Traveling With Your Homegirls
Guest post by Lorena Estrella
This story only appears in English. / Esta publicación solo aparece en inglés.
What are we doing today?
Do you have any euros left?
What type of cheese do you have?
Make that a double shot.
I have to pee...again…right now…
Do we have to go out tonight?
When are we eating?
Add that to the ledger!
Homegirls hold you down, lift you up, and if you’re lucky enough one day all the stars align and you get to travel together. Getting to see the world with your homegirls is a true gift and privilege and I am grateful to be part of a community of women that work, travel and love hard. The beauty of travel is that it allows you to get know yourself and your besties in new and deeper ways all while creating memories, experience new places and cultures, and sharing laughs and insta-worthy photos.
Looking back on a recent trip to La Havana, Cuba with my homies, I learned that like any good relationship, the recipe to a successful friends’ trip is simple and yet takes some practice and humility to master. Things like good communication, clear expectations, laughter, openness and some good old planning cannot be taken for granted. Things will get tense, you will get hungry, you will get tired, you might even get drunk, you will definitely get lost, your patience will be tested, you will have to pee (mad times) but most importantly, you have each other!
Here are five things I learned that I want to share to help you and your homegirls to make for carefree travels with open hearts. Plan to discuss and plan pre-travel and keep checking in throughout the experience to ensure a smooth and friendly trip.
Play to strengths.
- Knowing what you and homegirls are good at will help clear up who's doing what. Name those strengths for yourself and for each other and allow for new strengths to emerge. Ask: Who has a good sense of direction? Who likes talking to strangers? Who likes to negotiate? Who is going to remind the group to slow down? Who will keep you laughing when it’s tense?
Try on new things.
- Support each by sharing and rotating responsibilities. Challenge yourself to out a new skill. Volunteer to map out the walk, or talk to the driver. It’s a new country, step outside your comfort zone and know your girls got your back.
Plan ahead and be open.
- Having an itinerary whether full detailed or not will help ease anxieties about what’s next and what to expect. Set some time before and throughout the trip to discuss activities and options. Be clear and name where you are flexible and what your non-negotiables are and build from there.
- Pack snacks, seriously. Purchase them before you travel and have them handy for any hangry moments. Airport snacks are expensive and no one wants to split a $10 protein bar five ways. Talk about what times of day you eat, what you like to eat, can’t eat and communicate often about bodily needs.
Day & Night.
- In the planning process it’s easy to fill up the day with activities but make sure to discuss how’d you like to spend your nights. This will help you and the group manage your energy and expectations. Nightlife can look very different for everyone so make sure to check-in about what people like/dislike. Is it late-night dancing? Dive bars? Live music? Sleep? Movies? Listen to your body and do what feels right even if that means going to bed early on a vacation.
Special thanks to my homegirls who say yes to travel: Eve, Nastassia, Genesis, Chelsea. Here’s to many more adventures!
Lorena Estrella is a Dominican-American visual artist, crafty zinester, sister/friend/comadre, Jersey girl, lover of NYC summer nights, glass jars, breakfast all day, coffee, flowers, all things prints, bookmaking and more. She loves teaching and learning and believes deeply in the power of community to transform the world.