on girlfriend getaways ❖
Give ’Em What They Want: A Hassle-Free Girlfriend Package I WOULDN’T TELL MY husband this, but I like being told what to do. On vacations, that is. I realized this on a recent media trip to Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Ariz. Before I left, I was emailed a complete itinerary of where I should be and when. My job was to simply complete a laundry list of work projects (along with actual laundry), charge up a tote bag’s worth of electronic devices, get my ragged nails done, pack, prep the family for my imminent departure and get myself to the resort. Exhausting! That’s when the thought struck me: At least once I get there, I can just do whatever I’m told. Ah, freedom. A woman’s life is complicated, and family and career obligations are the primary roadblocks in setting off on a girlfriend getaway. As group travel planners, you can help clear the road by creating itineraries that ease the minds of female travelers. The less planning they have to do, the more likely they’ll bite. Girlfriend getaway packages aren’t just about getting the best deal anymore, they’re about relinquishing control, being open to new experiences and creating lasting memories with close friends. When planning girlfriend getaway itineraries, here are a few tips that I picked up from my Sedona excursion: Suggest a getaway kick-off spot: Pinpoint a place where, at the outset of the trip, the group can convene after a day of traveling. If it’s a bar or restaurant, find out the signature cocktail or suggest a favorite dish. The icing on the cake would be to pre-arrange with the venue that each person in the group be 10 August 2010
given a token gift (such as a canvas tote filled with local coupons and area maps or reusable water bottle). Recommend a daily theme: By planning each day around a central activity, it’s easier for the group to know what to pack, wear and expect – a spa day, shopping day, adventure activity or sit-bythe-pool-and-do-nothing day. Spice up the itinerary with a few specific spots to hit each day in keeping with the theme.
knuckles jeep tour? How about a yoga class? Sprinkle in local flavor: With a little googling or friendly chat with the local visitors bureau, you can hunt down some off-the-tourist-map stops. For example, one day of our trip was spent exploring Sedona and its outskirts. Who knew that the town hid a small but thriving wine industry? Throw in a few local favorite haunts for pizza, vegetarian
Girls like their freedom but appreciate the structure of a well-planned trip
Create some easy op-outs: Pad the itinerary with options. Among the group on my Sedona trip, several were highoctane ladies (crack of dawn hike up the mountain, heck yes!) along with a few laid-back members (take me to the hospitality suite, stat). The solution was that our host identified alternative activities along the way. Not up for the white-
food, night life or whatever best fits the group’s demographics. Plan a “bond-voyage”: Girlfriend getaways are all about bonding, and a final round-up of the group punctuates the trip with an exclamation point. Whether it’s a morning hot air balloon ride or final evening of cocktails, suggest a spot that brings them together one last time. Maybe even throw in an extra trinket that reminds them of your awesome girlfriend getaway planning. Mancations may be gaining in popularity but girlfriend getaways are a travel phenomenon here to stay. Take them up a notch by creating custom, hassle-free itineraries. Just tell them what to do, and they will come! Lisa Kasanicky is author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Girlfriend Getaways (Alpha Books, 2009) and founder of ArizonaSpaGirls.com — a girlfriend-to-girlfriend guide to spas, salons, beauty and wellness. The book offers travel details on more than 70 destinations in the United States and Canada ideal for female-focused group travelers.