Sunday, January 13, 2013

4 Girlfriends, 3 Islands and 14 Days

Four friends made a New Years Resolution a few years ago to meet up in Barbados for a fabulous two week vacation. 

I was ready for a two week vacation, and knew when the planning started we would not all meet up in the same destination. But before I tell you about our "girlfriend" vacation, here's a few things to keep in mind when planning a trip with friends . . .

Discuss Purpose of the Trip
Lets "just go and have fun" is NOT a defined purpose in planning  a successful trip. 

Everyone has an expectation of the ideal vacation, and this is directly tied to their personality, lifestyle, and specific interests.

Different Personality  Types
Dependent personality types will want to be attached to the group at every move vs. the independent traveler who think nothing of going off on their own. 

These two personality types will always clash, and the whole purpose of going on vacation is to have fun and NOT be stressed. So give a lot of thought to who is most like your personality type, and shares the same interests and lifestyle. 

Friends are often embarrassed to admit they can't afford the trip they were so anxious to join in on. 

Once it's time to pay up, don't be surprised if they back out. If you are dead set on your preferred destination, always have a "Plan B" if friends back out. My Plan B was to travel with hubby, or go solo if all else fails :)   
If you are not dead set on a particular destination, you can always opt for a cheaper vacation, however everyone should be happy with the location.   

Now back to our girlfriend trip 

After a few months of discussion two of my friends were not in agreement on time frame, budget, destination or even what type of vacation experience they really wanted. Since we all live in different areas of the country, and had not seen each other in awhile, I was determined to spend time with each of them. 

The only way this could happen was split my two week vacation between three islands. I ♥ the Caribbean, and island hopping is a no brainer.

Barbados was the first stop to meet up with my ideal travel companion. Ann and I met 10 years ago in Barbados, and over time we've become good friends who stay in touch during the year. 

Ann is a New Yorker who always speaks her mind, and is an independent soul. We can stay tied at the hip for days having fun, and then each go off on our own. 

She's always up for a party, dancing, eating out, drinking, meeting new people, and new adventures. After a whirlwind week of non stop activity - and little sleep, I was in need of a more laid back atmosphere for a few days, so it was on to the tiny Dutch island of Saba.   

Jennifer is one of the sweetest people in the world - the type who always puts everyone ahead of herself. After going through a stressful divorce, her vacation expectation was a quiet spot to reflex on her new life, catch up on reading, and experience a new culture. 

In looking for a destination I suggested Saba, and after she did a little research, it was agreed this would be the perfect spot. We spent lazy days  catching up on the past year, exploring the island's culture, and sharing e-books. With only 4 days left, it was time to move on to my last destination - St Maarten.    

Rita is a dear childhood friend, and her life and vacation time revolves around her husband and kids. She is the first one to commit to a girls only trip,  however it never happens. 

Feeling guilty about backing out on the girls trip, she made arrangements to rent a large villa, and invited me to stay with the family in St Maarten

They had been on the island five days prior to my arrival,  and Darlene made plans with hubby to entertain the kids for two days. We had a fun time shopping, hitting the beach, a few nightclubs, and also took a tour of the island on horse back. 

Everyone did exactly what they wanted within their budget, comfort zone, and the type of vacation experience they desired. I made the best decision in getting away from the winter cold, visiting three very different Caribbean destinations, and spending quality time with my friends. 

Happy Travels,

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