They say your friends are the family you choose and if that’s the case, I’m more than happy to take all the credit for the family I’ve built around me and in particular, the girls I’ve welcomed into my life. My female friendships have always held a special place in my heart. Good girlfriends will see us at our best and worst, will laugh and cry with us, will reserve judgement, will try to understand our different brands of crazy and ultimately always want us to be happy.

I also believe you’re never too old to make a new friend. I love meeting people from all walks of life as I don’t believe you necessarily need to have similar interests and backgrounds to become friends (although that certainly helps with opening conversations). All the girls I consider friends are very different but special in their own unique way and I feel fortunate to have them in my life.

This past month, I have been lucky enough to have had two girlfriend getaways. The first was to beautiful Barcelona with three of my nearest and dearest. The second, a sailing adventure in Croatia with my sister (who I’m fortunate enough to count as one of my best friends), as well as some of my fellow Travelettes, brought together for the first time. Before both trips, I did wonder to myself – would we get underneath each other’s feet? Would we end up bickering ‘family style’ where the only thing that stops you rolling them up in a carpet and dumping them in the nearest river is watching the latest episode of CSI? Is there really such a thing as cabin fever?

Happily, I found both of these trips to be inspiring, rejuvenating and, though testing at times, absolutely bucket-loads of fun and incredibly bonding experiences I shall never forget. This was undeniably down to the girls I traveled with. So, here’s to girlfriends old and new. After all ladies, who run the world?

1)  I love the support

A major concern for at least two of us Travelettes was that we have been known to suffer from seasickness and one afternoon of lurching across the choppy Adriatic left a few of us feeling a little queasy and fragile. Luckily, the girls sprang into action to share the love via the form of a cocktail of drugs (aka seasick meds), salty snacks and moral support.

Later that night, my sister and I had to abandon ship due to the rocking which suddenly transformed our cosy cabin into a suffocating coffin. Both of us were intensely appreciative of the other as we roamed the streets in the dead of night before finally being rescued by the kindness of the local Croatian people. If you ever find yourself on the beautiful, picturesque island town of Komiža, stop for a drink at the Corto Maltese bar – the owner went out of his way to find us a bed for the night and saved us sleeping on the beach.

Girls are also able to help a sista out by lending razors, hair brushes and the myriad of other female essentials that vary from person to person but keep you from feeling like Caliban the wild hermit from the Tempest. Even going to the toilet, another girl usually decides to come along for chats. Believe me, you can meet some great girls in the toilet queue.

2)  I love that we bring out each others’ fun sides.

Or wild sides some may say. Turns out cabin fever really is a thing when you drop five Travelettes into a yacht cut off from the outside world and throw in one male, Croatian skipper. Especially when said skipper is professional, respectful and occasionally takes his shirt off. At the start of the week we were all polite young ladies getting to know each other, two days later we’re dancing on the roof of a yacht, heckling the poor guy while he’s trying to take a quick outdoor shower at the marina and testing his push up skills out on deck (“Drop and give me forty!”) A similar haze dropped when we stopped for a walking break at the outdoor gym on Barceloneta beach.

We all confessed we had previously worried about keeping up with the many parties Croatia had in store but turns out we all energised each other and by the end of the week we weren’t only ‘making a party’ as our skipper charmingly called it but making THE party.

3) I love that we meet more people.

This is just basic maths – multiply your potential at meeting new, interesting people by however many girls you’re travelling with. And you’ll attract both girls and guys – a different experience to travelling as part of a couple where people tend to be a bit more sensitive to the notion you might prefer some quality, romantic time together. Plus it takes the pressure off of meeting new people, you can bounce off each other, sometimes taking the lead or sometimes sitting back and letting your friend be the chattier one. Also, should you experience any drunken, unwanted attention, your girls have got your back and can sweep you away.

4) I love that we can talk about anything.

It’s good to talk and female bonding can often be no holds barred. Travel experiences, life experiences, relationships – one disclosure can lead to another on those balmy Barcelona nights over a few mojitos or bottles of cava. Not only does this kind of bonding bring you closer together but it can also be uplifting and inspiring. You know that sneaky feeling of insecurity or that confidence crisis that occasionally lifts its ugly head? Well, I’ve learned even the strongest, smartest, coolest women get that… chatting it out with the girls never fails to make me feel better and stronger.

5)  I love that any time can be cocktail time.

Nobody appreciates a good cocktail as much as my girlfriends. I love that they understand when all I’m craving for brunch is a Bloody Mary or I make the executive decision that gin o’clock, when out of my own time zone, is any o’clock. I love that we all go for different drinks too so you get to try out each others. Besides, the discovery of little treasures such as a hidden tapas bar that sells bargain glasses of cava is surely worth celebrating with a little sample, right?

6)  I love that they understand that sometimes a really decadent feed is all you are dreaming of.

After two days at sea, a yacht party and an afternoon of rough waters, we were in desperate need of some culinary comfort. Pizzeria Charly, right by the waterside on Komiža, was the answer to all our prayers. Delicious pizza, friendly staff, red wine and heaven-sent gelato in a whole rainbow of different flavours most definitely put the world to rights that night. And girlfriends usually understand the phrase ‘I’m not even hungry anymore but it’s so good I just… can’t… stop’.

7)  I love that they encourage me to push myself.

Compromise is an essential on any trip but now and again, there’s something to be said for pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Sometimes it’s just a small step – I’m not the most confident swimmer even though I love the water … However, there was no way I was missing out on the party going on out there and by mid-afternoon, I was out in the middle spraying champagne with the best of them. Sometimes it’s a new activity – when I was younger and went away with a girlfriend to Indonesia, I never would have tried surfing if we hadn’t each been spurring the other on, never have enjoyed those fun afternoons in the sea and the sun. Sometimes it’s a new place I’d never have thought of going – Croatia had never even blipped my radar but now I can’t wait to go back and explore more.

Often if you’re not crazy about the idea initially, a little bit of encouragement can be the key to opening up to something amazing. You never know what you might enjoy when the time and the company is right.

8)  I love that they have the perfect playlist for everything.

Rock and roll is always great for watching the world go by on a long bus trip. Reggae is just so perfect for lounging in the sun. Hip hop is unbeatable for drinking on a yacht. And who knew sailing the Adriatic would go so well with a bit of disco? Plus, sometimes you just want to turn up the volume on No Scrubs and feel no shame in knowing all the words.

9)  I love that I can be myself.

That’s when you know you’ve found the good ones, those girls that you can just relax with and be yourself around. It’s not an effort to keep the conversation flowing, you’re happy to share a silence that isn’t awkward and without even having to say so, you know you’re a team. Sure, nobody’s perfect… we all get tired and moody and hormonal at times. We all have those days when we feel bloated or grumpy or out of sorts. And on those days I’m comforted to know I can hide behind some big sunglasses, tell everyone I’m not on top form and relax in the knowledge that they just ‘get it’.


So, this post is dedicated to all the girls (and boys!) that love to share their travels with girls – whether those they bring with them or those they meet on the road.

Alex Saint is a writer based in Bristol, England – a place she calls home due to its friendly, diverse atmosphere and never-ending list of fun things to do. She loves tattoos, quirky fashion, pugs and, of course, travelling.

Keep up with the Saint sisters and their adventures in Bristol, London and beyond at and @saintsonaplane or Alex herself @alexsaint13