Sunday, May 31, 2009

Great Group Getaway Ideas

So maybe you can't do an "all girl getaway" this year, but you still want to travel with a group. Here are a few ideas of great group getaways that you may want to check out:

Surf Camp
I have always wanted to learn to surf, so a surf camp sounds like a fantastic group getaway. Many camps cater to your group, whether you are adults, women-only, families, or looking for a team building adventure. In addition, some camps also teach about ecology, the environment and ocean safety, so I say “surf’s up.” Places to check out include Costa Rica, Panama, California and North Carolina.

Some friends went to Africa last year for a hunting and sightseeing safari. The two couples reported on an amazing trip and have some spectacular photos to share. Truly a trip of a lifetime for many of us, an African safari makes for a terrific group getaway because you can split many of the shared costs. Don’t overlook this as a group getaway.

Dude Ranch
We all remember the fun Billy Crystal and his friends had in the movie “City Slickers”, and a great group getaway is vacation to a dude ranch. Not just riding horses and rounding up cattle, dude ranches also provide other outdoor activities, such as hay rides, whitewater rafting, fishing and birding.

Not just for men anymore, sportfishing is gathering quite a following with women. In Florida, there are several all-women fishing tournaments, which mean this is quickly becoming a more popular getaway for mixed groups. You’ll find fabulous sportfishing in the Bahamas, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama, and, of course, Florida.

Most people think of Vegas when they think gambling, but there are many other great getaway destinations that include casinos. Places like Atlantic City, Lake Tahoe, Puerto Rico, Hard Rock Casinos (Tampa and Ft. Lauderdale), the Bahamas, and of course, Vegas. So, if your group is “feeling lucky,” chances are you may want to roll the dice and consider a gambling-themed getaway.

Last but certainly not least is a group cruise getaway. Cruises are a terrific way for a group of people to vacation together, but still have the space and opportunity to do their own things with site excursions and on-board activities galore. It is also a great way to see some wonderful places, such as Alaska, Europe and the Caribbean.

Music Getaways
There are so many great places to enjoy music, and it is fun to sightseeing while you enjoy some fabulous tunes. Examples include Jazz in Chicago, Blues in Memphis, Classical in Boston, Latin in Miami, Broadway shows in NYC, Live music in Austin and country in Nashville. Combine your love of music and any of these wonderful cities and your group will have a blast!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Spectacular Spa Vacation Deals

Looking for an amazing spa vacation deal to help you getaway and Leave Your Baggage at Home®? Check out these fantastic deals we found!

Twice As Nice, Half the Price in Austin, TX
Voted the #1 Destination Spa in North America by Conde Nast Traveler, the Lake Austin Spa Resort in Austin, TX is offering an amazing spa vacation deal. Book a two-night stay for two and the second person pays half! Offer must be booked by May 31, but is valid for travel through December 31, 2009 on Resort or Spa Refresher packages in premier accommodations. Don’t miss this opportunity to check out this renowned resort and spa nestled on 19 lakefront acres and offering 40 lakeside guest rooms. Now is a great time to visit for relaxation, fitness and discovery programs. For more information, please visit

Reduce Your Stress in Arizona
Miraval is a luxury destination spa and resort located on 400 acres at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains in Arizona. The property is designed to create an intimate environment that nurtures every guest. More than 110 signature experiences are available and include activities such as the Aqua Zen massage, 25-foot Quantum Leap and a desert photography class. Private casita-style rooms and suites are filled with premier amenities for the ultimate in comfort and relaxation. Miraval currently offers their “Authentic Remedy Vacation Package,” which (for $399/night) includes:
*Three gourmet meals per day
*Complimentary spa treatment (or a round of golf)
*Full use of resort activities
*Complimentary transportation to and from Tucson Int’l Airport
For more details, visit

Mind, Body, & Spirit Nourishment in North Carolina
Not just for golf, Pinehurst Resort has “teed” up an amazing spa vacation package. For just $335 per person per night, Pinehurst Resort is offering the Pinehurst Spa Summer Escape, which includes:
·Overnight accommodations at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina
·Two, 50-minute spa treatments of choice (i.e. Magnolia Luxury Facial, Mint Julep Wrap, Holly Berry Back and Foot Treatment, or Carolina Peach Nourisher)
·All day tranquility area access to the Spa at Pinehurst – including steam, sauna, whirlpool, lap pool and cascade whirlpool areas.
The resort is located between Charlotte and Raleigh. Visit for more details. Offer valid May 31 – Sep. 8, 2009.

