beach chairs
Photo by vxla

In May, seven girlfriends and I caught a cheap flight to the beach for a three day mini-vacation.

Let me explain the science of why we fly versus drive, so as for you to not just consider us spoiled brats. Nashville to 30A, the panhandle strip of Florida where we like to go, is about a seven hour drive directly south (which we have done, multiple times). With seven girls total, and all our junk, that would have been two cars worth of gas driving seven hours. So we leave Nashville at 8am, we’re there by 4pm.

The flight? Leaves Nashville at 8am and lands at 9:15am.

So for close to the same cost, you are at the beach by 10am…. instead of the driving option which, at 10am, has you passing through Huntsville, AL, home of Space Camp and astronaut ice cream, but no ocean view.

You get it. We flew.

We are all single career women in our late 20s/early 30s and while we have a lot of fun in our Nashville lives, we also are busy and stressed and hard working.

We needed a break. To read. To nap. To tan. To bike. To just be.

For single gals, it can be hard to prioritize vacation in your budget or calendar. Sure, your job may give you days off, but you want to visit family or reorganize your house or stay in town because none of your friends may have the same vacation days and vacationing alone isn’t necessarily the most fun. (Though I’m sure it can be a good time, I’m 100% extravert, so being alone is rarely the choice I make.)

But since Valentine’s Day, since this same crew of girls cooked a delicious dinner together, we’d been planning to celebrate Lyndsay’s 30th birthday at the beach.

And we had the absolute best time

. . . . .

I learned a lot about what makes for a successful vacay with the gals on that weekend and so I thought I’d share those thoughts with you:

This is not a go-big-or-stay-home situation. If you want to keep your budget tight, hop on and find some cute place to stay in a nearby town or even in your own town!

Plan way in advance. If your friend group is anything like mine, we get full calendars quickly. So by putting a May vacay on the calendar in February, it was blocked off early and nobody double-booked or had to back out.

Serve each other. One of the sweetest parts of our trip was that everybody chipped in to help clean and cook and drive and etc. It certainly made for low stress and high appreciation of our friend group.

Don’t pressure. Everyone does not have to snorkel and don’t judge a gal if she naps every day. Unless y’all are doing a vacation bus tour across Italy (I’m jealous), then everyone should be allowed, at some degree, to move at their own pace.

Prepare your budget. You know who you don’t want to be? The girl who stays home from dinner because you don’t want to spend that kind of money. Your group needs to discuss ahead of time what kind of budget you plan to spend and you need to set aside that moola.

Unplug. Don’t live your vacation on instagram or Facebook. Live it over hot chocolate around a bonfire or on a pack of bicycles or eating ice cream by the pool. LIVE it. Be present for your friends.

. . . . .

Don’t let being single hold you back from vacation. Make some calls and some reservations and some plans and get outta town this summer!

What other tips do you have for vacationing as a single gal?

By the way, Emily Freeman shared her vacation tips for families yesterday. Check it out!

by Annie Downs

  • Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God

    Since we first went to the Bahamas together and gave ourselves the name “Bahama Mama Divas”, my girlfriends and I have been taking an annual trip together to the beach. One of us always graciously packs a dvr and we have a girls movie night. Our favorite tradition, however, is having church on the beach. This has been the most uniting and bonding experience for all of us. We all may have very different personalities, but we are united by being sisters in Christ. What better place and time to celebrate our Creator. Thanks for some great tips we can use!

    • Annie Downs

      That is so much fun! I love it.

  • Agnes

    OOH this i love. I’ve done PLENTY of vacays as a single woman -tons!! Almost all ;) Because I live overseas, my vacays are pretty much all to see fam, or else doing trips to visit friends who live in other places. That’s not for everyone but it works for me because I don’t get to see them otherwise. Other hols have been girl trips, which are always fun. My tip for girl trips is to go on holiday with chilled friends who are fairly similar lifestyle-wise. For example, I am pretty outdoorsy, so have found myself frustrated (but making the best of it ;) going with friends who prefer spending sunny days in the mall. Also, keep the high-maintenance girlfriends for shorter visits (like coffee, whatever), but not holidays. By high-maintenance, I mean very set in their ways or who get upset when things aren’t to their schedule all the time. Easygoing people = best holiday travel pals. Remember, you’re together 24-7 :) Also – which I should have mentioned first – grace, to yourself and whoever you’re spending that precious time with. Focus on making memories and let the little things slide – keep reminding yourself of the bigger picture, which is your awesome holiday! :)

    • Annie Downs

      I LOVE planning vacations in cities where I have people to hang out with! Great tip!!

  • sonyamacdesigns

    Girl, what an awesome post … Thanks to you, I’ve located a special local place to unwind & unplug. Bonus = catfish! Thanks Annie

    • Annie Downs

      YUM and yes and awesome!

  • Lesley

    First off, I love your suggestion of serve one another! My friends and I tend to do that naturally, but it’s always a great reminder.

    My tip for singles traveling is have very few expectations. I find that when I have fewer expectations of what the vacation is going to look like I enjoy the whole experience more.

    • Annie Downs

      Absolutely. Don’t pack your expectations…. they take up too much space. :)

  • Amanda

    I so want to start taking a girls trip. Sounds like your guys had a lot of fun.

    • Annie Downs

      Do. It. We had a BLAST and are already discussing our next one!

