You know how the day before you’re scheduled for a haircut, you can’t do a thing with your hair? Turns out the same holds true for moms the day preceding a girlfriends getaway. Ahead of a weekend celebration in Cape May, NJ, with some of my dearest friends, my kids chose today to be completely OFF THE HOOK. Between the baby who is going through a clingy phase, the twins who ask for constant entertainment, and the pre-teen who is having a friend over and absolutely can’t be bothered with her siblings, I am ready to scream. So it seems my saving grace is that I get a weekend off with some of the best gal pals a girls could ever hope to have. Couldn’t have come at a better time.
Dreaming or scheming of your own girlfriends getaway? Here is a 9-step guide to get you ready to go!
1. Decide on the location together. In my little trio, one of us is celebrating her 40th birthday this weekend, so my other friend and I did some research on destinations, then let the birthday girl make the final decision. A few factors we kept in mind: car vs. flight, driving time, relaxation vs. city destination, and budget. Deciding on what is important to you about the weekend together makes it easier to land on a destination.
2. Do your research. Once you’ve picked a place, research your way around the area. With a plethora of travel blogs, Pinterest pins, and articles available, you no longer have to travel uninformed. I don’t tend to put a lot of stock into Trip Advisor or Yelp since I may not share the same preferences with other reviewers. But I do pay attention to Travel and Leisure articles and the 36 Hours feature in the Sunday Travel section of The New York Times. Another thing I used to research our trip to Cape May: hashtag searches on Instagram!
3. Coordinate packing. Must everyone bring a hair dryer or can just one friend pack that? Is Saturday night’s dinner super casual or do the ladies want to get a little dressy? A little packing coordination helps suitcases stay light, and helps set expectations for the weekend so no one is in the dark. Plus, you know you’ll borrow all of their clothes anyway!
4. Plan one nice dinner and make reservations! For popular destinations, this is especially important, as the most coveted restaurants will book up quickly. For a location like Cape May, we made dinner reservations at the historic Congress Hall’s Ebbitt Room, in order to get a good walk-thru of America’s oldest seaside resort.
5. Buy something new! Who doesn’t like to have a little something new for a weekend with your gal pals? I found a one-piece jumpsuit at Anthropologie yesterday for $35 that I’ll be packing for the trip. New doesn’t have to mean expensive! Snag a pair of bright earrings or the sandals that just went on sale, and throw ’em in the suitcase!
6. Make a signature cocktail for the weekend and bring all the ingredients. This weekend, I’m packing a few bottles of wine for our crew, but my friend Janean is bringing a honey bourbon & mint cocktail that she says is just perfect for summer. Now anytime I make the drink, I’ll think of our weekend together.
7. Do one thing you’ve never tried before. The sky’s the limit here, but because my little trio is waaaaay into food, we are going to Beach Plum Farm for a Dinner in the Field sort of event. We’ll be cooking over an open fire and then wandering somewhere on the property for a white table cloth supper. If you’re headed to a lake and haven’t tried water skiing, or going to the beach and want to do deep sea fishing, who better to try it with than your best friends?
8. Don’t overplan. No matter how much down time you build into your schedule, it will never be enough when you’re with your girlfriends. One-hour meals can easily turn into 3 hours, a morning walk on the beach goes on and on. Don’t be bothered by empty time on the schedule. You and your chatty friends will find a way to fill it up.
9. Get one group picture. Because this is worth documentation. Our weekend getaway to Cape May will leave three mothers without their eight children for a delightful three days. Somebody better snap that picture so we can remember this!