This is not my first “friendcation” rodeo. My love for taking full advantage of breaks in college resulted in many friend filled vacations with my college besties – London, Florida, North Carolina, Branson, and Louisville just to name a few (and yes, I do wish I had better documentation of those trips on my blog and not jut on facebook ;).)
My love for traveling with friends oozed into my life after graduation. Starting with my honeymoon – I’m mean, vacationing with my best friend ever?!?! So fun! We then convinced our friends to join us to Disney World and have attend several years of winter cabin getaways with our small group (here & here!) It was about time that the girls in our Bible Study organized a little Girl’s Weekend of our own since we have been talking about it forever.
Now that I have established that FRIENDCATIONS are pretty much the best things ever, let’s talk about planning them! Because mixing together everyone schedules is not always easy, but it is always worth it!
SET A DATE
If your group of friends is anything like mine, you might need to set a date months ahead of time! We have eight wives, three mothers, and eight work schedules to work around and plan for. Husbands needed to be warned, baby sitters needed to be lined up, and vacation days needed to be asked off. Setting a date far in advance was key to us all being able to go. We marked our calendars and got set to making the arrangements for such!
FIGURE OUT THE LOCATION
Once you have a date, start talking about where you can go. Maybe you already have a strong idea or maybe you have to google cities to see what is in driving distance. Think about a place that you can all afford to get to and also meets your desired intentions. We wanted a pool, some margaritas, culture, shopping, and warm weather – all within driving distance! Santa Fe was the perfect destination for our end of summer trip! Figure out what your group wants (Mountains? Snow? City Life? Nature? Culture?) and find a place where you can enjoy those things in your budget!
FIND A PLACE TO STAY
Once we knew we were going to Santa Fe, we all started looking for a place to stay. We searched AirB&B, VRBO, and hotels in the city. We ended up going with the Lodge at Santa Fe because we wanted rooms near each other, near the pool, and near all the restaurants & shopping. We also wanted to spoil ourselves a bit and enjoy all the amenities of a nice hotel!
SET UP A GROUP EMAIL AND TEXT
There will be so much to talk about as you get ready for your trip. From fun recommendations from coworkers to times to meet to ride together. Make sure you have a place to organize all your trip talk. That way everyone knows just how much they own for the hotel room and all the giddy texts about the week of the trip can fuel the energy of the group! We set up an email for details, information, and photo sharing and a google chat group for everything else!
GATHER PEOPLES EXPECTATIONS
One of our friends did a great job at this and made everyone send an email with their hopes and dreams for the weekend. Knowing that people wanted to eat good food, sleep in, relax, shop, and walk around was good for planning purposes. We wanted everyone to enjoy the trip and at least get to do one of the things they were hoping for! This is really important for any size of group but you really need to be intentional with it when you have a larger group. Remember, you can allow for splitting up! There was one afternoon that half the group rested in a coffee shop soaking up introvert time while the rest of us walked around town shopping & looking at Santa Fe art!
PS: One or two people (the take chargers in the group) may want to send a packing list including things that people wanted to do. EX: hiking clothes (because several people wanted to hike), a dress for a night out (because some people wanted to get dressed up), etc
When you are packing for your trip, think of fun things you can bring along to enjoy! We brought some things for a spa night & nail painting as well as some games, bottles of wine, and snacks! You may not end up having time to enjoy everything you brought along, but it is fun to have an option just in case a flash flood kept you coped up in the hotel. We brought food to eat by the pool (like the tequila soaked watermelon below) and the fixing for some summer cocktails so that we didn’t always have to eat out!
I can promise you that everything will not go your way even if you are the one planning it all! With a group of friends you have a mixture of personalities and preferences. You may be the only one who wanted to pay to go to the museum or eat at a certain restaurant. Shake it off and let yourself enjoy the choice of the rest of the group. At times splitting up will be a great option but at times you may just need to go with the flow and wake up a little bit earlier than you had wanted. I also included this point after I said expectations should be voiced. Everyone will get to do something they wanted so let yourself be okay with doing the things other wanted to do (because they all did one of your important things too!)
It is a gift to all be able to go on a trip together! Take the time to ask the deeper questions and the funny ones too! Laugh together, try new things, and take lots of pictures! Trips like this are good for the soul!
Have you ever been to Santa Fe? Have you ever been on a FRIENDCATION? I am so eager to hear about all your friend trip experiences and advice!!
PS: I tried to squeeze in a lot of photos to this post and I still have way more!!! Be excited 😉 HAHA!