For a long time now, I have been taking an annual trip with at least one, but usually two plus girlfriends. I think it started when my close friend moved back to the UK and it was the only way we could always assure seeing each other. But, that said, I even did this during my first marriage.

We try to vary the trips between the States and Europe, but since I love England so much, I usually want to head her way. It does help that we’re all pretty compatible. We like the same locations; have similar travel attitudes; like both active vacations and chilling at the spa; and prefer our travel more on the luxury end. The trips are generally for a 3-4 day week-end, which is just the right amount of time to be away from our families and to not get on each other’s nerves!

girlfriend travel in the UK

Who wouldn’t want a ride in the English countryside in a vintage Austin Healey?

A few of the fantastic trips we’ve taken have included a cooking class in Tuscany; wine tasting in Napa; to a hotel and spa at a country house in Hampshire; a visit to Stockholm as we had never been to a Nordic country; and hiking through the English countryside. While we’ve had a few instances happen – mostly me and some mishap – for the most part, the adventures have been memorable to say the least and keep us coming back for more. A big plus on one of the trips was that a new season of Downtown Abbey had started in the UK, so I got to see the first episode!

I started thinking about why I like these trips so much and decided to write about what makes traveling with your girlfriends so special. Now, it’s not all camaraderie. There are a few downsides to this type of vacation, but I did say a few.

Girlfriend Travel: Why It’s So Special

Some of the benefits of girlfriend travel include:

  • You can plan activities with them that your husband probably wouldn’t want to do, like taking that cooking class.
  • You can stay up later than 10 pm (for those of us married to triathletes).
  • You can talk, talk, and then talk some more.
  • You can laugh, laugh, and then laugh some more.
  • You can actually stop worrying about what’s going on at home as your husband has you covered – or he better!
  • You get to share new experiences with your friends, which I think helps bond people together. You will have memories, like for any trip, that is unique to the group. And, even when things go awry, trust me, it will be a topic of conversation for years to come!
  • We strike up conversations with people we might not otherwise and they with us. Maybe there’s something about a group of women traveling together that intrigues people.
  • I’m always very happy and relaxed when I get home, so obviously it provides me with some sense of renewal.

Some of the downsides of girlfriend travel include:

  • Someone has to be responsible for planning the trip and it can be hard to try and please everyone. I usually end up doing this and feel stressed to ensure that everyone has a good time – I can be somewhat of a people pleaser. It’s a stress I put on myself, though, because to them, it’s all about being with your friends & not the actual trip itself. And, why I may complain about having to do the planning, I keep coming back for more!
  • It can sometimes be hard to get everybody out the door on time and dinner reservations can become more of an issue, the more people you have on the trip. That’s why I like to keep the group small.
  • If you have 2 people who have a need to be in control, it has the potential to lead to some tension with differing opinions. So, always best to try to deal with these types of issues ahead of time or talk them out when they arise. This should be a time that everyone can relax – no tension needed!
enjoying girlfriend travel at a cooking in Italy

Taking a cooking class at a villa in Tuscany.

I can’t wait for our next trip. We didn’t get to go in 2014 as my husband went to both the Ironman 70.3 and World Championships and I just couldn’t find the time. I won’t let that happen this year. We usually go in the fall, when there are less tourists and the weather is more to our liking, so we still have time to plan. I’m thinking a trip to Croatia might sound nice or a French cooking class this time…