This week I celebrated my 30th birthday with a group of friends in Mexico. I wanted to ensure that the trip catered to individual needs and that it was a worthwhile experience. For my birthday celebration, I wanted to create something for the memory books. An event that would leave everyone feeling like “damn, I’m truly glad that I came! “Come along with me as I take you on the steps that I took to ensure that all my girls left having a blast.
- Survey- I have a diverse group of friends in terms of personalities. I have friends who are extremely outgoing and who want to dance the entire night away. Then, I have others who prefer watching a show and taking in the local culture. I called each friend and asked them what their ultimate idea of a girl’s trip was and took notes. This allowed me to pick their brains and avoid certain activities namely travelling to the well-known Mayan ruins in Mexico, that weren’t nearby and would take a lot of time, forcing us to lose an entire day. After receiving their feedback, I decided to cater to each personality by reserving spots on the Pirate Kinky Boat Cruise that offered a nightly show and dancing until 2 am that was included with the all-Inclusive hotel we were going to be staying at. There were places for you to sit and star gaze or watch the shoreline while the cruise sailed at night. For those of us that wanted to party there was an option of on-board unlimited tequila. The next morning, the excursion of everyone’s choice was ATV riding which at 1st felt like an extreme sport because the terrain was so muddy and rocky (try not to book excursions the day after partying all night and wear mosquito repellant). Next, we got to zipline through the amazing forest of Mexico. The scenery was breath taking. When looking below you could see the monkeys and variety of trees and flowers. To cool down after all of the extreme activities, we ended with a dip in a beautiful Cenote. The water was a pure blue almost like the color of the birthstone Blue Topaz. I even got to zipline into almost 100 ft of water! Talk about taking risk!! Another event that catered to the different personalities was the foam party being held at the pool. You had the option of joining in on the foam towards the front area of the pool, staying in the back area of the pool while enjoying a cocktail at the swim up bar or sunbathing with a book by the pool. There was even an area serving sushi within eye sight of the pool area in case anyone got hungry. Operation make everyone happy was a success.
- Select the hotel, Airbnb or hostel based on your expectations- Once I had all my answers, I roped in my friend Alex, who was just as pumped up as I was and we started searching sites namely travelzoo, expedia, orbits and hopper to get the best flights and a hotel that would meet everyone’s financial needs and limits. Based on the research I had conducted, I knew that an all-inclusive hotel with entertaining day activities and a booming nightclub was what we needed to set the trip off right. We selected Grand Oasis Sens-Adults Only; because what facilitates day drinking besides an adult only hotel!? I highly recommend researching travel forums and reading reviews on TripAdvisor before booking because this will give you an accurate description of what to expect as far as the services pros and cons. It also aids you in making a satisfying decision when booking your trip. If you are someone who is looking for quality service and relaxation during your trip then Gran Oasis Sens Adults Only may not meet all your needs. Besides the loud music you hear all night from your room, at this hotel the party does not stop.
- Create an invitation/Call to action- Once you have a tentative RSVP list, create an invitation for all your guest at least 3-6 months prior to your trip. Aim to include as much information as possible including but not limited to hotel cost, links to book the trip, what to bring, excursion cost and a complete itinerary so that invitees can feel secure and knowledgeable on what to expect while on your trip. In my invitation, I also had a packing list that invitees could use as a guide when prepping for the trip. I recommend using e-vites because it allows you to invite your guest online, create updates and send thank you cards after the event (not to mention its free). Additionally, they have numerous templates that you can customize to match the personality of your event. Mine for example was “Shanese’s Dirty 30”
- Create excitement via a group chat- Like any good party, marketing plays a factor in how successful your event will be. As the hostess/host, you want to create energy of free spiritedness, fun and positivity based on the vision that you have for your trip. I knew that I wanted all my girls to feel like this was a getaway to let go and have fun without any thoughts of work or daily stresses. Approximately 60 days prior to my girl’s trip getaway, I created a group chat to create excitement and to share the preparations for the trip. I used both Instagram and WhatsApp because these were the two apps that my group of friends used the most. Every day we would post funny memes, gifs and countdown timeline in the chat surrounding the trip. Everyone chimed in and posted how much fun they planned on having or any memes that reminded them of our upcoming getaway. These groups also allowed me to communicate with everyone in real time and to deepen our camaraderie. While on the trip, these chats once again came in handy because we would update each other on travel times, meal times, meet up spots, current locations and general what to take with you each day. I recommend using apps that use Wi-Fi to facilitate everyone’s cellular packages and to avoid carrier charges.
- Plan the Day to Day activities- There will be hiccups so remain flexible and open minded when creating your itinerary. My original itinerary goes as follows:
Day 1- All white welcome dinner at Moonlight restaurant and a Kinky Boat Cruise until 2am.
Day 2- Beach/Pool Day. Dinner at Maria until 11 pm.
Day 3- Excursion- ATV, Cenotes and Zip lining. Kinky Nightclub
Day 4-Day Foam Party, Kinky Nightclub
Day 5- Beach/Pool Day
Day 6: Breakfast, Departure
However, 48 hours before our departure due to thunderstorms, we ended up changing the excursion from Day 3 to Day 2. We had so much fun at the foam party that lasted from 1pm to 3pm that we continued with our own party down on the beach. There we met a local tour guide and booked an additional excursion for Day 5 which was totally unplanned. The additional excursion was a catamaran cruise to Isla Mujures and involved day drinking, snorkeling to see MUSA (underwater museum) and exploring Isla mujres by foot. I recommend snorkeling to MUSA if you enjoy snorkeling. The water was so vibrantly blue and underwater visibility was so clear that I could view, at leisure, all the beautiful corals and tropical fishes frolicking amongst the sculptures and reefs. I went snorkeling off Cozumel in Mexico last year and snorkeling off Isla Mujeres definitely trumps that! I recommend asking a lot of questions before booking last minute excursion with locals in any country. Some of my friends were not able to do the snorkeling activity because it required you to be a skilled swimmer. However, we still had an amazing time.
- Tokens of appreciation- One way to say thank you and personally my favorite way is via cards. I like cards because you can use them as keepsake for memories. I recommend personalizing them with stickers, quotes, stories or even pictures to make them extra special for your guests. I have a saying, after a night out, a bottle of water before bed and a bottle of water upon rising is the best way to starve off a hangover. I also included this tip in my thank you card as an inside joke because of how drunk we intended to get that weekend. I’m a fan of dollar general because they always have affordable but cute gifts. For each invitee, I got them a coffee with a lid that could be used on the trip and beyond as a keepsake. I combined the thank you cards, coffee cup and personalized t-shirts for our excursion as a thank you package and gave out at the welcome dinner. It was amazing watching everyone use them throughout the trip.
Out of all of the above experiences I can honestly say the best part of all this would be creating a trip with some nights I can’t remember (due to drinking lol) with people I will never forget. I hope these tips prove helpful to you when you plan your getaway. So, hurry and gather the people you love and escape to a place where you will never forget. Feel free to leave a comment below. Until next time, bon voyage!