Last weekend, several friends and I were able to go on our inaugural friendcation. Many of us were originally coworkers for many years. As life and circumstances dictate, most of us have gone on to different jobs and sometimes careers. Our group has expanded to include friends of friends over the years and we monthly attempt to have dinners and outings as a way to state in touch. As we often shut down restaurants, we knew what we truly needed was time to stay up as late as we wanted and do whatever we wanted. As a result, we began talking about a friendcation.
For some reason, I became the social coordinator of our group (those that know me totally understand why I have this role) and today I wanted to share some ideas for how to plan a friendcation whether it be with a small group (we ended up with 6 but at one point had 8-10 people considering) or large.
Pick A Time and Location
A few in our group had already stayed at Oak Haven Resort in Sevierville, Tennessee and knew the cabins had exactly what we needed. (We could cook our own food, enjoy the hot tub, hike and go to the spa). I’ve previously shared about stays here and here. We also only wanted to consider a weekend trip close to home as many could not get off of work for long and had children to consider.
We began planning a date 6 months out so that everyone who wanted to go could provide dates they were free. Even though it was that far in advance, the weekend that we choose was the only weekend everyone had available. When you have busy lives, it takes time to schedule yourself on the calendar.
Choose How To Communicate With Everyone In The Group
Group emails have always worked best with our group. I will begin the initial email with the question or information and others can respond all as needed. I do create new email chains with new information throughout the process. Our group also communicates via group texts but I have found that sometimes that information can get lost. Thus, emails contain specific information.
I have heard of many planning Girls Night Out events via private Facebook pages where the information is always current. However, there are some in our group who are not as active on Facebook (yea, for them). When determining the best way to communicate, consider the most consistent method that everyone in the group utilizes.
Choose How Everyone Will Pay For Lodging
We reserved a Cabin that we knew would sleep up to 8 people. I initially reserved it in my name and provided the information to everyone in regards to how much it would be per night depending upon how many were able to make the trip. Everyone was then able to pay me directly.
This method of having one person pay may not be for the best if the friendcation includes several hotel rooms or a cruise. It may be best for individuals to pay directly. Many hotels are very willing to hold rooms for a certain time if reservations are made in advance and confirmation dates are met.
Discuss Transportation to the Friendcation
Sevierville Tennessee is about 3 hours from Lexington and is a relatively easy drive. Three of us took the day off, met early and drove to the cabin early. Each of the others had different schedules and arrived at different times.
If you are flying to your friendcation things to consider are: How many rental cars might be needed? Does the area have public transportation or the resort have shuttle service? Keep in mind if you have several friends and are renting a car, it may be best to have two so that some do not feel trapped.
Discuss What the Overall Expectations Are For The Friendcation
Everyone has a different idea of what a vacation looks like. Some people want to shop while others want to sleep or read. Allow for a variety of needs to be met but also discuss if there are certain things everyone should do. Examples might include going to dinner at a specific restaurant.
Schedule Desired Activities In Advance
Oak Haven Resort has a spa located on the premises and also offers group pricing for groups of 4 or more. I initially provided this information to everyone and we met two weeks before the friendcation and the consensus was we would book our own services if we wanted. (All of the group packages included two or more services). A few of us thought about scheduling a manicure or pedicure but did not make the appointments early enough. The Spa was having a special for residents of the county and all of their appointments were taken except for a few. One of us did get to enjoy a pedicure while several of the rest of us enjoyed the aromatherapy in their lobby.
The lesson here is to schedule early. Most places will allow you to cancel without having to pay a service fee if it is done within 24 hours.
Be Flexible In Planning
One of our group is on a specific diet and rather than not come because she couldn’t eat what everyone else was eating, she brought her own food. The rest of us came up with a menu and purchased food at the grocery store.
A few of us went on a 2 mile hike on Saturday morning while others stayed on the porch, in the hot tub or slept.
The point of a friendcation is to relax from daily life and be with friends. No timeline and nowhere to be.
Enjoy The Blessing of Friendship
Our group laughed and stated that we ended the weekend with no one hating each other. I personally think that says so much about our friendship. We are each in different stages in our lives and going through many different things but the one constant has always been that we have each other. There is nothing like staying up to 2 in the morning with your girlfriends.
Plan Your Next Outing Before You Leave
Although we have not planned the next Friendcation, we did plan for our October outing before the weekend was over. We’ve found that it is easier to at least plan an event (zombie paintball) or a weekend where we are free before we leave each other.
Have you been on a friendcation? What did you do? What would you do differently?
Today, I’m joining up with Emily for Grateful Heart Monday. I’m grateful for the ladies who allow me to call them friends.