Spring Breakdown

When The Girls’ Trip Breaks Up The Friendship

Three women divulge the real-life drama that derailed their travel plans.

by Morgan Sullivan
Ariela Basson/Scary Mommy; Getty Images

A mere few steps from the sand in South Beach was where Chelsea’s spring break home was supposed to be. At least, that’s what the vacation rental site said — er, well, what her sorority sister had told her it had said. The street was lined with luxurious hotels and vibrant cafes, but there was no sign of the high-rise beach condo they traded screenshots of in their group chat. Instead, an empty lot remained.

Doubt crept into her mind as she double-checked the address, hoping she had made a mistake, but nope — “It looked like a heavy industrial zone,” Chelsea, 22, tells Elite Daily. “I have no way to describe it other than just a bunch of dirt and pavement.”

And that’s because their home didn’t exist, à la Alix Earle girls’ trip style (IYKYK). Much like the influencer and her friends in May 2023, Chelsea and a group of 10 others had fallen victim to a booking website scam: fake listings on rental websites that trick guests into paying for a fake property. But Chelsea says this was merely the starting point of the havoc that unfolded during her spring trip, not its conclusion.

Search different iterations of “friendship drama girls’ trip” or “girls' trip gone wrong” on TikTok, and you’ll be flooded with stories of unexpected arguments, tales of friendships gone awry abroad, and anecdotes of travel incompatibility — you know, general chaos. Throw a drunken spring break into the mix, and you've got a potent concoction for drama: a mutant version that's so sinister, so hellscape-ish, that it could make you rethink ever traveling together again. After all, while spring break, like group travel itself, offers promises of fun, it can also be a hotbed for conflict.

She was in a total panic … like she couldn’t stay somewhere that wasn’t rated five stars or, I don’t know, Instagrammable.

In Chelsea’s case, the accommodation fiasco was only the beginning. After realizing their booking was a total sham, some other girls quickly searched for a cheap motel. “There was nothing left,” Chelsea recalls. It was Miami during the final week of March, after all.

Except for one sorority sister who insisted that a motel wouldn’t suffice. "She was in a total panic about it,” Chelsea recalls. "Like she couldn’t stay somewhere that wasn’t rated five stars or, I don’t know, Instagrammable.” Snarky texts were exchanged, and she could feel an energy shift within the chat. Chelsea says they were all individually stressed out and just wanted to fix things ASAP. As a result, some of the other girls opted to book one of the rare cheap findings regardless. “But she side-chatted me and said, ‘Hey, my parents booked us a nice hotel. Stay with me instead.’”

And stay with her — oh, yes — Chelsea did. “I guess it’s karmically on me that things went south,” Chelsea jokes, noting that this sorority sister was known for having family money and she “wasn’t bummed” about reaping the benefits, which included 24-hour room service and poolside cabanas with panoramic views of the city’s skyline. “There was even a spa,” Chelsea laughs. “I mean, come on? Who needs a spa when you’re on college spring break?”

Still, they gallivanted around the property, reveling in every amenity it had to offer. After hanging with the other girls, they returned from the beach each night, exchanging giggles over the day's juicy hookups and gossip. This was the routine of their weeklong stay, all the way until the last night of the trip.

Until they got home. And the Venmo request came.

“It was an exorbitant amount,” Chelsea tells Elite Daily. It was well above what she had in her checking account as a college student and certainly more than what the other girls had paid for the motel. Immediately, Chelsea rang her to tell her she had misunderstood. She admitted that while it might seem silly to assume, she thought that when her friend said, “They booked us a hotel,” she meant her parents handled it.

“Which, in turn, turned into a long fight about people’s assumptions of her family just because they had money — which I understood, but at the time, was enraged and was like, ‘Well, you flaunt it constantly!’” Chelsea confesses that their friendship didn't survive post-trip, particularly as both sets of parents had to intervene due to financial matters, a regrettable outcome she wishes hadn't occurred.

However, she couldn't overlook one glaringly obvious fact about the exorbitant cost of the venue — and the likelihood that she would have been left with her part of the bill: "A spa, I mean. That should've been my first clue, right?"

I’d never felt so betrayed.

For Maya, 21, her spring break drama had no financial qualms, but it certainly had relationship ones. In a large beach house in Folly Beach, South Carolina, a somewhat random group of girls tried on their outfits to go out. “We all were friends of friends, but everyone was super nice and let each other borrow their clothes,” Maya recalls.

A bodysuit lay draped over the arm of a couch, while a pair of high-rise jeans lay in the hallway. One girl was curling their hair with a borrowed iron, while Maya let another borrow a chord necklace with a circular charm. “We’re in the bathroom and talking about who we want to see at the bars that night,” Maya tells Elite Daily. “And, of course, I bring up my situationship.”

Maya recounts the ins and outs of their saga — the flaking (on his part), the drunk texting (on her part), and the inconsistent sex (on both): “I mean, I was spilling everything.” Listening earnestly, the girl to whom Maya had given her necklace gave her something in return: some solid relationship advice. “She was being really nice,” says Maya. “She kept asking for details, offering me great tips.”

She followed the girl’s counsel, and a few nights later, it led to her being at her situationship’s beach house rental — in his room, just the two of them. As she was in the bathroom pre-hookup, she drunkenly peeked at the trashcan.

And there it was, Maya’s pendant — the one she had let the very same girl borrow two nights before. “I’d never felt so betrayed,” she tells Elite Daily. “From there on out, I vowed never to confide in — or travel with — girls I didn’t really know.”

Someone was always crying in the bathroom over their ex.

Drunken stories of generally hot-mess nights like these serve as cautionary tales, reminders to choose travel companions wisely. But spring break can also do the opposite. A group vacation can be a testament to the resilience of friendships, where bonds emerge stronger than ever amid the chaos of a trip gone wrong. A popular saying goes, "If you can survive traveling with someone, you can survive anything together.” This quote rings true for Ellie, 22, when she reminisces about her spring break trip to Austin, Texas.

“There were constant fights over plans and where to go,” Ellie tells Elite Daily. “Somebody was always trying to get to the bar where they thought their crush might be; someone was always crying in the bathroom over their ex.” She even recalls one night when the birthday girl planned a big dinner, but one girl just didn’t show up because she was “sick.” (She’d actually gotten a new tattoo during the dinner instead.)

Yet, in the middle of all the mayhem, Ellie discovered a silver lining. She found out who she “vibed with” the most out of the group and split off with them instead. “We just did our own thing,” she tells Elite Daily.

Now inseparable, the four of them are planning more vacations to come. “We found out we were super compatible when it came to traveling.” Plus, Ellie says, all that spring break drama gave them something to laugh about in the end, proof that even the messiest of situations can lead to lasting friendships and even more adventures (sans texting any exes — of course).