Leave the parks for the kids
12.02.2016 - 14.02.2016
One of my high school friends relocated to Florida and I have been promising a visit. I finally fulfilled my friend duties and I must admit, I am smitten with Orlando! I had to be in the area for work, so I decided to stay a couple days and have my friend meet me. My first few encounters with the area were theme parks. While I love Micky, I was in need of serious girl time. Every girl loves a girl trip, but the thought of planning one sounds tedious. Stress not, I created the Ultimate Guide to Planning the Perfect Girls Trip in Orlando.
1. Pick your dates
Sounds like a 'duh' step. If you are busy like me, and have to manage not only your schedule, but those of your children and partner, this is a big first step. Block off the time, request it off work, arrange for childcare and buy your ticket. I chose to fly Southwest. #1, it is where I met my sweetie and #2 they offer direct flights.
2. Pick your travel buddies
We all have different groups of friends and not all groups mesh well. Don't feel bad about this. Traveling brings out the best and worst in people. I say that lovingly. I have my little circle of friends who travel well together. A large portion of your trip experience is who you are with. This trip, a group of high school friend met. One drove down from South Carolina, and one flew in from Dallas.
3. Set a budget.
Traveling is most fun when you are with someone who not only enjoys the same things, but have the same spending goals. If you plan to eat at five star restaurants the whole trip and your friend prefers quick service, you might bump heads. Pick an amount you are most comfortable spending without question and plan accordingly. Great trips CAN happen on a shoestring budget. Just be sure all your buddies are on the same budget plan. We decided on a $500 budget. This doesn't include accommodation and anything extra like person expenditures such as souvenirs. Your budget will vary by destination. $500 won't go far in NYC, but in Orlando, it can go far.
4. Where to stay.======
Orlando has a TON of hotels. I narrow down where I am staying by amenities. Depending on the type of trip I am planning, some things are more important to me than others. If I am traveling with my kids, coin laundry is a must. If I am traveling with friends, a suite is nice. That way the early sleepers can retire while the rest of us stay up. This trip we chose thishttp://www.hawthornlakebuenavista.com/. We chose this for a few reasons:
1> They have a 1 bedroom suite, with a bedroom behind closed doors and a pull out couch.
they have free hot breakfast. Who doesn't love free?
2> They have a managers reception on weeknights with complimentary beer and wine. We thought it would be nice to have a drink or two before heading out for the evening
3> They have a shuttle to the Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores and saving on a couple Uber rides was nice.
5. Plan some activities=== ===Your subheading here...===
There are two types of travelers. Those who plan every moment, and those who go with the flow. The can each drive each other crazy. What works for my group is, we have a few things we always do as a group, and those of us who enjoy free time take it, and those who like to do everything, do not feel obligated to wait on others to get motivated to go. Things that are a must see/do in Orlando
1. The Orlando Eye. (https://www.officialorlandoeye.com/) This is quite literally a large clear box ferris wheel you can all go in together, and see the whole Orlando area. It is SUPER cool.
2. Lake Buena Vista Factory Outlets (http://www.lbvfs.com/) There is something about trying on clothes and modeling for my friends that brings me back to high school. It is part nostalgia, part self indulgence.
3. Night Zip Line (http://www.ziporlando.com/). This was cool. You are not only zip lining under the stars, we caught the Disney firework show.
4. Downtown Disney. This is FREE. There are lots of shops, restaurants and nightlife. Listen to some jazz at Flambeaux's Jazz Club. They have live music every night. It was a nice way to unwind and relax with some New Orleans themed drinks.
5. Wine tasting (http://www.quantumleapwinery.com/the-winery/). This was the perfect way end our trip. We took a tour of the winery and tasted some delicious sustainable wines.
The hardest part of a girls trip is saying goodbye. The best part is all the memories we made with lifelong friends.