Lodge Luxury in Pennsylvania’s Lake Region
Located just 90-minutes outside of NYC, The Lodge at Woodloch was voted one of the “10 Most Luxurious Spas in the U.S.” by The Lodge features a 40,000-square-foot spa with 27 treatment rooms, and hosts over 120 weekly programs spanning fitness, creative discovery, culinary, outdoor adventure and inspirational guest lectures.
The Lodge has recently introduced the following Credit Bonus:
·Through May 31, The Lodge is offering a booking bonus of $50 per person per night for mid-week stays, to be used for spa treatments, alcoholic beverages, boutique purchases, personal training sessions and more.
In addition, The Lodge is currently offering a few special promotions—these all-inclusive rates include luxury room accommodations, three gourmet meals per day, all fitness classes and outdoor excursions, kayaking and instruction, cooking demonstrations, and evening programs:
· Mid-week Magic—Guests can stay mid-week in the Veranda Deluxe accommodations through July 9, 2009 with rates starting from $299 per person, double occupancy and $399 per person, single occupancy.
·Weekend Renewal—Weekend rates now start at $380 per person, double occupancy and $480 per person, single occupancy.
For more information, visit

Monday, May 25, 2009

Girls Getaway to St Petersburg Beach

Ali and I took a quick getaway to St Petersburg Beach over the Memorial Day weekend. We ended up in Pass-A-Grille, a small beachside community in the area. We arrived on Saturday in time for lunch at The Brass Monkey. With a view of the ocean, we dined upstairs on the outdoor deck. After my delicious entree of Monkey Balls (crab cakes), we made our way to the beach to soak up some sun.
Once we retuned to downtown St Pete, we ate dinner at Red Mesa Cantina. With a pitcher of white sangria, we tried the assortment of tacos. I loved the Ahi Tuna Taco! We then hung out upstairs at Push, which has three levels (one hang out bar, one nightclub and one rooftop bar area).
Sunday was another beach day. After some more R&R, we grabbed a late lunch at The Wharf where I inhaled my one dozen raw oysters and some much-needed water. With our energy drained from the sun, we said our goodbyes and headed home.
It just goes to show that even a quick girls getaway is often just what we need to "Leave Your Baggage at Home® and help us unwind.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

AirTran Airways Announces Wi-Fi Service on Every Flight

Orlando-based AirTran Airways recently announced its plans to be the first major airline to offer wireless, broadband Internet service to passengers on every flight by mid-summer.

AirTran is hoping the service will enhance productivity for business travelers and will entice leisure travelers who can check e-mail, shop online and surf the Web.

In a written release announcing the new service, Bob Fornaro, the airline's chairman, president and chief executive officer, said he expects having Wi-Fi on every flight will give AirTran "a distinct competitive advantage over other airlines."

Source: Sara K. Clarke, Orlando Sentinel

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

United Airlines Hikes Luggage Fees

United Airlines is adding an extra $5 charge for travellers who pay their baggage fee at the airport instead of online. The move matches a change announced by US Airways last month.
Travellers have generally paid $15 to check their first bag on United and $25 for the second bag. But for tickets bought after Thursday for travel beginning June 10, they’ll pay $5 more to settle those charges at the airport rather than on United’s Web site.

As per the information available, United, a unit of Chicago-based UAL Corp., collected $259 million in add-on fees like baggage charges during the first quarter. Phoenix-based US Airways, a code-share partner of United's and a fellow member in the Star Alliance, plans to roll out the higher fees from July 9.

The 21 largest U.S. carriers generated $1.2 billion in baggage fees in 2008, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Source: Eye for Travel

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Memorial Day Travel Deals

This year, more than 32 million people are expected to travel for Memorial Day weekend. Are you one of them? If you don't have travel plans yet, it is not too late. In fact, here are some amazing deals for anyone looking for a special Memorial Day getaway!

