Posted on: Monday, October 29, 2007
More women choosing to take girlfriend-only getaways
By Kitty Bean Yancey
Gal getaways, a heavily marketed success for the past few years, aren't going away.
A 2007 survey of 2,000 women for AAA says 24 percent of American women have taken a girlfriend getaway in the past three years and 39 percent plan to take one.
A recent survey of 246 American Express travel agents found that more women are traveling together to bond and escape stress, that they're spending more and looking beyond traditional spa and shopping weekends. Vegas bachelorette parties, for instance, have never been more popular.
Travel providers are tailoring more packages to meet demand, and the range of options is broadening. Some of the more offbeat:
Art "safaris" in picture-perfect Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif. Three days of work in a studio under the direction of professionals, fueled by wine and chocolate and a nighttime painting party, aim to unleash the inner artist in anyone. Courses include "Intuitive Abstract Painting," from $1,275 a person, double, if booked and paid for by Dec. 31. Otherwise, rates start at $1,375, including lodging, breakfasts, two other meals, art materials, instruction and daily yoga. Lodging options include the Cypress Inn, co-owned by Hollywood legend Doris Day. 831-625-5748; www.artistacreative.com.
Gals-only cruises in the Galapagos Islands. For the first time, the Galapagos Network is selling women-only departures to the Galapagos. The weeklong cruises (April 13-20 or Aug. 24-31) offer sightings of giant tortoises, kayaking, scuba diving and tours with on-board naturalist guides. Rates for the cruises on Ecoventura's 20-passenger motor yachts start at $2,675 a person, double, including meals and excursions, but not airfare. Departure is from San Cristobal, Ecuador. 800-633-7972; www.ecoventura.com.
Dog-sledding in the Northwoods. Make pleasant mush of your muscles learning how to drive a dog sled in Minnesota. A March 16-20 trip out of Ely, from women's adventure travel specialist Adventures in Good Company, includes sledding and instruction, meals and four nights' lodging (three in an inn, one in a wilderness yurt). Cost: $1,095, plus airfare. Other outings include climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and sea kayaking in the Caribbean. 877-439-4042; www.adventuresingoodcompany.com.
A "Men? Oh Pause" escape in South Beach. The sassy package includes two nights for two at Florida's Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort & Club; breakfast and a dinner; a spa service and $100 shopping certificate; welcome kit with hand-held electric fan and a "Menopause Survival Guide"; bottle of champagne or wine; and an evening of chauffeured limo service to and from nearby South Beach. Rates start at $1,919 for two, including taxes and gratuities. The package is available through Dec. 20. 800-257-7544; www.fairmont.com/turnberryisle.
Surf 'n' turf in central California. The surfer-girl retreat includes two nights at the Dolphin Bay Hotel & Residence in Pismo Beach, a surf lesson with what's billed as "your very own beach boy," equipment, souvenir photo, breakfasts, dinners, picnic and spa treatment. Participants also go to a farmers market with the hotel chef and help prep food for dinner, complemented by wine. It's $1,950 for two; $3,500 for four. 800-516-0112; www.thedolphinbay.com.
Cowgirl Boot Camps in California wine country. The luxury Alisal guest ranch outside Solvang now offers a half-dozen yearly cowgirl camps. Participants ride, rope, quaff wine and line dance. Next sessions: Sunday through next Wedneday; April 13-16; May 4-7. Rates are $2,395 for two, including three nights' lodging, trail riding, all meals, gift basket and wine with dinner. 888-425-4725; www.alisal.com.