Has the girls’ trip come of age?

Has the girls’ trip come of age?

There’s nothing quite like waking up to the sound of a group of girls on holiday together. Laughter, dream synopses, anecdotes from the night before – it’s enough to rouse even the most sleep-deprived from a long-awaited lie-in.

It’s a feeling that came flooding back to me during a recent trip with eight thirty-something friends to Villa Demi in the Italian region of Umbria, where we spent a long weekend among the bucolic hills above Perugia. The night before, we had turned in early, declining a night out with a few old flames in favour of an evening spent chatting, savouring sausage pasta and dancing to Noughties throwbacks. In the morning, we woke up feeling fresh for a day of sightseeing and wine tasting – a far cry from the mornings after the bar-crawling nights of old.

Friends having a picnic in a vineyard on summer night

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Suddenly, the girls’ trip – something introduced to most of us as a post-education escape reserved for the young – felt like it was coming of age. Its enduring appeal might be behind the surprising effect women are currently having on the travel industry. Recent statistics show that 64 per cent of travellers worldwide are female, with travel companies dedicated to women-only clientele increasing by 230 per cent in 2023. This growth is having a commercial effect, and at the beginning of this year, it was estimated that $125 billion would be spent by women on travel in 2024 alone.

With many staying single for longer and having children later in life, there’s certainly no age cap on this type of getaway. Villa rental company Le Collectionist reports that among its ever-increasing women-only bookings, the average age of guests is 47. “Among the groups of women booking, there is an increasing interest in finding new, off-the-beaten-track destinations, away from the crowds,” says Le Collectionist. “These destinations allow them to escape from everyday life and reconnect with themselves – as well as each other.”

This gets to the heart of the great value of the girls’ trip: it’s an opportunity for unbridled friendship and bonding, specially carved out from often relentlessly busy schedules. They act as a prolonged version of the adult sleepover, a recent trend that has inspired more than a million #sleepover videos on TikTok, featuring women in their late 20s, 30s and beyond regularly gathering for nights at each other’s houses – often leaving their partners behind in the process. The trend reached utopian heights with the viral news story about New Ground, Britain’s first co-housing community created exclusively for women over 50 in a suburb of North London.

There’s nothing quite like waking up to the sound of a group of girls on holiday together. Laughter, dream synopses, anecdotes from the night before – it’s enough to rouse even the most sleep-deprived from a long-awaited lie-in. It’s a feeling that came flooding back to me during a recent trip with eight thirty-something friends…

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