  • sheri

    I love single girl vacations. In a group is a blast, but I actually love going places on my own too when I need some time and space to destress or work something out in my head. I went a day before and stayed a day later when I went to Jumping Tandem in Nebraska. Absolutely one of my best trips ever. Yet some of the ladies were surprised that some of us came solo (without a group or buddy). I’ve also just taken a road trip through Texas up to Arkansas on my own and loved it. I stopped when I wanted, detoured to interesting places…absolutely no schedule. And I spent a few days at one of the beautiful lakes areas of Oklahoma to write and hike and just be. On my own, I am just who I am. No expectations or pretenses. I love meeting new people at random on the banks of a calm lake or seeing dinasaur tracks in a state park. There’s just freedom in conversation. People share and talk without reserve when they don’t have to worry about whether they are accepted past the moment. And because I’m in heavy outreach ministry to women in very hard places, the quietness and solitude is awesome. My one advice (especially on road trips) is use safety precautions, travel wisely, keep your cellphone charged, and have tools and jumper cables (just in case). Keep a good book, a journal and pen, and a camera handy for those random or unexpected “rest” stops. And most important, have at least ONE person you check in with so that others who love you don’t freak out because you’re on your own and are assured that all is ok. But hey, I put my own alternator in my car on Independence Day all by myself (well, me and Youtube!). It’s both challenging and liberating to go and do on my own sometimes.
    Happy Trails, Ladies!

    • Annie Downs

      I just went on my first ever solo-vacay and totally loved it. I might make it a habit! :)

  • Merideth

    Love your suggestions Annie, as always. One of my closest friends from grad school and I are actually taking a trip to Coco Beach Florida next month. A mutual friend is getting married in Orlando, and we just decided to meet up at the wedding and tack on a beach trip for a couple of days. We are so looking forward to it. I’m like you, though. Very much an extrovert, so it’s more fun to travel with people for me. I do plan trips to visit friends in other places when my budget allows too.

    • Annie Downs

      So fun! I love tacking on a few vacay days around events like weddings or graduations or family reunions! So smart. Hope y’all have a blast.

  • Rose

    I am recently single due yo husband changing his mind after 37 years if marriage. Sherri what ministry do u do with women in hard places ? I want to do singles vacation but don’t have single friends yet. May take trip from NC to CO by myself. Any suggestions…. For anything thanks

    • Shelly

      Rose, from one divorced gal to another – just buy a ticket! I found a conference I wanted to attend in a city that was fun, and I bought y ticket and went! Also, I started doing half-marathons, so I picked them in fun places, like Seattle, and booked and went!

      Pushing ourselves to the edge of our box is the best way to meet God and experience Him and His grace. He’ll meet you on your trip and it will be an incredible blessing!!

      Blessings to you as you embark on a tough road, but one that God will be your guide, your friend, and your Savior every moment of everyday.


    • Caroyl

      Gee your husband and mine must be on the same page! My marriage of 37 years ended 5 years ago. It would be good to be over it all, but as you know the journey through is difficult after a “lifetime” together.
      Recently a single woman started a widow/divorced group at my church. We come from all walks of life, all ages, different circumstances but the same “loneness” we share. We have potlucks (we all hate to cook for one), go to the movies, shopping, try new restaurants, visit museums, etc. We laugh and sometime we cry together. I encourage you to be the one to start a small group. If you attend a church put out a “feeler” in the bulletin. We are all dealing wih a new normal but I’d bet someone out there probably needs your friendship as much as you need NEW friends (somehow old friends seem to drop away after going through a death or divorce!) Who knows maybe next year you’ll be making vacation plans as a group. God Bless!

  • Kristin S

    Great tips!

    My main thing is giving myself permission to GO. I don’t naturally have to plan a family vacation each year so it can get pushed back. My best friend and I saved for our 40th birthday trip for years. We had a blast! We decided we weren’t going to skimp on housing, food, or spas. And we didn’t because we had saved.

    Already saving for the next BIG trip but I need to put little ones in my calendar too.

  • Donna

    That sounds like fun to take a friend’s trip! Thanks Annie for the suggestions!

    I like the idea of a cute place here in town. A place to enjoy flowers or the beach and just breathe.

  • Melissa

    VRBO is awesome! My parents have a vacation home on there and get tons of bookings. It really makes so much more sense to rent a house through places like VRBO than a hotel when you’re traveling with a group or if you have a large family.

  • Wendi C. Mccray

    We stopped for ice cream at Mountain View Car Wash, which is located right on the bike path. I know it sounds like a strange place for ice cream but they have great soft serve as well as hot dogs and smoothies. There are plenty of places to stop along the path including a park at the end. We had a great time, got some exercise and saw the town for very little money.

  • Cathy

    Rose- I’m also trying to figure out single gal vacation having had the same experience after 34 yrs of marriage. I have to learn to be independent and adventurous and by Gods grace am doing so. Dark times come and go but Gods light shines in and through them all. Blessings!
    Thanks for all the fun ideas girls!!

  • Anna Angela

    Annie, thanks for linking to VRBO! I never heard of it and now I’m checking it out because I’m planning to go on vacay with my gffs. My single gal friends and I have been going on vacations for years. I would like to add a tip for those who haven’t planned this kind of vacay. Start with a small group. My gffs and I started with big trips with around 10 girls. It was a lot of fun, but stressful to plan. I’ve gone on vacay with just a handful of girls and it was just as fun and easier to plan. I love the “don’t pressure” tip because there are many personalities among friends, and we all need to be flexible and understanding.

  • Elizabeth

    I’m no longer single, but since being married I’ve developed a travel bug — a travel *alone* bug. It freaks out my mom, but I’ve been having a great time. On the schedule for next year is a trip to the UK. Love the tips you’ve shared!

  • Deanna

    We usually talk about who is going to sleep where or with who before we go. It takes the tension out of showing up and looking at a full size bed and three people needing a place to sleep.