroom, or have someone in the group hold your drink. 



Also, there should be set rules about bringing guests back to the room. I advise not to bring strangers back to your hotel/Airbnb. For one, it's not safe and two, it's not cool when you're sharing a living space with other ladies. So, if you meet a dude and you guys hit it off, that's great and all, but hang out in a crowded area in public and talk. There's no need to bring him back to your hotel. And, definitely, don't dip off from the group and go to his hotel. 

There's nothing worse than a wandering friend. The friend who likes to do her own thing and wander away from the group. Don't be this person. It will ruin everyone's good time.  

If you see a group of guys, talk to them with the other girls and make it a group chat and hang out together. This is a girl's trip and the point is to enjoy your girls, spend time together, and create those bomb-ass memories while having fun as a group.


4) Be fair

When you travel with a group, everyone is obviously going to have different likes, needs, and wants. Realize this isn't your day-to-day normal schedule by yourself so be respectful of everyone's differences and be flexible. 

If you're a vegetarian, for example, be vocal about your restaurant needs upfront so everyone is aware. It doesn't hurt for the group to put a little extra effort into finding a restaurant that has a menu that caters to everyone in the clique. 

Also, be mindful of everyone's financial situation. Not everyone wants to ball out at a $100 a plate restaurant. Keep restaurant choices open to accommodate everyone so no one feels left out.

Sometimes splitting a bill six or seven ways can be a bit much for servers and not all places will split a check. So, make sure to carry some cash during your trip, and use apps like CashApp, PayPal or Zelle to split up costs.

Divide up the costs for food, water, drinks, and alcohol for the room. Set a budget at the beginning for the food store list and everyone should contribute to the list of items that they want.

My group of ladies was so prepared! One person brought wipes for everyone, someone else brought a First Aid kit and bug spray, another brought sunscreen, I had headache pills and Tums on deck in case someone wasn't feeling well, and someone else had Pedialyte to get our electrolytes on and poppin'. 

Everyone pitched in an additional $20 to contribute to food, snacks, and water. One of the ladies stepped up and said she would do the food shopping before we checked in. We all went to the liquor store after checking in, and everyone bought a bottle of liquor. 

You gotta make it a team effort!


The full NOLA crew, all eight of us

5) Itinerary planning / group selection

Book activities and look for things that encourage togetherness. 

In NOLA, we booked different group tours, a Swamp tour, we attended an Essence Fest concert, and we ate together. 

Be selective with the group of ladies you invite on the girls trip so there aren't any sour apples in the bunch. Leave the high maintenance and quick to get an attitude-type of friends at home. We love you and all, but....


Also, if you're in a large group, it's okay to break down into smaller groups sometimes because not everyone will want to do everything together throughout the entire trip, and that's understandable. Just make sure you all eventually get some quality time in and create those memories. 

In NOLA, we purchased tickets in advance for a cemetery tour, but some of the ladies weren't down to do it. No problem. Half of us went to that tour and the other half did their own thing, and we all met up to hang out afterward. 


6) Get that group chat poppin'

I usually hate group chats because I have enough notifications popping up on my phone, but when it comes to a girls trip, everyone in the group should be in contact to see what's going on. 

I believe it's important to start some sort of group chat for trip planning purposes and for open communication with the group whether it's via text, Instagram DM, email or even a Facebook Group where everyone can share their ideas, etc. 

For my NOLA girls trip, the trip organizer started a Facebook Group and it came in handy a lot! 

We planned out our itinerary on FB and used the voting tools to vote on which parties we rather attend/not attend and which section at the concert we wanted to pay for. Facebook was also ideal to share photos, videos, and links. It's also great to get each other hyped up as the trip nears and share funny GIF's/memes/tips in the group.

In addition, we had a text group chat to share more important updates like plane arrivals, weather updates, door pin codes, meeting locations, etc. 

While in NOLA, we also started a WhatsApp group chat which we used to share videos and photos from the trip. WhatsApp is great for sharing multiple photos and video clips.   

A group chat is also great to keep after the trip is over to continue sharing any memories, recaps, etc. and to keep in contact with your girls to plan for the next trip!



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