ALL POSTS IN [Girl Getaways]

Photo Courtesy of Go! Girl Guides

Traveling the world is awesome, but it can be intimidating, particularly if you’re a woman traveling solo.

At Go! Girl Guides, we believe that the world is mostly safe and that people are mostly good, but we hear the same thing from women time and time again: “Is it safe to travel alone?”

The answer: YES, so long as you use remain aware, trust your instincts, and use a little common sense. These 7 travel tips will help you take on the world, with or without a travel partner.

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Best Bachelorette Destinations

Photography by Getty Images

Having just returned form a whirlwind weekend in NYC to toast a college friend, I started to think about all that goes into the modern-day Bachelorette, whether that’s a mechanic-bull-style bar crawl or a spa-and-sun-fueled weekend in South Beach.

Brides are increasingly looking for a night or 4 to remember, according to the New York Times, which adds that “the movement toward 5-star getaways may be due, in part, to people marrying later.” Makes sense. Most women have considerably more money than in their early 20s (as well as rewards points to pay for flights) and few have children yet (allowing for an extended stay).

So whether you’re the maid of honor, a childhood friend, or the bride-to-be herself, here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your last hurrah together … to make sure that fun is had by all.

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All photos courtesy of Sonia Gill

A self-described language geek, entrepreneur and an award-winning travel web series host, Sonia Gil is Our Type of Traveler.

Founder of the digital language learning company Fluenz, and host of “Sonia’s Travels” web series, Sonia shows that you can travel the world and enrich your life without breaking the bank. With a mission to “crack the secret code of cities,” “Sonia’s Travels” uncovers the local flavor of destinations, avoiding the tourist-trodden spots, to dig deeper to find the true soul of a city.

Sharing her love of language, Sonia’s projects include the non-profit Fluenz.org that distributes free English language programs for people in need. Recently, Sonia partnered with Lonely Planet to create FluentRoad.com, a unique online program for travelers interested in learning travel Spanish.

Sonia also has her own video series “Almost Free” on Ulive.com. As winner of the Webby Award for “Web Personality of the Year” in 2012, Sonia continues to “recapture the small moments that add up to the art of travel.”

We caught up with Sonia on the road to find out about all those small, but meaningful moments in her travels:

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Photography by Juliana Broste

We feel every day women should be celebrated around the world, but this past weekend some fearless female travelers upped the ante in honor of International Women’s Day by celebrating the power of connecting travel-loving women all over the world.

Inaugural Women’s Travel Fest in NYC

The inaugural Women’s Travel Fest, presented by Go! Girl Guides, kicked off in New York City at the awe-inspiring Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts building. Kelly Lewis, founder of Go! Girl Guides, created the 1-day event to inspire and empower women to travel through tips from the experts on everything from how to travel through the Middle East to connecting with fellow female travelers.

“There’s just something magical about getting women together to openly address our hopes, our fears and our dreams,” says Lewis. “Women have unique concerns about their health and safety … that’s why I created Go! Girl Guides, and why we needed the Women’s Travel Fest as a community of women.”

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Lindsey Simmons of Girls Gone Bayou

Some small towns are hot destinations. Take Bastrop, LA, for instance. Never heard of it? If you are a hunter or an avid outdoorsman, you have. Bastrop, just outside Monroe, LA, is home to Simmons’ Sporting Goods, one of the largest sporting goods stores in the country, drawing customers from across the South and selling everything from camouflage and camping gear to guns and ammo to ATVs and 4-wheelers. Bastrop also happens to be home to TravelChannel.com’s new exclusive web series, Girls Gone Bayou.

The series follows the quirky adventures of Lindsey Simmons, as she takes over day-to-day operations of Simmons’ with some help from gal pals, Lori and Kila. Lindsey’s got to convince her overbearing dad, Jeff, that they are up for the challenge, and prove that she and her blonde bombshell BFFs can hunt, fish and trap better than any good ole boy in the bayou. You can watch all 9 episodes of the series, starting today, on TravelChannel.com

We asked Lindsey what people should know about Bastrop and to share her favorite places in her hometown.