Stay & Play at The Broadmoor
Colorado Springs, CO
May 21 - 29, 2009

·Accommodations for one night
·One hour bicycle & paddle boat rental each day for each person on the package
·Complimentary access to The Broadmoor movie theater
·50% discount off of the adult ticket price at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
·Kids stay and eat free
·30% discounts off of published Suite rates

Package prices starting at $115 per person, based on double occupancy. Limited availability for select dates May 21 - 29, 2009. Not applicable to groups. Rates do not include applicable taxes and fees. Kids 10 & under stay and eat free from the children's menu when accompanied by a paying adult (excludes Sunday brunch). For more details, visit

Take It Easy in the Big Easy
New Orleans, LA
Through Sept. 30

·50% off travel through Sept. 30
·Only blackout dates are July 3-4
·Enjoy hotel options near the French Quarter:
oThe Ambassador Hotel ($55/night)
o Queen & Crescent Hotel ($49/night)
o Royal St. Charles Hotel (25% off regular rates)

Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa
Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Through June 7

· Stay in a 4-star beachfront resort for $99/night
· Offer available for a Bungalow Tropical Room; upgrade to oceanview room for $30 more

Located beachfront on a private bay in Guanacaste, the resort features 2 restaurants/bars, 2 swimming pools, on-site spa, fitness center & tennis court. Advance purchase rates are non-refundable; 2-night minimum stay required. For more details, visit

Monday, May 18, 2009

Balloons & Beyond Took Us Up, Up & Away!

Sunday morning was an early one. We woke up at 5:30 a.m. to meet the hot air ballooners at 6:00 a.m. (not an easy thing to do after staying up until 1:00 a.m.). Leah, Heather N., Colleen L. and I all woke up before the sun and met with Bob Carlton with Balloons and Beyond ( for our morning hot air balloon ride. We were lucky enough to launch from the ranch after finding a pasture that had “less cow patties than the others.” We were so excited to watch the balloon unroll across the field and then begin to fill with air. After a quick “crash course,” Bob told us to jump in and up, up, up and away we went! We soared over cows, lakes, neighborhoods and orange groves for about an hour. Bob even dipped us into the trees for some “leaf identification.” Heather preferred we stay above the trees and jokingly asked if we could go through the Starbucks drive through in the balloon. It was amazing to see the alligators, turtles and fish in the lake we flew over. As we safely landed a few miles away, we were now fully awake and ready for our celebratory feast of mimosas, fresh fruit, cheese and pastry. Many thanks to Bob Carlton, Steve Roberts and “Super Dave” for make our flight unforgettable!

After our hot air balloon ride, we returned to the lodge to eat breakfast and pack up. Everyone agreed it was a fantastic weekend and cannot wait for our 2nd Annual Girls Ranch Getaway next year.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Wild Boar & Alligators & Deer (Oh My!)

Around 6:00 PM, the adventurous girls boarded the swamp buggy once again to practice our rifle shooting skills. Colleen L., Amy and I all shot a 30 ot 6 rifle from about 120 yards away. Colleen L. was closest to the bulls eye and gave us all something to “shoot” for (no pun intended).
After target practice, we returned to the lodge for dinner, which included beef tenderloin, shrimp kabobs, friend green beans and Tallahassee rice. Delish! Afterwards, we loaded back onto the swamp buggy for a midnight ranch tour, complete with spotlight and Jason with Arbuckle Marsh Outfitters ( as our tour guide/entertainer. Thanks to my phenomenal spotlight skills, we saw several deer, wild boar hogs and an alligator (no animals were harmed). While I was focused on what was in front of us, Colleen T. cuddled with her very own bottle of Barefoot Bubbly Champagne and managed to drink the entire bottle during our trip. She and Jason provided a lot of entertainment and our cheeks hurt from laughing so much.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Quail Etouffee, Swamp Buggy Tour, Barefoot Wine

Put on your cowgirl hat, boots and jeans! We are ready for a fabulous Girls Ranch Getaway! The girls were excited to arrive at Rafter T Ranch, located in Sebring, FL, for an all-girl, ranch-style getaway. Everyone arrived by early evening (also known as “supper time”) to meet new friends and visit with old friends. After some wine and pomegranate martinis, we enjoyed a delicious dinner of Quail Etouffee. During dinner, we told funny stories, asked Leigh is she preferred a “bull or a bowl,” learned that words like “moist” and “creamy” are undesirable, and got a full re-cap of Jody’s bikini contest days.

Saturday morning we woke up for a Swamp Buggy Tour of the ranch, complete with “Bloody Jeri’s.” The swamp buggy’s tires were taller than us, so we were thrilled to find a special “loading dock” for Traci who is six months pregnant. During the tour, we learned about the cattle raised here and how they mange the ranch to work with nature and not against it. Once the buggy ride was over, we returned to the lodge to begin cooking lunch using recipes and wine from Barefoot Wines ( We enjoyed BBQ Chicken Ala Moscato, Chardonnay Vegetarian Spanish Rice, Barefoot Bubbly Champagne Vinaigrette Dressing and Moscato Wine Cake.

