Are you thinking about planning a girls trip with some of your boomer gal pals? Did you reconnect over the holidays and vow to spend more time together on a boomer girls getaway? You’re in luck because Julie Diebolt Price from JDP Travels is here with just the tips you need to make it happen.
Girls trip planner for boomer women
Studies have shown that maintaining or renewing friendships as we age is good for our health and well-being. As a baby boomer myself, I’ve discovered just how rewarding a girlfriends getaway can be.
With that in mind, I’ve created a girls getaway guide to help you plan a retreat and renew event at a destination with exciting options for sightseeing, dining, relaxation, and recreation. These getaway tips work whether you’re meeting in your hometown or traveling across the country.
For the adventurous, the destination could be anywhere in the world. This girls trip planner guide can be adapted to any location as the principles are the same no matter where you go.
Select a co-host for a boomer girlfriend getaway
It’s essential to assign a co-host right from the start. Divide and conquer is the name of the game. Even with a small group, it is crucial. There are so many preparation steps, and when the event is in full swing, having help is critical.
How to decide where to go when planning a girls trip
Consider the following when picking a destination:
Where do the boomer women live? How easy or difficult will it be for them to get to the location? Do they like to travel, or are they novice travelers and perhaps a bit timid?
Budgeting for travel can be a sensitive subject. Some people have unlimited funds, and others do not. As you are putting your plan together, look for cost-effective solutions with optional add-ons.
What types of activities do your boomer girlfriends like? Send a questionnaire with the invitation outlining several activities from which to choose. You may already know what their interests are if you are lifelong friends or stay in touch on Facebook or other social media.
Create a guest list
Be thoughtful when putting a group of people together for a girls trip. Consider the following questions:
- Who are friends with each other in this group?
- Do they socialize together?
- Were they easy to get along with in the past?
- How compatible do you think they will be with other guests?
- Do they have relationships with participants in distant cities?
- Were they friends when you knew them previously?
The right mix of people and personalities will ensure a successful event.
Find transportation to and during the getaway
Air travel to the getaway can be complicated and should be arranged by each traveler on their own. Kayak is a good place to research flights and prices.
Suggest a time for everyone to arrive at the destination airport and arrange ground transportation based on the last traveler to come. Try to have as few round trips to the airport as possible.
A small group of five women may fit into an intermediate rental vehicle so that everyone can be transported to the lodging together. Otherwise, vans accommodating seven, 12, or 15 passengers allow for more luggage storage and are more comfortable. If it’s a long drive from the airport to the lodging, plan for a larger vehicle and a driver capable of driving it.
If the getaway is close to home, guests can drive their vehicle or carpool. When carpooling, be sure to remind everyone to share the cost of gas.
Planning what to do on a girls trip
The first considerations should be the interests and hobbies of your women friends. If they are not into hiking, then don’t base the entire trip around daily hikes or long-distance hiking. If they like shopping, then be sure to satisfy that retail therapy.
Girlfriends with handicaps will set the pace of your days. As baby boomers, more health issues need to be addressed and not ignored. You MUST be mindful of how strenuous an activity is and the accessibility of any transportation, parking, and venue.
Schedule a variety of activities. Someone may not like shopping, but if they love hiking and both are offered, they may be agreeable to go shopping with the group if they know they can hike at another time.
Tours and guides booked for an excursion will deliver valuable information for those travelers who don’t read guidebooks. Viator offers a wide selection of tours, including private ones. And most can be cancelled within a 24 to 48 hour window.
Another great option is to plan an excursion where the guests are dropped at the entrance and are on their own for a set amount of time. For example, 60 to 90 minutes on their own at a book store such as Powell’s Books in downtown Portland, Oregon, will give your gal pals enough time to look at books and rest their feet without feeling rushed.
Or a visit a small town like artsy Hood River, Oregon. Park the vehicle, then set the return time to meet back at the same place. Let your women friends explore art galleries, breweries, eateries at their own pace.
Depending on how long your getaway is, be sure to build in days for rest. If you have a full day of activities, schedule the next day for relaxation and hanging out with each other. Bonding is the reason you planned this girlfriend getaway, right?
Where to stay on a boomer girlfriends getaway
With so many types of lodging available, you have to decide what works best for your group.
Rent a vacation home
Does renting a house meet everyone’s needs? There are many houses for short-term rent, particularly in resort areas.
Stay in a hotel
Does it make sense to rent a block of hotel rooms and conference rooms to fulfill the activity schedule? Hotels often extend special rates for groups. If this is an option, the host should put the details together and present them in the invitation. Start your search here.
Offer your home
When the host opens their home for the getaway, as I sometimes do, it is vital to account for the number of beds, bedding, towels, and pillows. Preparation time must be budgeted for making up the beds, cleaning, and cooking before all the guests arrive. Some guests may have to share a room, and it’s good to ask them if they have a roommate preference.
Should you dine in or out?
Dining together is part of the fun on a girls trip. All meals and mealtimes should be planned in conjunction with excursions away from the lodging. Healthy snacks should also be in the meal plans.
Dine at home
Dining at home, or in a vacation rental with kitchen facilities, is a great way to save money, control what you eat, and relax. When planning the dining-in menu, be sure to ask if anyone has food allergies like peanuts, gluten, or shellfish. Print out copies of all the recipes used in the menus. Some of the guests will ask for them.
