As you probably all know or have heard by now, having your first girls holiday – or just any girls holiday – usually ends up in tears, fights, drama and early flights home.
This year, I had my first girls holiday with three of my close friends in Sunny Beach, Bulgaria. As I expected, it was definitely not a walk in the park.
However, we managed to survive and I have some advice, tips, and experiences to tell fellow girls who are thinking of going on holiday with their friends!
- If there are only three of you planning on going away, make sure to add a fourth person.
The reason for this is simple. At the end of the day everyone has different expectations of going on holiday, and there’s only so much you can compromise with. If there were three of you on holiday, there would be a guaranteed feud about who wants to go where, and someone will end up left out. It is easier to all do what you want to do, without having to argue, when you have someone else to go with you, without being stuck on your own. At the end of the day, if we wanted to do stuff ourselves, we would just book a holiday alone. We don’t do that do we? Because we want to experience things with our friends.
- Sit down and talk about what you want from your holiday.
Sometimes friends can have the same agenda on holiday, but sometimes you can have completely different ideas of what you want. To avoid future arguments, the best thing to do is really sit and have a discussion of what you’re expecting from this holiday. To chill out? Sight see? Water sports? Just to go out every night and get wasted? There’s no point in going on a holiday with someone who doesn’t want to do the same things as you, you can only compromise so much. If you want the opposite things, then it just won’t work.
- Ensure everyone’s passport and EU health cards are valid.
Before you decide to do anything or go anywhere, make sure everyone has a valid passport and EU health card. Seems a bit like common sense, but just imagine after you’d booked everything and it was one week until your holiday, you or one of your friends said “oh wait. my passport ran out lol” no. You just don’t want that happening. Or if one of you ends up in hospital (which believe it or not is pretty common), the EU health card will cover the medical expenses most of the time. “Oh but I have my holiday insurance”. Yep that’s if you have the money to pay for the expenses and then claim it back, if not, you’re pretty much royally screwed.
- Before booking anything, make sure you all have a date, and will be off from work/college/uni.
When my friends and I were planning our holiday, I wish I had this article to read. Reason being is we went around every single travel agent, online, etc, checking every date in every location for the cheapest price. Cheap is not always cheerful. Sometimes there’s being frugal, and then there’s just being an idiot. Prices change constantly, so even if you were to go around town all day collecting quotes, the next day the prices were completely different! Absolutely pointless and a waste of time. My friends and I wasted a lot of time doing this, so I do not recommend it. Make sure you have all got the same dates off after you’ve decided on roughly when you want to go.
- Set a budget, and stick to it.
Most of the time, there will be a friend or two who may not have as much money as the rest of you. Money may not be a problem for you, but it is mandatory to consider others and set a budget as a whole group. Setting a budget really helps with booking as well, because you get to see what holidays and package deals are in your price range. Setting a budget not only includes a budget for the cost of the holiday, but also includes new holiday clothes, holiday essentials, and spending money.
- Ensure you know rough prices of flights and holiday packages.
Last thing you want to do is get ripped off. Always look online first of all to see rough prices of flights and hotels, on various websites, so that you know whether or not a travel agent is potentially ripping you off. I would recommend always speaking to a travel advisor rather than booking straight from online, as you can haggle with them.
- Set your budget £100 lower than it actually is.
This is a great strategy to have, as many (if not all) travel agents work based on commission, so obviously they will try to up sell holidays to you. There’s nothing worse than telling them your actual budget, and them suggesting something bigger and better that you just can’t afford. It also means that you can potentially get your holiday for cheaper, as well as haggle prices better without losing out. They then think that they’ve upsold and you have a great deal, so it’s a win-win really.
- If you see anything online that seems like a good deal, screenshot it, go to a travel agent and ask them if they can beat it #holidaysorted
If you and your friends have completely fallen in love with a holiday package, don’t be impulsive. Be strategic. Whether the holiday package is from a shop or from a website, always go to another travel agent and ask if they can beat the price. Most of the time they will be able to beat it by cutting off a certain percentage of their commission, ensuring to “close the sale”.
- If you have found your perfect holiday package, be sure to do your research.
There’s nothing worse than having booked what you thought was your “perfect holiday package”, then finding out that the location of the hotel is nowhere near a beach, and no where near civilization, or having paid extra for all inclusive when it’s cheaper to eat out and buy your own drinks. Before booking it, make sure you all have a talk about it, look up on your phones briefly about the hotel, location and anything else you want to know, before going back and putting down a deposit (preferably on the same day, as I said, prices change).
- TripAdvisor is there for a reason. Use it.
