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Getting ready to walk down the aisle with your #bridetribe? Before you do, we have another aisle that needs your attention — the aisle of the plane on the way to your bachelorette trip!
If wedding bells are in your future, then either you or your maid of honor have certainly been thinking about the bachelorette trip. Be it in your hometown or to a destination, planning that plus the wedding and all the things that come with it can be daunting.
Because we want you to be a blushing bride and not a stressed one, we decided to help you and your bridesmaids plan the party, complete with expert recommendations from travel companies and party planners for where to go, when to book and other tips and tricks for a seamless vacation.
Read on for their advice, or skip to the bottom using the bullets below to see what the best bachelorette destinations are for 2023 and how to book right now.
When wedding bells are ringing in your head, it’s easy to let the bachelorette planning slip through the cracks. However, according to Abbie Clinton, owner of bachelorette planning company Got Your Bash out of Dallas TX, the planning is one of the most important parts of the party.
“We recommend booking your accommodations first at least four to six months before the party. This assures that you know where you will be staying and can accurately account for time that will be spent at the hotel or house and how far you are from restaurants, activities and more,” said Clinton.
Speaking of booking, there is no better expert than the team at Expedia, and so we also chatted with Christie Hudson, US head of public relations for Expedia, about the best times to book.
“For those bridal parties looking to avoid crowds and take advantage of lower prices, they can book their trips during shoulder season,” suggested Hudson. “September is that time right after the busy summer travel period and right before the holiday travel peak when you can traditionally find savings on flights and accommodations because the demand is usually lower.”
While you can (and should) have your maid of honor help, having a buffer can also take some pressure off the bride-to-be, as you’ll be able to settle on the location and have everyone taken care of long before takeoff.
In terms of the season, Clinton noted that about 75% of their over-1,000 trips have been planned from May to September, which is also good to note if you are heading to warm-weather destinations.
All in all, both of our experts suggest having the party two to three months before the wedding and planning as early as possible for the best and least stressful results.
“The earlier you can plan a trip the better! Timing is always key. Book at least one month out for domestic trips, and up to six months out for international trips to save an average of 10% on airfare,” added Hudson.
Want to make the planning process even smoother? When it comes to picking the location, finding the flights and even booking the restaurants, our experts have the hookup.
Set up price alerts: “Tell everyone in the party to set up price alerts so they know when to book their flights! The Price Tracking and Prediction feature on the Expedia app uses machine learning to predict the best time to book and notify travelers when flight prices drop.”
The early bird gets the worm: “Take the early flight if you want to avoid any cancellations! Flights leaving before 3pm are 50% less likely to be cancelled, according to Expedia.”
Plan during the off-season: “Avoid holiday weekends like 4th of July or Memorial Day, when the crowds and prices soar.”
Book dining early, too: “As far as activities and restaurants, we recommend at least three to four months in advance, especially if you have a larger party. You will find that if you have 12 or more guests, you will usually have a food and beverage minimum at most restaurants, so don’t be alarmed when you get transferred to an event coordinator.”
Set a budget before: “Make sure to have a budget that everyone attending is comfortable with, before starting to plan and try your best to stick with it. Also breaking up the payments is always helpful for your guests to budget and plan for the trip ahead of time.
Check the calendar for other events: “Another tip is to make sure there are no big events happening in the location at that time. For example, try not to book a Palm Springs bachelorette during Coachella weekend.”
Any room with your best girlfriends is a great party, but where have the top destinations been for bachelorette trips? Clinton shared that historically they have been Scottsdale, Palm Springs, Austin, Miami, and Nashville, with both Tulum and Cabo as top picks for outside the U.S. However, for a more unique experience, Clinton shared some under-the-radar spots as well.
“We are seeing a ton of bachelorettes popping up in San Diego, California and both Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida,” she said. “We love planning in new locations that are popping up. We also planned our first in Charlotte, North Carolina, which we think is a super under-the-radar bachelorette location.”
For those that want to turn to pop culture for inspiration, a 2023 trend forecasted by Expedia has been following TV and movies around the globe.
“This year, TV and movies are sparking wanderlust and influencing vacations more than ever as show destinations have become the main attraction,” said Hudson. “Bridal parties can take their themes to the next level by walking through fashionable Parisian streets motivated by ‘Emily in Paris’ or by planning a cowboy-themed getaway inspired by ‘Yellowstone.’ After all, the bride is the main character, so why not gain some inspiration from their favorite show?”
We didn’t stop here, brides and bridesmaids. We also dug in deeper to help you find the best flights and hotels in each of the major cities below, some with activities included — aside from hanging by the pool and many champagne toasts.
Where to stay: Miami had endless options for where to stay, and frankly we never want to leave the beach. However, our experts recommend the Goodtime Hotel for a posh and very pink stay with your girls. You can also check out the Fontainebleau Miami Beach for a beachfront hotel with easy access to the water.
