The number of women going on holiday with their friends, rather their significant others, has seen a marked growth.
In the past six years, there has been a 230 per cent rise in the number of women-only travel companies – presumably prompted by consumer demand. The girls-only-getaway arena is a lucrative market, accounting for four per cent of all US travel spending (around Dhs734 million a year). More recently, a new study conducted by Harvard University found there to be significant heath benefits of social connections such as going on a break with friends. In August 2019, the revered institution said "social connections like these not only give us pleasure, they also influence our long-term health in ways every bit as powerful as adequate sleep, a good diet and not smoking.
"Dozens of studies have shown that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends and their community are happier, have fewer health problems and live longer”
There is a perception that the older we get, we shouldn't need to go on holiday with our female friends anymore – that those carefree times should be restricted to our teens and twenties. Trips away with friends tend to be replaced by couples' retreats and, then later, family breaks.
But it would seem that women are increasingly seeing the value of holidays with their pals. While trashy party travels spent in hostels getting horribly sunburnt might not seem as appealing as they once were, a good all-women holiday can be an enriching experience indeed because, frankly, female bonding doesn't age.
In fact, as many of us stay unmarried for longer, it comes as no surprise that our friends should become our primary life partners who are there to see us through the good and the bad – the ones who move us out of old homes, who lend an ear when we have a break-up or help us celebrate new jobs. There is no engagement or wedding to prove how fulfilling or vital these friendships are, so perhaps a holiday – your precious, rare time – is still the biggest form of recognition.
With that in mind, we make the case for the adult girls holiday. Here's why you should book one:
1. You'll strengthen your friendship
There is nothing like the intimacy of a week or weekend away with a friend to intensify your relationship. As we get older and the sleepovers and long nights out peter off, it's easy to fall into the habit of only seeing your friends in bitesize chunks – for dinner or drinks when you dedicate the majority of the evening to catching up on what you've been up to in the interim. But friendship is based on experiences, memories and the kind of chat that spans the silly, the deep and the frustrating. You won't cover all that with a few hours in the pub, but you will with a holiday away. It's all very well to reminisce, but you need more to fuel that friendship fire than that now-ancient time you danced on tables in your teenage years.
2. It's wildly freeing
There is nothing that feels more liberating than getting on a plane with a best friend or two and removing yourself from domesticity. It doesn't matter how happy your relationship is, spending quality time in an unfamiliar location, whether on a Sicilian beach or in a beautiful castle in Wales, makes us all feel younger – reminding us of the uninhibited joy of school and university. All there is to worry about is making sure you're wearing enough sun cream and where you're going for dinner that night.
3. You're more likely to meet new people
When you're with your friends, you're more open to chatting to new people, and that doesn't necessarily have to mean romantic potentials (although it could). Couples understandably tend to be more cocooned and less willing to meet anyone outside their bubble. In all-female company, you will do more – you'll see more of the nightlife because going out with your husband is not the same. There is a far greater chance you'll do things you didn't expect – whether driving mopeds through an island without a license to dancing until the sun comes up.
4. You will party more
While it's fulfilling to spend a day visiting local attractions, you've truthfully only seen half a city or a destination until you've experienced it by night. Places have different personalities under a cloak of darkness, and you're definitely more likely to make an effort to explore nightlife if you're with friends, rather than a husband. Days just last longer with your friends: where you might go for dinner and a drink with your husband before going back to the hotel, nights with girlfriends tend to go on later – whether you head to the clubs or just spend the evening talking about the universe over a lengthy dinner.
5. You'll remember why you became such good friends in the first place
In the same way that going on a romantic break can revitalise a relationship, going on holiday with friends can help you remember why you first became friends. You're seeing your closest pals at their most relaxed, away from the pressures of normal life. It's everyone's respite away from the daily grind, so you're more likely to be on good form.
6. You'll talk through each other's life problems
Women have an incomparable ability to talk about everything, but sometimes when we meet up for a quick catch-up, there isn't time to go through our deepest worries or problems, and definitely not how to solve them. With unlimited time on your hands, you can both work out how your friend is going to get out of that job she hates, or that niggling issue you have about your hubbie. There is time to be mutually, fully supportive.
7. You'll have a holiday song that will make you smile for ever
There will be that one song that you play over and over again, whether by the pool, on the dancefloor or in the car, and every time you hear it, it'll make you smile and remind you of why the main women in your life are as important as family.
From Harper's BAZAAR U.K