Girlfriend Getaway Survival Guide

“I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” – Mark Twain

women fighitng

I have found that this could not be a truer statement.

I love a girlfriend getaway. Girlfriend getaways can be great. It is an opportunity to strengthen and renew bonds of friendship, a time where you can share laughter, stories and uninterrupted time together, away from our everyday lives as working women, mothers, and wives. However, I know I am not the only one who’s had the girlfriend getaway that you couldn’t wait to get away from.

To make sure it’s all good at the end you have to do prep work in the beginning. Prep work is about setting up expectations and boundaries before the deposit is made. This is about knowing who you are and what you can and can not put up with, what you like to do on vacation, and the type of people you like to associate with for an extended period of time. For example, that fun chick who is loud and proud at the parties, may be fun to party with, but not great when she’s up in your room at 2:00AM. Which leads me to tip #1

Tip #1 – Get Your Own Room

This is truly about knowing yourself. If you’re not an extra extravert, get your own room. The only exception to this is if the person you’re sharing with is similar to you in regards to expected boundaries and temperament. I’ve made the mistake on more than one occasion of sharing with people I didn’t know that well. This is not the time to find out that the person you’re sharing a room with gets passive aggressive and angry when they’ve had too much to drink.

Getting your own room is a must do if you’re an introvert. Introverts can be quite social. But after the party is over, they need to go back to their own space, regenerate, and be with their own thoughts. If you are someone who slightly prefers to be curled up on the couch reading a good book over being with a crowd of people, this may apply to you. It certainly applies to me. I come across as very social, and I am. I love to talk and meet new people. But, I need my private space on a daily basis, and I view my space as my sanctuary. Introverts should only share a room with other introverts, if at all.

Tip #2 – Financial Compatibility

This is huge! No one wants to feel broke, and no one wants to feel they’re being judged on how they choose to spend their money. You do not want your friend to feel like crap because you’re shopping up a storm and she had just enough money to get there and pay for the room and food. She may not even understand why she’s started to get semi-bitchy, and it’s basically because she’s feeling inadequate and that causes tension, etc. On the other hand, a person doesn’t want to feel they have to monitor their activities because they have a broke friend. You can see this turning into subconscious resentment. The next thing you know the phone calls and messages get less and less; you know the deal. And, I won’t even mention the implications of lending money to a friend for them to go on vacation. If you can’t immediately see the problem here, I recommend watching an episode of Judge Judy.

If you’re into elegant hotels, your hostel loving friend may judge you because they think you’re wasting money. And, if you’re into hostels your hotel loving friend will not even want to look at the inside of a hostel. It’s about compatibility on multiple levels, but financial compatibility ranks as one of the most important.

Tip #3 – Discuss Expectations

Everyone has something they want to see and do while on a getaway. Everyone in the group should list something they want to see and do. When traveling with a group, everyone may have different expectations for the getaway. Some may want to shop, some may want to lounge by the pool and some may want spa time. Discussing expectations ahead of time insures everyone can spend the getaway doing what they want to do and still be a part of the group.

Be warned. If you have someone in the group that continues to state, “I really don’t care what we do. I just want to getaway and have some fun,” that person is the one who will probably end up being a pain in the ass. This is because now they’re putting responsibility on the trip organizer and the group for their perceived idea of what “fun” is. And, if they’re not having “fun,” they’re complaining. My thoughts are if a person doesn’t have the energy to care about what you do, then why should I?

Tip#4 – Handle Your Own Money

This seems easy enough until someone suggests a group fund for food and drinks. Don’t do it. You do not want to be fighting over money or why the person in charge of the group money is spending it on their own individual coffee and food. It’s uncomplicated enough to split the bill, everyone puts in their money or their card and call it a day. This is why it’s a good idea to carry cash for food and drinks when traveling with a group.

So, there you have it, my suggestions for staying friends after the getaway.

