Though family vacations and romantic getaways are at the top of many women’s must-book lists, a chance to vacation with girlfriends is never far behind. From wine-fueled weekends to surfing-yoga retreats, escapes geared toward women are taking center stage in the travel market. Consider leaving the kids and significant other home this fall, and indulging with friends in one of the world’s Top 10 girlfriend getaways.
Wine Country, California, United States
A short drive north of San Francisco, Northern California’s wine region – comprising renowned valleys throughout Napa and Sonoma counties – is an awe-inspiring retreat for wine and food lovers, outdoor enthusiasts and travelers looking for a full-body, vino-centric respite. Hire a car service, visit vineyards, meet winemakers, nosh on culinary delicacies in quaint towns like Healdsburg and sip bubbly with your friends in one of America’s most beautiful regions. Search and compare cheap flights to San Francisco.
The newest trend encouraging women to fly to South America is the combination Surf & Yoga vacation, a ladies-only adventure that pairs surfing in the morning with afternoon sessions of yoga and meditation. Also thrown in there are activities like cooking classes, hiking and volunteering with local communities – experiences that are worth sharing with a close friend or two. Search and compare cheap flights to Ecuador.
Long to spend your days photographing lions and giraffes in the wild, then toasting the sunset with a cool glass of chardonnay as you gaze out on the pristine savannah? Then buy yourself a khaki vest, pack a wide-brimmed hat and book a flight to Tanzania with your friends for a photo safari. The sprawling grasslands are home to some of the most exotic – and endangered – animals on earth. Your trip can be as high-end as you’d like, with catered outdoor meals and luxurious ‘tents’ that would make the big game hunters of years passed cry with envy. Search and compare cheap flights to Tanzania.
Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Considered a boys’ town by many (including Prince Harry), Las Vegas is a wonderland for ladies looking for a weekend away from it all. The world’s most inspiring chefs are at the helm of four- and five-star restaurants along The Strip, a four-mile stretch in the center of town composed of hotels and casinos that range from seedy to swanky. Stop in some of the more enticing landmarks – like the Bellagio or Wynn resorts and casinos – for unforgettable meals followed by high-caliber shows and entertainment. Search and compare cheap flights to Las Vegas.
The home of Nutella, bold red wines and the Slow Food movement, Italy’s Piedmont region is the stuff of (very good) dreams. Some of Italy’s most impressive wines (Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera, Dolcetto) and foods (white truffles, fritto misto) are produced in the northwest corner of the country, beckoning appreciators of deliciousness to visit. Consider a bike tour with girlfriends; a scenic and calorie-burning way to see Piedmont’s rustic towns and countryside. Search and compare cheap flights to Italy.
For the friends who love to shop, a long haul to Hong Kong is well worth it. Collectors of antiques, electronics, high-end fashion, jewelry – basically any goods that women might want to buy – can be found in Hong Kong, a province with no sales tax or VAT. The shopping possibilities are endless; try your hand at haggling or browse stress-free at one of the many shopping malls and street markets (like the famous, appropriately named, Ladies Market). Search and compare cheap flights to Hong Kong.
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
There is no better place to relax and enjoy a slower pace of life than the Big Easy. Of course cocktails are in order, and this being New Orleans, you’d be remiss not to order up a sazerac – possibly America’s oldest cocktail, made of whiskey, sugar and bitters – wherever you go. Live music, also a must, can be found just about everywhere; places like Tipitina’s, Preservation Hall and the Howlin’ Wolf are among the many venues for the classic New Orleans big band jazz acts. Search and compare cheap flights to New Orleans.
What woman wasn’t inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love to relocate to Indonesia for a life of simplicity and, euphemistically put, quality bedroom time? And though the island paradise is great for solo travel, it’s also a holistic getaway fit for girlfriends, too. Try one of the destination’s spiritual escapes, offered through groups like Spafari, that combines yoga and meditation with hiking, snorkeling and other outdoor fitness activities. Search and compare cheap flights to Indonesia.
Banff, Alberta, Canada
Nestled in the Canadian Rockies, Banff offers rustic beauty blended with modern luxury. There are breathtaking views in every direction and a plethora of outdoor activities – hiking, skiing, mountain biking – if you’re feeling adventurous. If you’d rather take in that lovely scenery in a more relaxed fashion, try out one of the getaway’s many luxurious hotels, resorts and spas. Search and compare cheap flights to Calgary.
Costa Rica has become a popular tropical getaway destination in the last 15 years for good reason: Easily accessible by plane and packed with idyllic beaches and lush tropical forests, it’s every beach lover’s paradise and burgeoning hub of eco-tourism. And while the Central American country is still technically a developing nation, your stay can be as rustic or luxurious as you want – there is a plethora of hotels and resorts to choose from. Search and compare cheap flights to Costa Rica.
(Images: Cover, Will Merydith; Bali, Jesse Wegstaff; Ecuador, obenson; Las Vegas, Moyan_Brenn_BE_BACK_on_3th_SEPT, Costa Rica, stevendepolo; Napa, Caliterra; New Orleans, infrogmation; Banff, antkriz; Hong Kong, HerryLawford; Piedmont, Photo Solo Jam; Serengeti, tshantz)