“I hope it’s not over yet,” whispered my daughter Kelsey during a mother-daughter spa experience in California. I have to admit; I was thinking the same thing.
There’s nothing quite like a day at the spa to help you feel relaxed, rejuvenated, and pampered. And while I was certain that pampering would not improve my youngest child’s case of “princess syndrome,” I knew that a day at the spa would be a good opportunity to spend quality time together while sharing new and exciting experiences.
Women-only trips and “girlfriends’ getaways” are more popular than ever and many women are choosing their daughters, mothers, aunts, or even grandmothers as their travel partners. A girls’ getaway can be the perfect way to celebrate a daughter’s college graduation, a mother’s milestone birthday, an aunt’s divorce, or any life-altering occasion.
Travelling with women of differing ages gives you the advantage of getting different perspectives on the place you are visiting, but the best part of this type of travel is that it lets you create some amazing memories with the women who play such a big role in your life.
Relationships are shaped by the experiences you share and sometimes you have to step out of the familiarity of everyday life into uncharted territory to find real bonding moments. If you are thinking about planning a trip with the most important women in your life for the sake of girls-only bonding, here are a few tips to help make sure your girls-only getaway is a success.
Choose the Right Trip
Choosing a destination that suits the interests of all travellers can be a challenge when it comes to organizing any group trip, but that’s not the only decision to be made. After you have selected a destination you still have to decide whether you want an all-inclusive holiday, an organized touring vacation, a cruise, or an independent type of journey.
For some families, an organized tour, cruise or vacation package works best, because it makes planning easier and allows interaction with other people of various ages. Having other travellers around can also help diffuse tensions that might otherwise arise. This isn’t true for all travellers though. If you don’t enjoy sticking to a strict schedule and want more time just to focus on each other, an independent trip may be more suitable for your needs.
Before you book anything, make sure you discuss budgets, what type of hotels and level of comfort you want and can afford, what you are willing to splurge on, and what your everyday needs are. Be sure to talk about must-see sites for each person. Try to make reasonable compromises. If one person usually travels in five-star hotels and the other is used to inexpensive hostels, perhaps you can compromise with a small inn that offers some of the comforts of a five-star hotel, but is a little less costly. Whatever you decide, communicating beforehand will help prevent unpleasant surprises from popping up later.
Plan Alone Time
Just because you are travelling together doesn’t mean you have to spend every moment together. People of different ages often have different interests and stamina levels. It’s good to plan some separate activities and even plan for some alone time right from the outset. There’s nothing wrong with one person relaxing by the pool while the other is out enjoying an action-packed day.
Agree on Money Issues in Advance
Money can be the sore spot in an otherwise perfect vacation. It’s best to agree on budget levels for restaurants and hotels beforehand. Many women like to establish a group kitty to pay all shared restaurant and taxi bills — with each person contributing an equal amount to the fund. When the kitty runs out, each person antes up again.
Other travellers like the convenience of an all-inclusive vacation, because they know what the total costs will be from the outset and they won’t have concerns about money issues while travelling. Whatever you decide to do with regard to handling money, make sure to plan in advance, so that you won’t ruin your newly-strengthened relationships by fighting over reimbursements.
Attitude is Everything
Enjoy the journey! If you decide before you leave that you are going to have a good time, you will. Choose to be positive and to look for the good in the people you meet, the places you visit and the woman or women you are travelling with. This is good advice — whether you travel across the world together or across the city.
Mother-Daughter Day Trips in Central Alberta
Sometimes the best vacations are right in your own backyard. A mother-daughter daytrip won’t cost you a lot of time or money and can be a great chance to strengthen family bonds. Here are a few suggestions for mother daughter day trips that are close to home.
The Pampered Life
Moms and daughters like to be pampered, but each person has their own idea about the best way to be pampered. Whether you visit the steam baths in Red Deer or Sylvan Lake or enjoy a visit to a day spa for manicures and pedicures, you’re sure to come home a little more relaxed.
• Totally Refreshed Steam and Spa, Red Deer (www.totallyrefreshedsteamandspa.com)
• Inner Radiance Day Spa, Red Deer (www.inner-radiance.com)
• Sylvan Steam and Spa, Sylvan Lake (403-887-2413)
Experimenting with a new hobby or craft can be a lot of fun and something you can share all of your lives together. It’s a good idea to start small with a single evening event or class.
• Hot Pot Studio, Red Deer (www.hotpotstudio.com)
• The Crafty Lady, Lacombe (www.craftylady.ca)
Quirky Travel Spots
If you are looking for something memorable and unique to do with your time, consider a visit to one of central Alberta’s quirky little attractions.
• World Famous Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington (403-631-2133)
• Sundre Museum, Sundre (museum.sundre.com)
• RCMP Police Dog Service Training Centre, Innisfail (www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/fs-fd/dog-chien-eng.htm)
Find a Trail
Central Alberta has great trails, beautiful parks, and excellent recreational opportunities. Exploring the trails on foot or on your bicycle helps you to become physically fit. It’s also a good way to see and learn about the flora and fauna of this area and best of all it doesn’t cost anything.
• City of Red Deer Trails Map (www.tourismreddeer.net/images/documents/TrailsMap.pdf)
• Central Alberta Regional Trails Society (http://www.centralalbertatrails.org)
Debbie Olsen is a Lacombe-based freelance writer. If you have a travel story you would like to share or know someone with an interesting travel story that we might interview, please email: DOGO@telusplanet.net or write to: Debbie Olsen, c/o Red Deer Advocate, 2950 Bremner Ave., Red Deer, Alta., T4R 1M9.