How to: Plan the Perfect All-Girls Getaway

I’ve heard all the excuses when it comes to why people can’t — or don’t want to — plan an all-girls getaway. Almost invariably, they involve a lack of time, money, or patience.

I’ve traveled a ton with my family and, of course, with my significant other. But when I think of the trips where I’ve had throw-back-your-head-laughing fun, it’s been the ones I’ve taken with my girlfriends.

I’m still on a high from a recent trip I took with one of my best friends, Ashley, who flew to meet me in London for the weekend. If you think you have no time, Ashley has three kids under the age of four and still managed to make it happen. She is my inspiration for the kind of mom I want to be, one who shows her kids what it’s like to live a full — and fun — life.

I don’t have a lot of time either, so I’m not always jetting off with my ladies. But when the opportunity presents itself, I jump on it because it’s the surest way to get a break from the stresses and routines of everyday life. If you do it right.

Start with figuring out the three Ws — Who, Where, and What:

Ashley and I pose for the camera at the Corinthia Hotel in London.  (Photograph by Annie Fitzsimmons)
Ashley and I pose for the camera at the Corinthia Hotel in London. (Photograph by Annie Fitzsimmons)

Who: Only you can decide who you can — and cannot — travel with. I can’t deal with a lot of drama on trips, so I’m not going to pick girlfriends who will go on and on about their marital problems or complain about work the whole time. That’s not to say we can’t talk about these things, but you know the phrase “Misery loves company”? You don’t want to be the company.

Where: Beach or lake? Big city, small city, or country? As a New Yorker, weekends in Europe can be surprisingly affordable, and exotic getaways have their appeal, but I’ve had equal luck closer to home, too — like that great road trip through the Hudson River Valley. I’m also a big fan of smaller cities (Charleston is a favorite) where you can really get a solid feel for the place in a relatively short amount of time. Any destination can work: it just has to work for all of you.

What: On our recent trip to London, Ashley and I decided to skip museums. We both like to exercise but didn’t want to waste time in the hotel gym, so we agreed that we would walk everywhere, every day. Besides booking our restaurant reservations in advance, we kept our schedule flexible — like when we went to Borough Market and discovered the famous Kappacasein toasted cheese sandwich and decided to cancel our lunch across town. This won’t work for everyone. Honesty is everything.

And remember: Don’t be afraid to split up; you’re different people with different interests!

Here’s a breakdown, diary-style, of the weekend Ashley and I spent together in London. This itinerary would never fly with my family or fiance. It’s all girl:

Day 1

9:30 a.m. Start with a round of people watching over a leisurely breakfast at Cafe Colbert in Sloane Square.

10:30 a.m. Meander through South Kensington, Knightsbridge, and Chelsea, shopping at Russell & Bromley for shoes. Grab juices at Kefi Mediterranean on Walton Street, then stroll up to Harrods. Discover there is a National Geographic store across the street.

2:00 p.m. Break for tea at Prêt-à-Portea, an uber-fashionable spot in the Berkeley hotel where all the treats are inspired by the latest runway collections. Bite into chocolate cookies patterned after Manolo Blahnik shoes.

3:30 p.m. Check in at The Corinthia Hotel via St. James’ Park, Buckingham Palace, The Mall, and Trafalgar Square. (Photo-op central!)

5:30 p.m. Take a long walk along the revitalized South Bank of London to Tower Bridge.

8:30 p.m. Hop in a black cab for dinner at La Petite Maison. Order a bottle of wine and share inspired dishes made with the freshest produce imaginable.

Day 2

9:00 a.m. Snag a table at one of London’s most popular restaurants, The Wolseley, for breakfast. Pop into Fortnum & Mason (my favorite emporium of delightful English goods) down the street.

10:30 a.m. Walk up Regent Street and Savile Row, then head to Marylebone High Street. Taste French cheese at La Fromagerie and sample the goods at Rococo Chocolates.

1:00 p.m. Tube to Borough Market. Eat that famous cheese sandwich. Eat more.

3:00 p.m. Tube to Notting Hill, walk around, and split up. (If you’re me, meet a Texan-turned-London blogger I absolutely adore, Lauren Bryan Knight of Aspiring Kennedy, at Electric Diner.)

5:30 p.m. Reunite and walk back through central London, stopping at Buckingham Palace for photos.

8:30 p.m. Dinner at the serene Locanda Locatelli for delicious Italian (even if in a slightly odd location — adjacent to the Hyatt Regency hotel lobby).

10:00 p.m. Nightcap at the perfectly charming, family-owned Goring Hotel, the Queen’s favorite hotel (earning it a Royal Warrant, the only hotel to hold one), for the perfect end to a perfect weekend.

Do you have planning tips or recommendations for where to go on a girls getaway? Share them with me and the rest of the Intelligent Travel community by leaving a comment:


  1. nonny mouse
    September 9, 2013, 8:16 am

    Good advice, thanks. :) — If you’re younger, need to count every dollar, and are considering staying with one of your friends’ relatives in your chosen destination, find out first what that’s going to do to your “getaway” dynamics. Sometimes this works great; other times it’s a real trial and strains BFF relationships.

  2. Larissa Milne
    United States
    September 6, 2013, 11:32 pm

    I love a grand old spa hotel in a remote location for a girls getaway. Enjoy a few spa treatments, a nice dinner or two, and maybe a stroll outdoors. Indulgent & relaxing. Try the Omni Bedford Springs Hotel in Pennsylvania. I spent a few days there with my sister & sister-in-law and we had a great time.

  3. Mila Domiciano
    August 23, 2013, 12:22 pm

    Thank you for posting this. I read a lot of blogs about places to travel and travel tips, but rarely do you come across a blog with tips on how to travel with your girl friends. :)