After lunch, Barefoot Wine’s own Lisa Metheny taught us everything we know (now at least) about wine flavorings and food pairings. Even Sharla (who doesn’t like wine at all) tasted the wines and had a great time learning new things. Who knew oak smells like vanilla? Many thanks to Lisa for driving more than two hours to be with us and for sharing her wonderful wisdom with the group. She was a fantastic, even though she used the word “moist” more than once!

After lunch and wine, we were ready for a little R&R. Some of the girls enjoyed professional massages in a private room, some hung out on the back porch and read books and magazines, some visited with new and old friend and some used their time to photograph and enjoy nature. We all enjoyed some “down time.”

Friday, May 15, 2009

Home on the Range! Girls Ranch Getaway!

Saddle up partner and get ready for our Girls Ranch Getaway! Join us as we spend the weekend on a 5,200-acre working cattle ranch in Central Florida. Glamping (Glamour Camping) is the way to go at the Rafter T Ranch! Lisa Metheny with Barefoot Wines ( will teach us how to "Bare It All" when it comes to food and wine pairings. Sunday morning includes a hot air balloon ride ( complete with mimosas and an amazing view. Saturday night's "main event" is a Wild Boar Hunt hosted by Arbuckle Marsh Outfitters (

Stay tuned and follow our amazing Girls Ranch Getaway this weekend! Follow me on Twitter: or on Facebook!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Radio For Women? Tune in to Heartbeat WHRB 1410 AM

Radio for Florida women? That’s right! Join me, The Getaway Girl®, at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, May 15 as radio hostess Best Life Barb and I talk all things Travel and Girlfriends. Tune in to Heartbeat WHRB 1410 AM – Radio for Women.
For more information, visit

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Standing Ovation at Lunch Club Wednesday Career Reinvention Presentation

WOW! I was completely overwhelmed today at the Lunch Club Wednesday (LCW) meeting. As I concluded my presentation on Career Reinvention, I was surprised to see (one-by-one) more than 100 women stand up after hearing my story and experience. I was shocked, thrilled and starting tearing up on stage. I never thought my personal experience would impact so many women in such a positive way.
Many thanks to Diana Albritton, the founder of LCW, for providing this great social and business networking forum for women. And thank you to the women in the room today (some drove more than 2 hours) for your support, kind words and friendship.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Join Me at All About Women in Memphis

Join me today for a presentation on “Career Re-Invention” on the Main Stage at All About Women. This one-day interactive experience promises to improve your life. Engage in over 100 different free services and activities covering physical, mental and spiritual well-being. The All About Women experience is one day, one place, just for you. Expecting more than 10,000 women, this is the place to be in Memphis. For more information, visit

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Getaway Girl Talks Beach Getaways on Daytime

Tune in to the mid-morning TV show Daytime ( today to see me chat about great beach getaways. Will your favorite beach be listed?

Also featured on this show is 17-year-old saxophone phenom BK Jackson (pictured) BK is extremely talented and has already opened for music greats like BB King. He is one to watch!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Cinco de Mayo in St Petersburg

Emily, Laura, Jennifer and I had a fabulous Cinco de Mayo Girls Night Out in St. Petersburg, FL. We enjoyed 1/2 price tapas at Cafe Alma, then walked to PUSH for a few cervazas, some live music and a rooftop view of downtown St Pete. Adios until next year...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

See My Red Dress on Display for the American Heart Assn

This month, the Red Dress Exhibit is on display at the Orlando History Museum, Downtown Orange County Library and the Orange County Administration featuring garments donated by yours truly: The Getaway Girl.
Log onto to find out where the exhibit will be next or contact your American Heart Association.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Race for the Arts Combines Festivities & Culture For A Good Time & Great Cause

As they're off! With our Mint Julips in hand, we had a wonderful time at the Highland Art League's "Race for the Arts" Kentucky Derby Party. From the terrific hat contest to the exciting race to the celebrity chefs who donated their food and time, a fabulous time was had by all. In addition, the Art League raised money with their silent and live auctions and "bidding" wars continued...all in good fun.
PHOTO: It was a family celebration for me on Derby Day, pictured here with (from L to R): Jeri (my mom), grandmother 'Hot Dot', me and Aunt Penny. Dot and Penny were obvious winners of the hat contest.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Girl Getaways As Easy As 1, 2, 3

Need a Girls Getaway but never enough time to plan your trip? The Girls Getaway Guide takes the time-consuming hassle out of researching great Girls Getaway hotels, resorts, tours and packages. Our website features a brand new travel section, Getaway Girl Travel (, which helps busy women getaway and makes planning your trip as easy as 1, 2, 3. First, select a location. Second, pick your accommodations or tour getaway. Third, book your vacation.

