To my delight, a week at the beach with my girlfriends has become an annual tradition. For a few glorious days each April, my group of ten lovely ladies leaves behind kids, husbands, work, carpools, cooking and cleaning and heads to the beach for total relaxation.
Cancun, Mexico and the entire Riviera Maya is the perfect destination for a girlfriend getaway. It’s easy to get to from the United States and Canada, relatively inexpensive and has options for every style of travel.
To ease planning, which isn’t always easy if you have a big group, and to make the most of your Girlfriend Getaway, here are my top Mexican Girlfriend Getaway planning tips.
Tip #1: Have a planning party.
Not that we need an excuse to get together with girlfriends and drink wine, but it’s actually really important to everyone together before planning begins to talk about things like budget, duration, location and more. You want to be sure everyone is on the same page before you start planning.
If you’re not in the same city, set a date and time, pour some wine and do a Google hangout!
At the end of this planning meeting you should have solidified a budget range, general dates and location. Pick someone to be the point person with regards to planning. While no one person should shoulder too much work if they don’t want to, there really must to be one person in charge otherwise nothing will get done.
Tip #2: Book air early and here’s how to get some good advance/group deals.
These days people use miles and other points deals, so group airfare isn’t as big a deal or as possible as it’s been in the past. But book early to ensure the best deals and availability.
Working with someone like Apple Vacations is a great way to get the best pricing on hotels as well as airfare. They offer packages that include air at a discounted rate.
Tip #3: Adults only all-inclusive
The last thing you want on a Girlfriend Getaway, whether you have kids or not, is kids around! And that’s all I’m going to say about that. So opt for adult–only properties.
Now while I’m typically not an all-inclusive big resort kind of gal, for ladies getaways all-inclusive are perfect. Especially for busy moms, the ability to call for food and drink any time of the day is priceless. With all-inclusive resorts you also don’t have to worry about settling up bills after dinner, keeping track of who bought this round of drinks, and you can budget the costs for the trip with great reliability well in advance.
Most all-inclusive resorts in the Riviera Maya will only allow up to 3 adults in a bedroom. This has worked well for us in the past. You really can’t have more than three women getting ready for a night out all at the same time anyway!
Note: Be sure you don’t select a hotel that caters to honeymooners or couples. We made that mistake one year, and while it was a nice and relaxing week at the beach, the experience lacked the energy we were used to. We’ve learned that they best way to find a perfect hotel or resort for your Mexican Girlfriend Getaway is to look for a resort that caters to Destination Weddings.
This way, you know there will be big, fun groups at the resort and it won’t be only couples. The more festive ambiance of the wedding scene has made for some really fun times over the years.
Tip #4: … or a private villa.
If you have a little more time on your hands and like the idea of more privacy, cooking as a group, and getting out to experience local culture a bit more, consider a private villa or other vacation rental. Be sure to organize for someone to prepare dinner on your first night right in the villa so you have time to catch your breath and enjoy a glass of wine as the sun sets that first night. Then head to the store to stock up the kitchen the next day
There are literally hundreds of amazing private villas available in the Rivera Maya. Consider using a villa broker or specialist to make your bookings. These companies also offer a level of trust and can usually cater to your group’s specific needs.
Tip #5: Location matters.
As a rule of thumb, the closer you are to Cancun the more wild and crazy things will be. Moving south towards Playa del Carmen and then even further South to Tulum and even beyond that into the Sian Ka’an Nature reserve, things become much more relaxed.
This would be something to discuss during your planning meeting. There are plenty of perfect options throughout this region!
Tip #6: Get in and get out (of the airport.)
Fly into Cancun on the earliest morning flight possible and arrange transportation in advance to pick you up at the airport. If you won’t need a car while you’re there, it’s often less expensive to arrange a private shuttle to your hotel (and many of the all-inclusive resorts include airport transfers in the price of the room).
The objective here is to get through the airport as quickly as possible and get to the beach in time for Happy Hour!
Tip #7: Turn off your phone!!
As busy working moms, we all have phones that are non-stop beeping and buzzing all day. We all leave our phones in the hotel safe and instead focus on reading and taking pictures with actual real cameras. A few days of tech detox have come to be a very important part of what makes this getaway so special.
Sarah Fazendin, a Denver-based travel blogger, spends her days juggling a career, a couple of kids, and a head-spinning daily schedule. But still, she makes time for travel. On her travel blog A Week at the Beach, Sarah’s mission is to inspire busy moms everywhere to make more time for travel. Be sure to follow her travels and be inspired for your next trip on Twitter @aweekatthebeach.