Your best friend just got popped the question and maybe this isn’t your first friend to tie the knot, but this time you and the girls don’t want to have just another run of the mill bachelorette party. If you or the bride-to-be have that itch to travel and want to plan a destination bachelorette party then you’ve come to the right place. I sat down with Jeff Thompson, founder of Highlife Panama, a self-certified expert in bachelor & bachelorette party organization that has planned & executed hundreds of destination singlehood send-offs. From venues to budgeting and activities, here, we will help you earn that pink tiara.
Getting the Bachelorette’s Input – and the Group
First and foremost, it is important to determine the general vibe that the bride wants to establish. “Whether she’d prefer beach resorts, yachts and champagne, or highrise clubbing – physical activity or getting pampered – this will help guide your planning process tremendously and really help establish expectations so everyone knows what they are in for,” Thompson says. This should be at the forefront when selecting a destination. An easy to follow tip for destination selection might be selecting a location that is easy to get to with direct flights and offers a variety of options. The last thing you want is to spend half the trip in transit no matter how amazing the spa is… I’m sorry to say, but Fiji is probably out of the question.
Picking the Best Location
With this last point in mind, major cities and resort towns are usually a safe bet because they tend to offer something for everyone with a variety of activity options. In the last few years, international bachelor parties have seen an upward trend where your money can go a little further. An exotic locale can really set the mood- consider hot latin nights or a Caribbean escape. According to Thompson, “we have seen huge decreases in airline prices to as low as $200 roundtrip from cities like Chicago and New York direct to great locations like Costa Rica or Panama. At first Costa Rica was the primary destination for Central American destination bachelorette parties, but now we are seeing a greater inflow to Panama due to the common currency of the American dollar and amazing downtown nightlife to compliment the beach time.”
A destination party takes planning, so if you want to keep the logistics to a minimum consider booking an all-inclusive resort or full package.
Pre-trip MUST DO
Usually the bride determines who gets the invite for the amazing trip. Once the list is determined it becomes the maid of honor’s duty to pump everyone up. If you remember when you were a kid, the best part about Christmas or a family vacation wasn’t necessarily always the vacation or holiday, but the anticipation and excitement you got before. Take this childhood giddy and apply it to your bachelorette party. Get the girls excited for your girls’ getaway and escape from the daily grind. This excitement building is a sure fire way to get the girls to commit to the trip.
The nail biter part: budgeting
How much should you expect to pay? Apart from travel expenses make sure that you have budgeted for:
So yes, it is going to cost money and it doesn’t work for everyone, but talking to Thompson “generally, individual costs tend to decrease when the group is bigger than 8 as the shared costs of group activities and transportation become shared. With these size groups, you are looking at around $200- $400 per day for everything included; hotels, transport, yacht, booze.” Recognizing the real costs is important for the group to make sure everyone is financially and mentally prepared. Thompson also states “whether or not the group goes with a package or all inclusive deal, pre-booking or creating a side account for making all payments is a great idea so you don’t need to keep cash on you during the trip. Either everything is already taken care of or only one person needs to make payments from the pooled side account.” Dealing with cash during group travel always creates tension and this stress can be easily avoided.
Let the festivities begin
To help your girls pack, let them know the recommended attire for the weekend's events—from club dress codes to necessary gear for outdoor activities. “It's also fun to choose a theme," Thompson says. “Think sequin accessories, '80s outfits or outrageous hats." After all, one of the best parts of the bachelorette weekend is getting ready together. (It's like reliving those college dorm days!)
For more tips on planning your destination bachelorette party feel free to ask any questions to the fine folks at Highlife Panama or check out Panama as your one stop destination for everything fun under the sun with all the best rooftop sites at night.