Partnering businesses include resorts, bed & breakfasts, hotels, tours, guest ranch, cruise and a castle from California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Europe.
Many thanks to the following partners for joining us as we launch this exciting new concept: Blessings on State B&B, California Castle, Doubletree Grandkey Resort,, Fairville Inn, Hotel Monaco Chicago, Kingston Plantation, Orlando Vista Hotel, Reunion Resort, Saddlebrook Resort, Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch, Tenon Tours and The Islander Resort.

Start clicking at to see the fabulous Girls Getaway hotels, resorts, tours and packages we have to offer!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Win Free Stuff!!!

Love to win free stuff? Looking for prizes to help you getaway and travel the world? Be sure to visit the new “Win Free Stuff” section of the Girls Getaway Guide website at where you will find nearly $1,500 in fun and travel-related prizes, including a Grand Prize Girls Getaway to Ireland (airfare not included). Every few months we will post new and exciting prizes for Girls Getaway Guide fans, so be sure to check back regularly.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Exclusive Luxury Fashion Night in Orlando

Looking for a great Girls Night Out (GNO) in Orlando? Orlando Premium Outlets will be holding an Exclusive Luxury Fashion Night Thursday, May 7 from 5pm to 9pm- just in time for Mother’s Day. You will be treated to exclusive discounts, in-store demonstrations, raffles, complimentary VIP Tote Bags with gifts and samples from stores, and delightful refreshments. Purchase the perfect Mother’s Day gift or treat yourself to something special. Enjoy this special evening at luxury stores including Dooney & Bourke, Frette, Joe’s Jeans, MaxMara, Salvatore Ferragamo, Seiko, Tag Heuer, and Y-3.

RSVP for the event by emailing

Friday, May 1, 2009

MEGA Early Bird Registration Extended to May 4 ($300 discount)

Join the World of Best-Selling Authors AND Build your Own Multi-Media Publishing Empire
Mega Book Marketing University June 5 – 7, 2009

Book By May 4 For Your $300 Early Bird Discount!!!

Hosted by Mark Victor Hansen, co-creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, Orlando, FL. Whether you've only thought about writing a book, have already written a book, or just want to see what it's about, this is an opportunity you don’t want to pass up.I’ve attended this event on numerous occasions and learned something new every time. You’ll get access to the world's top best-selling authors and book marketing strategists, proven book marketing blueprints that you can put to work immediately and valuable advice from agents and publishers PLUS phenomenal networking opportunities with the “who’s who” of the publishing world.If you're serious about becoming a successful, published author, there's no way you can afford to pass up this incredible offer. Click here to learn more and reserve your seat today:

Special for The Getaway Girl subscribers & followers: Get the inside scoop! Once you’ve registered, email me your confirmation number and I’ll send you a VIP invite to be part of the “inside track” with my own book marketing expert Wendy Kurtz, President of Elizabeth Charles & Associates, LLC ( Billed by Mark Victor Hansen as the “Empress of PR,” Wendy has worked with Mark for years and was the first person he called when he and Art Linkletter wanted to develop the marketing and publicity plan for their book How to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life. Wendy has been involved with Mark's Mega events for years and is willing to share her insider's tips with The Getaway Girl readers to help you maximize your conference experience. Wendy has been “behind the green curtain" and knows what works. In a complimentary teleseminar before the event, Wendy will provide details on how to prepare for the conference, including pointers for creating a book proposal that ROCKS in case you want to pitch some of the many agents and publishers that will be at the conference (Wendy says that contrary to what you may think, it really isn't that hard).

You must use this specific link to register I hope to see you there!

PHOTO: Chicken Soup for the Soul co-creator Mark Victor Hansen, Empress of PR Wendy Kurtz & The Getaway Girl Casey Wohl at MEGA Book Marketing University 2008.