There are tricks to traveling with a gaggle of girlfriends. How do you divide up the research? Who puts deposits on their credit card? Do you settle up before or after the trip? Do you stay together the whole time, or do you go off and do your own things? And how can you tell who’s a pain in the ass before take-off?

The art of travel is a fabulously technical one, at once fantasy and logistics, dream and reality, and nothing complicates a forray into the unknown like planning a group trip. Now, not only are you worried about culture shock but personality shock as well. Sure, you and Peg hang out every night at the local bar trolling for men, but that doesn’t mean diddly about how cool she is to travel with.

You might discover that the best thing about fun-time Peg was that she blessedly returned to her own home at the end of the night! You’ll learn this too late, screaming at her drunk ass at five in the morning to get Guiseppe and his brothers the hell out of your hotel room. 

I’m going to be traveling over the next ten days with five girlfriends, and there’s already tons of drama! First there was Courtney who suddenly reconciled with her husband and wanted to bring him along. On a girls’ trip? Hell no! That’s what we told her. She was pissed.

Then Erica got fired and suddenly needed to charge the trip. So we worked out a deal where we’d write her checks and she’d put everything on plastic as we went along. That meant scrambling to throw checks in the mail.

Next Olivia (of course I’m changing the names to protect the innocent!) made the mistake of calling Erica on the day she got fired to ask her why she hadn’t come through with her part of the research. Who could have known it was because security was escorting her away from her desk, the one with the computer that held the files with all her research? 

Erica and Olivia had a nasty exchange, and they both called me two nights ago freaking out about each other. What was said wasn’t nice. They met through me, and now each of them are convinced that the other might be the antichrist. So much for smooth sailing. Literally. (We’ll be looking for boys with boats on the Amalfi Coast.)

That brings us to Joan, who’s having a hard time with the actual costs of things. Now I know we’re not all zillionaires, but the restrictions she’s placing on our not-lira-but-euro, high season jaunt to Italia are totally ridiculous. At first, she swore she wouldn’t pay more than sixty dollars a night for her share of a room. That wouldn’t even buy her a slice of panini! Oh, my darling, no!

We have taken turns trying to explain things to her, and even though she doesn’t agree, she still wants to travel with us (and we are not the pensione set, dear readers), so she unfortunately has to suffer her minority opinion.

Finally, Katherine. It will be her first trip out of the country. I am so proud of her! She is newly divorced and has just gotten her first passport. She’s nervous enough as it is, and the drama is not helping matters. 

Will women ever be able to just get along? Was I a fool for believing that a girls trip could go off without a bitch, I mean a hitch? I will keep you abreast of all the catfights and disasters, the makeouts and makeovers… Goddess help me!