Destination bachelorette parties are becoming increasingly common—after all, what's more fun than traveling to a new and exciting place with a bunch of your friends? But travel-centric bachelorette parties also becoming popular for a plethora of other reasons, including the fact that the bride's closest friends may be spread out across the country. "It makes sense that friends would find a common meeting point that they can all get excited about," says Jennifer Jacob, CEO of Explorateur Travel.
Wherever you and your crew choose to go for your bachelorette party, planning efficiently is the key to ensuring the trip is a great success. Here are travel experts best tips for coordinating a destination bachelorette party.
Think about the last trip you planned. How far in advance did you start organizing the details? Chances are, it was probably more than a few months out, and that vacation likely included less than three or four people. When it comes to planning a bachelorette party that involves upwards of seven or eight women, you're going to want to plan much farther in advance. Shannon LeBlanc, a destination wedding and honeymoon expert, explains that this allows each attendee enough time to request vacation days, save money, and coordinate anything that needs to be done in their absence with ample time.
Set a budget that's feasible for everyone.
Jennifer Doncsecz, certified travel industry executive and president of VIP Vacations Inc., has seen group trips completely fall apart because one person is suddenly no longer able to afford to go. "This causes major inconveniences including the need to alter room configurations that often cost the remaining travelers more," she says. The budget should be based off of who the bride wants to accompany her on her bachelorette party. Doncsecz adds that the budget should be shared with everyone early, and should include due dates for deposits and final payments.
Decide on a destination.
Once the budget is ironed out, it's time to pick a destination that everyone agrees on. Of course, the bride's wishes will be taken into consideration, but it's also important that each traveler is on board. If you're thinking about leaving the country, Doncsecz recommends asking that everyone confirm the validity of their passports early. And you should do your best to make sure the trip is similar for everyone. "If members of the bridal party are flying from different areas, make sure that the destination preferences provide equal flight times and flight costs so that everyone in the group feels things are balanced," Doncsecz adds.
Agree on travel dates.
Try to give the group a few options for dates of travel to ensure that everyone can attend—or at least has equal opportunity to attend. "I usually suggest two possible dates as a means to find the most affordable option," says Doncsecz. "Getting everyone to agree on a budget and the travel dates can often be the hardest part in planning this group vacation."
Get commitments before booking accommodations.
The biggest struggle that Jacob has seen with bachelorette parties is when someone puts a deposit on a common space and others back out. "If guests have to pay a deposit when RSVPing (like a cruise), you'll see less fluctuation in the guest list, and the other guests won't end up having to fork up over extra cash for their flaky friend," she says.
Not everyone is able to splurge on an expensive plane ticket to Europe for a bachelorette party. While it's hard to say "no" to friends you love, it's important that you don't overcommit yourself to something that you can't afford, advises Jacob. "I've found that clients are so much happier with their vacation when they have an economical option that allows them to relax and enjoy their experience at the party, rather than paying just to get there," she says.