The option for a romantic weekend away is not available these days so I have turned to embracing weekends with the next best thing; The girls.

I am getting pretty good at these and I have to admit that sometimes I think I may be having a lot more fun than I did on those romantic weekends.

Don’t get me wrong.  I loved all the romantic getaways that I got with my husband. We just had a different kind of fun than I get with my girl friends.

So, how to have a great girls weekend? Pack your bag and smile. Here are some fun guidelines that have been working for me.

Pick fun friends  I am very fortunate in that I have some fun friends who don’t mind, too much, leaving their families for the weekend. Everyone can keep in touch with loved ones by using cell phones, so they are really never that far away.

I usually go away with only one or two friends at a time. Big groups can be fun too but it’s better if things are planned in advance, like yoga classes and meals for larger groups.  Either way, just get your mind in the right frame that no matter what happens, you are ready for an adventure.

Go Somewhere   Right.  It is not really a weekend away unless you go somewhere.  Anywhere.  A beach town.  A ski town.  A city.  A spa.  Think about at least one thing you would like to do at that destination.  You may want to make a reservation for a massage or buy lift tickets for skiing.  Maybe tickets to a show or a concert.

It is nice to have one thing planned to do at the place you are headed.  Once you arrive, you will be able to find out about more activities available to you and can go with the flow.

Be flexible Some people love to eat out and want to try good food when they are away.  Others may prefer to incorporate some exercise.  Shopping is a good diversion and fun to do with girlfriends.  It may not be what you want to do, but try it and make it part of the experience.

And bring plenty of wine.  Everyone is more flexible after a glass of wine.

Try something different  In the comfort of your friends, try some new foods or drinks, rent the bicycle for the day, swim with a seal, sing Karaoke, dance, watch hockey in your spa robe at the bar, climb on a statue, pick up alligators, wear a wig, get a tattoo...Yes, I have done all of these and I can still laugh with my friends about it today and probably still next year.

You will wonder whose idea it was and chuckle that it happened.

Laugh That is the best part about being with friends.  There will be silly things that happen and your belly will hurt when you think about it. You would think that the spa would be so relaxing and restful, but some of our funniest stories are from retelling events.

There was the masseuse who looked like Fabio and had us drooling, the massage therapist whose stomach kept growling and the one who farted.  There was the time the famous celebrity walked into the hot tub naked while we sat in our bathing suits trying hard not too look. Then there was the time security had to come knock on our door and speak to our book club because we were laughing too loud.

Take time for you You may be having so much fun with your friends that you realize you are exhausted.  Use the time you are away from home to get grounded with yourself. Time to reflect on what you appreciate in life, a prayer of gratitude, is important on your time off.

As a widow, just because I go away with friends for the weekend, it doesn’t mean that my sadness has gone away.  Sometimes it visits even when uninvited.  I just let those moments wash over me now and refocus on good thoughts of times I did have with my husband.  It’s important to keep those happy memories close by for when you need to grab onto them.

I can not recommend the girl’s getaway weekend enough.  I love to travel solo.  I love to travel with family.  I love group travel and I really love girl’s weekends.  Do you have any suggestions for good places to go with friends?

Climbing statues
watching Hockey playoffs in our spa robes
Riding bikes UP the big hill in Montauk
My seal friend in the Keys
Alligator baby in the Everglades