What to do: Want to get your drink on? Clinton recommend this mobile bar to book, called Stir It Up, based out of Hollywood, FL. Then, get dinner at MILA for Mediterranean and Japanese fusion. The next day, book a private yacht for a day on the water with your crew.
Where to stay: This recommendation will transport you to the trip from your wildest dreams. Check out the House of Stardust, a private villa for you and your besties, complete with a hot tub, private pool and views of the mountains. The colorful Saguaro Hotel also comes recommended for the bright rooms and fun atmosphere, should you prefer a hotel to a villa.
What to do: Get your wine on and book a wine tasting trip. We found a lot of great options on Groupon, especially for the bride on a budget. Then, book a hangover brunch the next day at Cheeky’s and spend the rest of the day on a tour via bike, Jeep or even an aerial tram.
Where to stay: For an easy stay with great staff and a perfect Old Town location, check out the Canopy by Hilton Old Town, that also has a great restaurant and outdoor seating should you stay close to the hotel. For another option in the Entertainment District of the city, head to the W Hotel. Here you’ll find a great pool and a Thursday party scene that runs all weekend long.
What to do: Choose to finally leave the pool? Get some vino at one of many wine tours you can book. For the adventurous bride, take a Jeep tour in the desert and be rewarded with stunning sunset photos for the ‘gram.
Where to stay: If pink is her color and you’re willing to drive a bit outside of Austin, this bachelorette haven is perfect. Hosted on Vrbo, have the whole house to yourself, including a heated pool, hot tub and fire pit. It’s appropriately called the Pink Paradise, should you want to book right now.
What to do: What’s more Texas than barbecue? Gather your girls and take a food tour throughout Austin, stopping at the best BBQ places the city has to offer. Then, wash it all down with a brewery tour, booked on City Brew Tours site especially for bachelorette parties.
Where to stay: Come to the music city and stay in Nashville with your band of bachelorettes. This Vrbo property is made with your party in mind, with light pink finishes, a photo wall and roof desk with fire pits. If you prefer a hotel in the heart of downtown, check out the Renaissance Nashville Hotel, that comes with all the posh amenities of a Marriott in a great location.
What to do: Obviously, the first thing to do is head to Broadway and hit up the honky tonks, which you can do on this pub crawl. Or, if you prefer whisky to beer, check out the one and only Jack Daniel’s Distillery, via this bus tour with tastings.
Where to stay: Do you have a foodie in the group? If so, the place to be according to an Expedia study of the most important culinary destinations is Oaxaca, Mexico. Start your stay in this historic and charming property, called the Quinta Real Oaxaca with stunning arches and architecture. You can also take a look at the Hotel Escondido Oaxaca, also in the city center with an outdoor pool and garden.
What to do: If you’re there for the food, definitely make sure to book a food tour. Expedia recommended this night street market tour, taking you to the best spots in the city you may otherwise miss. Then, wash it all down with mezcal, booking a tasting for you and the ladies.
Where to stay: Head to Hawaii but then stay off the crowded islands and instead go to Kauai. Here you can stay at the relaxing and sustainable 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay hotel, where you’ll be surrounded by nature everywhere you look.
What to do: When you want something more thrilling, get your girls and hit the waves, taking a group surf lesson on the beach. Then dry off and relax in the Princeville Botanical Gardens that also includes a gourmet chocolate tasting to help you get your energy back up.
Where to stay: Unless you love the hustle and bustle of Mardi Gras, coming to New Orleans during the off season is a great idea for a fun, culture-filled trip. For a super unique experience, stay at The Saint Hotel, which has heavenly rooms and one “hell-themed” suite, should your plans get a bit naughtier. For a more traditional, jazzier New Orleans stay, also check out the Maison de la Luz, which is a swanky guesthouse that is also great for Instagram pics.
What to do: You absolutely can’t miss walking the French Quarter, so why not do it with a bottle of booze and stories of voodoo? This BYOB walking tour has been booked by more than 24,000 travelers so we think it’s worth the walk. Then, grab a famous beignet from Cafe du Monde and find a jazz club for swanky tunes in the evening.
Where to stay: Our friends at Expedia flagged Denver to us as a great and up-and-coming place to have a bachelorette trip, perfect for those that love both nature and city. Stay at either The Thompson Denver or The Source Hotel for easy access to downtown, or this rental house for a private experience.
What to do: If marriage is the adventure of a lifetime, you’d better get prepared with some adrenaline. Take a zip line tour with your besties and then recharge in nature with a tour of the breathtaking Rocky Mountains.
Where to stay: We wouldn’t be the New York Post without just one NY location. Get away from the hustle and bustle of the city with a trip out to the Hamptons. Head all the way to the edge in Montauk and check out the highly-recommended Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa, or book a private vacation rental with a pool and amazing beach access.
What to do: You could hit up the Surf Lodge for food, drinks and live music for the hype, or make your own waves by chartering a boat or even a yacht for a day on the water.
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