This part is really important. My mum and my sister have always gone by “If it’s 3 circles or less on TripAdvisor for a 3* or less hotel, do not book it”. I have said it and I will say it again, there’s being frugal, and then there’s being an idiot. I will tell you the exact reason why. My friends and I had argued for weeks over standards of the hotel. I was adamant that I wanted to have a hotel that had a decent rating, but they kept saying to me “but people have high expectations and just nitpick“. Even though this can be true, especially for 4* and 5* hotels, usually if there’s a bad overall rating on TripAdvisor for a 3* hotel or less, it’s a bad rating for a reason.
However, for arguments sake, I gave in and just went with the cheap option. Bad move.
After a three hour flight, we finally got to our hotel (at about 5:30pm), I just wanted to unpack, have a shower, change and then go out. The bathroom was unclean, the shower was spurting everywhere, making the bathroom soaking and the sink was completely blocked. Not only that but our door was unlockable and one of the plugs in our room was unusable. We weren’t able to sleep at night because there was no air conditioning, none of the hotel staff spoke great English and the safes were kept downstairs at reception. To top it all off, my friends had to use my phone to get in contact with people from the UK and go on facebook, as there was no wifi in the hotel, luckily my phone had a European package which included internet.
Get my drift? Gonna use TripAdvisor now? Good.
Twin rooms are normally much cheaper than trying to get a family room. Also with family rooms, especially ones that “sleep 4”, usually there is only a double bed and a pull out sofa, which won’t be very comfortable for the people sleeping on it and will cause arguments on who is sleeping where. Separate rooms are always a good idea as well in case you fall out with one of your friends or one of your friends takes a guy home and locks you out (it happens, trust me). It’s also great as it means you have two bathrooms and extra space to get ready.
- The most important thing is Travel Insurance
Travel insurance you can get for a tenner, and it covers you for damage, loss or theft of property, medical bills, early flights home, etc. It is wise to buy travel insurance, because you just never know what’s to come on your holiday, and it’s best to be prepared for the worst.
- If there is anything you’re unsure of, don’t hesitate to ask your travel advisor.
There’s nothing worse than walking away just having paid your deposit when you’re not really sure you want that holiday package. It’s always best to ask any burning questions you have, whether it’s about the area your staying in, your hotel or just tips on staying safe and making the most of your time there. Your travel advisor is there to help you, remember that.
Being on holiday
- Always stick together, never leave anyone behind.
This is a very obvious rule, but you don’t actually realise how hard it is to stick together, especially when going to the clubs. There should always be at least two in a group, as it is never safe for young girls to be wandering off on their own in a strange country with a different language. You always hear about trafficking, girls getting abducted etc, it is not a myth and it is very common to happen, especially when people leave friends on their own.
- Book excursions one day at a time.
One of the major mistakes my friends and I made was booking the excursions all in one go. By the middle of the week, we had hardly any money left. It is good to be organized, but sometimes you are just better to go along with it day by day and see what you and your friends are up for. Sometimes the day comes and you may not be in the mood for the excursion you booked, and when you cancel it, you lose some if not all of the money you paid.
- Don’t plan each and every day
At the end of the day, humans are humans and we change our minds with what we want to do from day to day. There’s no point in making plans because they will just chop and change depending on what’s happened throughout the holiday, someone suffering from a bad hangover, falling off a quad bike… etc. It is good to keep some days structured, but other days just go with the flow and see what will be.
- Bring spare money in your own currency, just in case.
It’s better to be safe than sorry. Nothing worse than not having any money left, and having to pay an extra fee on your bank card because you don’t have cash on you. It also means that if you haven’t run out of money, you don’t lose money from exchanging back to your own currency (as exchange rates are always higher when buying back), or if you only need 20 quid to last you for two days, then that’s all you need to exchange.
Arguments on holiday are going to happen, and there’s nothing to avoid that. Spending 24/7 with someone for an entire week can be quite challenging. If you have an argument over a silly little thing, please do not hold a grudge on that person for the rest of the week. Do you really wanna waste a £500 holiday holding onto a grudge about who gets the bathroom first? No. Let it go. If it really ends up being a big deal then just argue about it when you get back, as there’s nothing more awkward than sharing a room with someone you’ve fallen out with. Let it go. (don’t hold it back anymoreeeee).
- If you have any problems or complaints, take it up with your rep.
Your holiday reps deal with problems and complaints all the time so don’t feel bad or awkward about bringing up a situation that you’re not happy or comfortable with. Whether it’s something to do with the hotel or an excursion you have recently been on, just take it up with them, they are essentially there to ensure you have the best time and make the most of your holiday. Remember that.
- Most importantly. Have fun!
If you and your friends manage to survive, then congratulations! You made it.
I really hope that this post helps a lot of girls who are hesitating going on holiday with their friends.I know that it would have helped me! If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to comment below.
Thank you for reading 🙂