Happy Travels and Good Luck!! 🙂


*Please note: photo is courtesy of  © Rob Byron

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About Terri Lundberg

Terri Lundberg is an American expat currently residing with her husband in Saudi Arabia, but she calls Seattle and San Diego home. She’s a travel writer, an avid photographer and is a resource and cross cultural trainer to expats relocating to Saudi Arabia. She's been to 100 destinations, 30 countries, and counting.


  1. Rollos and Vodka 😛

  2. This is good advise for men as well

  3. Shirley Lewis says:

    Number 1 and 4 is mandatory .

  4. Tips are wonderful, I’ve traveled with a friend, and on last trip I truly wished I had gotten my own room! They got sick and coughed all night, keeping me up too. They also didn’t take care of disinfecting to not spread thier germs. By the time we were flying back I also was very sick with upper respiratory infection! NO Fun at all….

    • That is pretty bad. Unfortunately, you can’t predict if a person will get sick. But that is a good reason to get your own room. I’ve had a snorer in my room before. It was loud and all night long. It was horrible. Then she got mad at me for talking about it. My thoughts were before you joined me on my vacation you should have warned me or got your own room. That was the final straw for me. From that point on, my own room.

  5. So, right now I have a single room (I am traveling with my elderly parents, they are in the stateroom next door). But a good friend has expressed a desire to travel with me. I’m both thrilled and nervous, now that I’ve read your blog!
    We are both females, we went to law school late in life, so we both are frugal as money is an issue. We have known each other since 2005 and seem to get along well, neither of us smoke, we both talk the same legal language, and we both enjoy wine responsibly. We are each 56, so we aren’t wild and crazy kids. Neither of us will be bringing any guys back to the room!
    Can you give me some insight for how to make this 17 day cruise (Panama Canal in October!!) a success? What kind of frank discussion, should we explicitly schedule time away from each other, I’d love to hear how to talk about this.
    Take care and happy cruising!

    • Hey Suzy,

      I’m laughing that you said that you’re now nervous after reading my blog. Don’t be nervous. 🙂

      This is what I think. If you want that roommate so that you can save money (or need to save money) on the single supplement that is often tied to having a single room, then I might say go for it. You may discover a regular travel partner. However, if you’re on one of those ships that actually have rooms for singles (I’ve heard there are a few cruise lines with this option), I stick by what I stated in tip number one, get your own room.

      Those rooms are small as it is. 17 days in a cabin with someone you’re not used to living with. IDK.

      So, if you decide to go forward with the sharing, then I think a frank discussion is in order with regards to vacation expectations, finances (the charges bill to the cabin), doing excursions together and alone, etc. I’m a big believer in alone time. And, if I can’t have that then I need, “leave me alone,” time. Do you have quirks such as this that need to be communicated? Does she? You see where I’m going.

      I hope this helps!

      Enjoy that cruise. 17-day Panama Canal cruise sounds sweet.

  6. Soo on point! I just had this experience with a dear friend since college first time traveling with her and is had to say we were probably both equally giving each other the side eye. THIS is my last trip where I do NOT discuss expectation. Own room is major. Personal space I think the problem is often friends take trips w/each other as a means to budget. And that reason alone is nt a good enough reason to do it together. I’m not doing to again at this point I love my friends too much to loose then on vacation smh!

    Great read Terri!

  7. I agree that having your own room is a must. I recently travelled to Costa Rica with my sister. We grew up sharing a bedroom and are very close. That said, we rented a 3 bedroom house which many people found excessive. We spent each day together bonding over our love of pristine beaches and our fear of tropical wildlife; we enjoyed each other’s company immensely. The trip was successful because we each retreated to our very own rooms each night for some well deserved alone time. Thanks for the article – I will be forwarding it to 3 friends with whom I plan on traveling this year. Love your blog!

    • There is nothing like that alone time at the end of the day. I went on two group trips this year, and there was no drama. Why? Separate rooms. 🙂 I’m glad you found the article helpful.

  8. This is an excellent article that will be going in the resource section of my website as a MUST READ.


  1. […] to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” So she compiled a Girlfriend Getaway Survival Guide to ensure that you choose your travel companions well, have the tough conversations about money […]