Build your grocery shopping list which gives you an estimate of the meal costs that you will pass on to guests as well as the amount of time needed in the kitchen. Guests will be able to purchase their snacks and drinks on the second or subsequent days. The most important thing in this planning process is to get as much done ahead of time as possible.
Go on a picnic
Picnics are a fun option. If there is a park or scenic byway on the route, what a beautiful place to be outside, communing with nature and sharing great company. Picnics are very cost-effective, too.
Don’t forget restaurant dining
Depending on the length of the getaway, one dinner meal out every other day is welcomed. That eliminates dinner prep, serving, and clean up.
Dining out entails cost planning. Based on everyone’s budget, one nice meal out that might be pricier than an average meal, could be included. Offering cost-conscious choices is always appreciated.
When dining out with a large group, one person should be assigned to tabulate meal costs and collect the money from each diner. Not all restaurants provide separate checks, and having a designated collector makes it easier on the host.
Discussing the touchy topic of money
If you, as the host, are making all lodging arrangements, perhaps getting a special rate, or want to make the getaway all-inclusive, you must figure out all the costs ahead of time.
You may want to include a nominal utility fee along with the food costs, if you are hosting girlfriends in your home
If you, as the host or coordinator, need to collect money in advance, how will that be done? Do you accept checks, money orders, cash, credit cards, or PayPal? PayPal is a good option so that people can pay with their credit cards. Be sure to include any PayPal fees.
Staying in the know
An electronic database, like a simple Excel file, is invaluable for tracking attendees, contact information, food allergies, beverage preferences, airline and travel details, and even a tally sheet for dining out.
Only one person should be responsible for this database to eliminate human error. All participants should confirm their information once it’s delivered. Be sure to spell everyone’s name correctly.
Keeping in touch
There should be one person as the point of contact. That’s the person who will gather all the information, proof it and confirm it with all the guests.
A private Facebook page has proven to be a handy channel for communications.
Spreading tasks around makes everyone happy. After all, if one person does all the work, they aren’t enjoying the getaway.
Assignments are easily made with a free online tool called Sign Up Genius. The host or co-host, as the administrator, will outline all the tasks open for assignment.
Every guest is invited by email to the project so they can accept responsibilities during the getaway. Everyone will have a job they want when they arrive.
Miscellaneous tasks if you’re staying in the hosts home
Many tasks need to be accomplished at an event hosted in a home.
Laundry of towels and washcloths is a daily task to keep things clean and organized. The host makes sure the supplies are on hand before the event starts, so there’s no worry about running out.
Collector for dining out with one group bill is an important task. It’s efficient and correctly collects the cost of meals, drinks, tax, and tip for each guest in the group.
Lodging maintenance in a home setting entails emptying wastebaskets, refilling supplies, or vacuuming daily.
A fun assignment is being the Bartender. It should be someone who knows something about pouring wine, opening a beer or mixing drinks. The Bartender is also responsible for the ice supply and mixers.
Table setting, meal preparation, and clean up are also tasks to be assigned. Depending on how many attendees there are at the getaway, a person may only have to do any assignment once or twice.
Prepare a list of local services
Put together a list of these local services that anyone might need during their stay.
Post office: Know the closest post office, the open hours, stamps available by a vending machine, and mailing boxes.
Convenience store: If you need something quick, it is helpful to know where the nearest convenience store is. Get directions and the open hours for that emergency run.
Grocery store: The big grocery store where guests can purchase their favorite foods or replenish supplies. Does the big store sell beer and wine? What about spirits?
Liquor store: Some states regulate the sale of liquor and spirits. Be sure to find out the hours they are open and directions from the lodging.
Pharmacy: For first aid, prescriptions, personal products that you don’t want to pack in your suitcase.
Excursions, especially those involving a large group of women, work better with a plan. Establish a leader and a sweep for each excursion activity.
Typically, the excursion leader will be the host, co-host, or another qualified individual. The leader is clearly in control, establishes and communicates the excursion schedule, accounts for everyone, collects monies, makes payments and manages the event.
The co-host might be the person bringing up the rear or Sweep position. It could also be another responsible individual. This person makes sure the slowest person in the group is never left behind.
All guests should have a cell phone or be with someone who has one. The cell phones should be on and reception good. Test all phones for communication between guests. Hand out a list with everyone’s cell phone number.
The leader sets the time limits at a sightseeing venue or location. Make sure it’s not too long and not too short…it should be just right.
Getting legal: emergency contacts and waiver
Each guest should provide emergency contact as part of their registration. They should also share (confidentially) about any medicines they are taking or may need to take in an emergency.
A waiver of responsibility and hold harmless should be signed and submitted with the guest’s registration, especially for home-hosted getaways.
Provide a list of emergency contact numbers while on the getaway for fire, ambulance, and closest urgent care.
Girls getaway guide checklist
With thorough research, planning, and preparation, a memorable Gal Pal getaway is achievable no matter the travel destination. Here’s a handy planning checklist.
- Select a co-host
- Decide on a location
- Create a guest list
- Decide on transportation
- Plan the itinerary
- Choose a place to stay
- Arrange meals
- Discuss finances
- Create a database
- Communicate the plans
- Sign up for tasks
- Assign miscellaneous tasks
- Prepare a list of local services
- Choose excursion leaders
Stay tuned. Julie will be sharing her girlfriends getaway in the Pacific Northwest in a couple of weeks.
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