How to Plan & Host a Seamless Girl’s Trip in Your City

Your far-flung college girlfriends have decided to come visit. Yay! And it just so happens that you’ve been volunteered as the host and unofficial trip planner. For most of us, we feel overwhelmingly excited to see and catch up with our college besties, but for some of us in addition to that overwhelming excitement also comes overwhelming overwhelm.
 
 

What should we do? Where will we eat? How much is everything going to cost? Are just a few questions that came to my mind as my friends solidified their plans to come visit me for 3 days and 4 nights this summer. If you’re anything like me, you can live in a city for 2 years and not feel well versed enough in things to do and places to go see, especially in New York City.

 

Today I’m here to share with you what I did in order to plan a seamless girl’s trip with 2 of my college besties that was full of fun, entertainment, and also efficient.

unsplash-nyc-empire-state-building-view

Ask Your Friends for a List of Must-Do’s & Nice To Do’s

What’s the purpose of your girl’s trip? Are you trying to site see, rejuvenate, be entertained, etc.? Ask your friends what they want to do! Figure out what the main purpose of the trip is, and ask them to share 2-3 “Must Do’s” and “Nice to Do’s” for the trip.
 
See what Must-Do’s are most wanted that can fit into the timeframe that you have. My 2 girlfriends sent me a combined “Must Do” list (they’re roommates), and they wanted to see the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial, the Today Show, Carlo’s Bakery, and they wanted to have New York City pizza. Some of their “Nice to Do’s” included going to a Broadway show, visiting a museum, and walking through Central Park. We scratched going to see a show simply for budgetary reasons, and I decided to take them on a tour of The Highline instead of visiting Central Park. They had never heard of The Highline but were really happy we went there because it has the most amazing views.
 
One of my favorite ways to show off my city it to take my friends to some of my favorite restaurant and local spots. Remember, they most likely have no idea where to go to eat that’s not touristy, so I give them a sneak peek into my life through our tummies. Eat at that hole in the wall Mexican restaurant with the BEST frozen margaritas that you’ve ever had in your life, and take them to that hidden city overlook that only locals enjoy (we won’t tell!). I personally swear by Magnolia Bakery’s vanilla bean cheesecake compared to Junior’s famous one, so you bet I took my girl’s there (okay, we went to both places, but I was always advocating for Magnolia’s).
 
Navigate to your Google Calendar and click the down arrow next to Calendars then click "Create new calendar" and give it a name like "Trips" or "Visitors", for example.
Navigate to your Google Calendar and click the down arrow next to Calendars then click “Create new calendar” and name it “Trips/Visitors/Vacation/etc.”

Create a New Google Calendar for Trips

One of the best, most helpful strategies I can tell you to do for making your visitor’s trip go smoothly is to add a “Visitors & Trips” calendar to your Gmail calendar. Before, I was trying to build out the trip itinerary within my personal calendar, and it was just way too crowded with deadlines, bills, events, etc. So I decided to make a brand new calendar for visitors and trips and to keep a record on my trip itineraries living there. If you’d like, you can even share your friends on the calendar temporarily while trip planning.
 
 
Color-coded activities: yellow = downtime, green = activity, red = commuting

Color-Code Your Time

Use 3 colors to categorize your time each day: one color for commuting, another color for activities, and a final color for downtime. Having 3 distinct colors will help you visualize how you’re spending each day of the trip. Personally, I used red for commuting, green for engaging activities, and yellow for downtime.

I found it so helpful to see the flow of each day and how one day could be jam-packed with engaging activities compared to others. If that’s the case, your visitors may feel wiped out and want to turn in early that night or consider rearranging your itinerary to make the days more evened out with activities.
 
Use Google Maps to map out and add multiple destinations for directions
Use Google Maps to map out and add multiple destinations for directions

Be E-F-F-I-C-I-E-N-T

Who wants to spend all day commuting back and forth to places scattered all over the city? No one. Unless you’re playing one of those city scavenger hunts, then that’s perfectly acceptable. Seriously, though, be smart when planning your trip itinerary and do activities in clusters or neighborhoods.
 
When my two girlfriends friends came to visit me last month, the first day we spent hours hanging out in downtown Manhattan. Our day began by going straight to South Ferry station and taking the Staten Island Ferry to see the State of Liberty. After the ferry ride was over, we walked our way up Broadway, seeing the Charging Bull and Trinity Church before stopping at the 9/11 Memorial. Feeling hungry, we walked half a mile over to Battery Park’s Shake Shack and indulged in a mouth-watering Shack burger and fries. We visited 2 items on their “Must Do” list within a couple hours and didn’t waste any time going back and forth on the subway.
 
 

Pack Snacks

While we’re on the subject of food, pack some snacks and waters for your daily adventures! Nothing’s worse than hanger, and it can strike at any hour of the day. Plus it can be crazy expensive to buy snacks while sightseeing and running around the city, so just pack enough waters and snacks (nuts, fruits, & granolas are all great options) for everyone and don’t think twice about the terrible h-word.

Overplan

There, I said it. It’s funny how when I go somewhere, I can have a few things in mind that I want to do but no set schedule, but when I have company coming in, full planning beast-mode comes out. It’s definitely a personal preference, but I’d much rather have to cut something out of the plans than be wondering what to do with an unexpected hour or two of time on our hands. Of course, plans are flexible and often change, anyway, I just have a better piece of mind when the day is planned out to a T.
 
For this particular friends trip, I planned a full day of soaking of the rays on the Jersey Shore. We spent about 4 hours out in the sun with an hour and a half commute each way. Knowing this beforehand, I figured that my besties would be tired afterward, so I scheduled 2-3 hours after we got home to relax, shower, and freshen’ up. I really wanted to take them to one of my favorite brick oven pizza parlors, so I scheduled that for the night, however, if they decided that they were too tired to go out for dinner, guess what? My fave pizza place delivers, and I had Netflix on standby. #score
 
Turns out, they were up to going, and we went and had some of the most delicious pizza in the game. Pears, gorgonzola, mozzarella, and prosciutto anyone?! AND this place is BYOB. You best believe that we brought and finished a 2014 Apothic California White Winemaker’s blend that I was trying out. It’s a mix of Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Grigio with a not-too-strong vibrant, fruity flavor. I highly recommend picking up some if you’re a vino lover like me!
 
 
And there you have it! Make a list, create a new calendar, color-code your time, be efficient, OVERPLAN, and carry snacks when venturing about. Whichever activities you plan to do, you and your visitors will enjoy them so much more when you are prepared, and it’s seamless getting there! What are some tips that you have for planning and hosting an awesome trip with friends? Share in the comments below.