In the last few months, so many women have asked me how I make trips with my friends happen. If you follow me on Instagram, it might seem like I just got super lucky to have friends who want to have sleepovers, hang out for spontaneous girls nights, or meet me in Mexico for a few beautiful days of working, dreaming, and catching up on life together.
(I do feel like I have the best girlfriends in the world, but I didn’t always! Click here to read the story!)
But even though it may look effortless on Instagram, I’ll be the first to admit that planning a girls trip isn’t easy. They can be so daunting. Who does the planning? Who should you invite? How do you find a destination that works for everyone? What if everyone bails? If a girls trip sounds like an impossible dream, you are totally not alone. With everyone’s different budget, schedules, and responsibilities at home, it’s not easy to nail down an itinerary that works for everyone. Throw in different vacation preferences, and it can be tempting to give up.
Not only can the process seem overwhelming, but it’s also a bit vulnerable, right? Taking the initiative to suggest a girls trip with our friends means asking them to spend more time with us, and what if they’re too busy? What if they say no?
Friend, before I share my favorite strategies for making girls trips happen in my own life, I want to encourage you. If this feels vulnerable and daunting to you, know that you’re so not alone in that. It feels that way to me too, and sometimes I’ve pursued friendships and trips with friends that haven’t worked out the way I was hoping.
If you find yourself in this position, my prayer is that you keep trying. Because while this friend might not be as available right now, somebody is! Truly, there are so many women in the world who would love to have deeper friendships (and deeper friendships with someone like you!). There are so many of us out there who are dreaming of an amazing trip with friends. So please don’t give up!
The second thing I want to reassure you is that planning a girls trip is usually a lot easier than we think. That’s why today I’m so excited to share with you some of the tips that have worked to help me and my friends make girls trips happen!
A few months ago, my dear friends Carly and Kacie started plotting a mini girls getaway with me. But we hit a few snags: First, our collective schedules were crazy. And second, our travel budgets were already designated for upcoming trips with other special people in our lives.
Eventually, our little getaway morphed into something a whole lot simpler: a good old-fashioned sleepover.
And you know what?
We didn’t miss a thing. We all got ready together in my bathroom, swapping stories, makeup, and curling irons as we prepped for a fancy night out at one of my absolute favorite Nashville restaurants, Tánsuŏ. After stuffing ourselves with dumplings and noodles, we ended up back at my place to watch He’s Just Not That Into You while we lounged around in sweats (yes, these Girls Night ones!!) while eating cupcakes. It was the best.
I think sometimes we get wrapped up in an all-or-nothing mindset. But a little time together is better than the big trip that never seems to happen. Even if you and your girlfriends aren’t in a season to plan a five-day getaway to Paris, you can still plan a little staycation. I promise you, you’ll still make amazing memories.
Offer to host!
There have been times when girlfriends and I have wanted to get away somewhere, but it just didn’t work with one (or all!) of our budgets. Hosting is a great way to get around this restriction. Sometimes it has made more sense to treat my house like an AirBnb and do the getaway right here in Nashville! That way, all my friends have to do is get here (and if they have kiddos, it’s easier for them to bring them along!).
Just recently, a whole crew of my very best friends flew out from Denver to Nashville for a week. In those seven days, I made lifelong memories with five of my best girlfriends, three of their amazing husbands, and one adorable toddler.
That added up to 11 people sleeping in my house.
Though it might have taken some planning to make sure everyone was happy, rested, and full of great food (pizza delivery is the best, can I get an amen?), my heart was bursting with joy and love. I say it all the time, but I truly believe that friendship is worth it. It is worth the energy. It is worth the time. It is worth the vulnerability of letting people see inside our homes, even when the kitchen is messy, the mirrors are smudged, and the beds aren’t made. It’s all worth it.
Schedule way far in advance.
Almost a decade ago, my best friends Kelsey, Michelle, and I made a pact: we would book a getaway to Las Vegas once we were all married.
It was such a fun, silly promise to make at a time when we couldn’t even see our weddings on the horizon, but somehow the idea stuck. That trip to Vegas was there, at the top of our Best Friends Bucket List, and that meant it needed to happen.
Eight years, three weddings, and the world’s cutest baby later, we did it.
Now, when I say it helps to plan your girls trip in advance, I do not mean that you need to put it on the calendar eight years before your trip. We don’t want to wait that long for an adventure with our BFFs. But what I can say is that planning trips with friends is hard. Everyone is busy, and getting those flights booked can feel like pulling teeth.
So next time you or your girlfriends mention wanting to get away together, get specific. Show your excitement, then grab your calendar and start comparing schedules. Look six months or a year in advance if you have to. Get it on the calendar because if it’s blocked off it’s SO much more likely to actually happen!
I know sometimes it seems like girls are just taking off on impromptu trips with their friends—and maybe they are. But usually, if I’m away with my girlfriends or hosting them at my place, that time has been scheduled at least six months in advance. Plan now so you can make those wonderful, adventurous memories later.
Choose the basics—when, where, how much—as soon as possible.
My travel guru friend Bri (she owns Milk + Honey Travels and plans luxury trips for people all over the world!) says there are two ways to budget for a trip.
She said, “You can either decide on an amount you’ll save by a certain time, then see what that amount will get you. Or, if going to Thailand has always been your dream, research what it’s going to cost to get to Thailand, then figure out how long it will take to save.”
My girlfriends and I always start with when we can go (the timing tends to be the hardest for us), then we choose a budget. Finally, we decide where we can go with that budget. Once we have those things figured out, the trip comes together so much more easily!
Make it a tradition.
Once your friends have made a few staycations, weekend getaways, or even sleepovers happen, why not turn it into a tradition? When something happens again and again, like Christmas or birthdays, we start to mark that time on the calendar as soon as each new year hits.
For decades and decades, my family has gathered at a lake in New Hampshire every year. Sometime long ago, we found a consistent date on the calendar and planned WAY far in advance. And now we always plan around it because it’s a tradition.
This is something I’ve been working on with my family and friends. In each of my friend groups, and with Carl’s family and mine, we try to figure out a time of year that’s just for us—even if it’s only a weekend. But that way we know we will have that time together. That way we know the first weekend in June is reserved for this group of friends or the week before Thanksgiving is for that one. Whether it’s a staycation or a big trip, we know to plan around it because the time is already set aside.
Friend, the biggest encouragement I can offer if you’re struggling with the idea of a girls getaway is that the trip does not have to be extravagant to be wonderful. I truly believe that. In some ways, I think travel (and especially girlfriend getaways) are like working a muscle. The more we plan together, the more we learn how to make it work. And the more we see time together work—whether it’s a sleepover, staycation, or full-blown trip—the more we see how worth it they are. Over time, the planning gets easier, and the trips get even more fun!
So however simple or complicated you’re going this time around, my challenge and hope and prayer for you is that you just get started.
Today, text your girlfriends. Tell them you’re serious about wanting to spend time with them, and you’re wondering if you can set a date. Don’t put it off. Let’s make more time for getting away with our friends this year, shall we?
P.S. If reading this gave you some serious wanderlust, but you’re not sure how to make travel a bigger part of your life, I have just the resource for you. In this episode of Girls Night, I talked to my dear friend, travel guru, and trip planner Bri about practical tips for helping us become women who travel. Give it a listen and tell me: Where are you dreaming of going next?