Travel is a mix of excitement, adventure, planning and, lets be honest, in some cases stress/anxiety. It’s those things that when shared, act to take friendships to the next level. Every time I go away with friends I come back having learnt so much about them and also myself, more so than when I travel with family or my boyfriend who I already know inside out. Whether you’ve got friends you’ve known for years, or new friends you’ve just met, now’s the time to plan your next girls trip – take it to the next level! That being said, it’s not always the easiest thing to do, particularly if you want to do it with more than one person. Having been on more than a few girls trips I thought I would share some of my thoughts.
To celebrate the launch of new silk colours over at Grana, Nicola and I recently embarked on a very fun girls trip to Chiang Mai in Thailand, where we lived and breathed what is was to hang with the girls. Truly a magic journey, a travel guide for which I’ll be sharing soon!
Half planned, half unplanned
While a girls’ trip that has been planned down to the milli-second sounds closer to a list of chores than a holiday, neither is leaving everything up to fate a good idea either. There is nothing more exhausting than having to make decisions every other minute that are fair and favourable to what each of you want. The key to a great holiday is to go 50/50: sprinkle a restaurant reservation or a pre-booked day trip here and there, and intermix that with free time and relaxation. It gives you all something to look forward to and with a little structure, you’ll find it actually gives you more freedom to choose where you want to spend the rest of the trip
I always air on the side of caution when it comes to the size of the trips I plan – the larger the group the harder it is to manage everyone’s expectations properly. You’ll find that the best trips with the girls are those that are tighter, with perhaps a max of four. If you want to do something bigger (say a hens party or a birthday) my suggestion is to keep the format and movements simple and plan for even more relaxation time than usual. And finally, in a bigger group, make sure it’s understood that it’s ok for people to split off at different times. This will keep everyone chilled!
Strike a balance
One thing that’s major when travelling with friends is a sense of balance – and that includes everything from planning the trip, paying for things, who does the driving, to who packs the dishwasher in the apartment before you check out. This means, essentially, that when you’re travelling with friends it’s important to be more aware than usual about who is doing what on the trip. Obviously there’s going to be times when things are out of balance, i.e. your friend drives the whole time because they’re happy to, but a little acknowledgement goes a long way to them knowing you appreciate what they’re doing. This actually applies in all aspects of life, but is particularly poignant if everyone wants to feel good about the trip in the end.
Pick your girls (well)
This pretty much goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. The friends you choose to travel with are just as, if not more, important as the destination you choose to go to. I mean,when you’re with that friend even a trip to the grocery store can turn into an adventure of epic proportions. The trick is to know which friends you are more likely to travel well with, based on what you like to do. Travel with friends who you share common interests with (or be prepared to split up on your trip) and chances are you’ll cement the friendship even more.
Short vs Long Trips?
Energy levels take a nose dive later into the trip, so my advice to is keep your girls trips short, or be prepared to have a down time day where you get to separate and relax. And, IMHO, don’t go on long trips with people that you haven’t travelled with before – test it with an overnighter first. As a rule of thumb, 2 or 3 nights with any group of girls is a great way to have an amazing time and also have everyone still energised (aka not hating each other) at the end.
Set a date ahead of time (and stick to it)
Life will always come up with a reason to put off that trip you’ve been meaning to take with your girls. Mark a date in your calendars in advance and plan all your other engagements around it. Sadly if you’re travelling with a few girls you may find someone drops out from the trip due to an emergency or something, but I suggest you all go ahead with it anyway if most people can make it. Even though the dynamic may be different, chances are this change/shake up will help you live outside your comfort zone!
Keep calm and carry on
Finally, understand that sometimes missteps and changes happen despite your best efforts to plan and have things run smoothly. Remember to smile about it, because sometimes the most unforgettable experiences and the ones you will laugh about later are the ones you don’t expect. And whatever you do, try not to start blaming anyone for problems that may arise, or lose it when you’re not happy. Travel is stressful so before you go off like a rocket, take a deep breath and remind yourself no one is perfect (even you).
Finally, If you’re keen to stock up on some pretty silks yourself from Grana, make sure to use the code apasxgrana for 10% off!
Wearing: Grana silk tank in marzipan.
I’m sure that by this stage you’re pretty familiar with Nicola and her work, and in the two years since we started working together I couldn’t be happy to say that we’ve become such amazing friends – a testament to all the fun trips and adventures we’ve had together! The best thing about doing the work I do is getting to meet and get to know inspiring women, and Nicola stands out as one of the best. Technically she is more of a wedding photographer, so I feel crazy lucky to get to travel and explore with her in her down time. One a side note, if you’re ever looking for a wedding photographer who is kind, easy to work with very very talented, I recommend her whole heartedly.
Wearing: Grana silk tank in rose dawn.
Wearing: Grana racerback trapeze dress in off white.
Photos by Nicola Lemmon and myself.