“Obviously, one of the biggest attractions for our town is Simmons’ Sporting Goods,” Lindsey says. “We have people that drive from a 5 state radius just to come to our store! They bring their RVs or stay in hotels and make a weekend out of it.”

Lindsey also recommends a stroll through Bastrop’s Town Square at the intersection of Highway 165 North and Highway 425 North to visit its antique shops, jewelry stores and theater.

“It’s a great place to explore Bastrop,” she says. “I guarantee you, when you pass people on those streets, they WILL smile and make you feel at home. I just love that!”

Finally, there’s the Morehouse Activity Center, known as “The Mac,” on Marlatt St.

“On Saturday night you can find everyone in town there to watch a rodeo,” Lindsey says. “Talk about a good time!”

Bastrop has some famous frequent visitors, too. The Robertsons of Duck Dynasty have been doing business with the Simmons’ ever since they started making duck calls. The popular reality-TV family signs autographs at Simmons’ every year.

“They are a great family and are truly as wholesome as they seem on TV,” Lindsey says. “Willie is a hoot. He’s down to earth and hilarious.”

Sounds like another family we’ve come to know. Get to know Lindsey, her family and friends on Girls Gone Bayou. Watch the first episode, now.

Grab the girls and hit the road for a spring getaway. Get inspired with our fun picks for trips that include all your favorite things: music, nature, yoga, sunshine, culture, wine … and of course, your best buds.

1.  Groove at a music festival.

Missed Coachella? Don’t worry; the music festival season is just getting started. From Jazz Fest in New Orleans to the Sasquatch Festival in Washington State, there’s a music fest this spring for every kind of music lover.

2.  Savor spring outdoors. 

Are you and your BFFs in desperate need of a little outdoor adventure … or at least craving more than a glimpse of nature outside your office window? Get the endorphins flowing by hiking at a national park or trying stand up paddle boarding by the beach.   

3.  Go “om” with your BFFs.

Need a recharge? Down dog by day and dance under the stars at night at Wanderlust:  a music-meets-yoga-meets-outdoors festival. Or check out Jennifer Aniston’s yoga teacher’s best places to go “om” for more yoga getaways.

4.  Soak up some Vitamin D. 

Escape to sunny Florida for a girls-only weekend. We’ve found some sun-soaked spots perfect for a carefree weekend in Palm Beach (and not the ones your grandma would recommend, either). And for an unabashedly beachy moment before summer gets here, enjoy an umbrella-topped cocktail at one of South Florida’s best beach bars.

5.  Channel your inner Southern belle.

Soak up the lowcountry (and low-stress) culture of Charleston, a city that’s on everyone’s radar this spring. Stroll through garden plantations sipping on a sweet tea cocktail, dish over shrimp and grits or add a little Southern style to your wardrobe with the offbeat shopping on King Street.

6.  Sip and swirl with the girls.

What better way to bond with your best buds than on a wine tour weekend? Sip and swirl your way through Napa Valley and Sonoma or check out a wine festival. And don’t want to hear any whining about being a DD? Hop aboard the Napa Valley wine train and all the girls can have a glass.

Check out more ideas for Girl Getaways.

Photo Courtesy of Le Méridien Bora Bora

So maybe your last relationship went the way of Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries’ … divorce. (Finally.) That doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a little spring fling of your own. In fact, you definitely deserve a spring fling — maybe to one of the world’s sexiest beaches. Or how about a getaway inspired by a family of expert jetsetters? Well, we’ve got you covered.

Drinking in the Dominican Republic
Last summer, the Kardashian clan took a memorable trip to the Dominican Republic — who can forget Kourtney’s hormonal mood swings or Kris’s Jet Ski joyride? Relive the happier moments of this luxurious vacation at Casa de Campo, the Kardashian clan’s resort of choice, with their gourmet meals, horseback riding on the beach and water sports at Minitas Beach … all minus the forced family bonding (and TV crews).

Playing Tourist in London
The Kardashian sisters let loose in London during a press tour last year, with Kim telling the press she’d love to have tea with Duchess Kate. That definitely didn’t happen, but Kim reportedly reached out to Kate with a note wishing her luck in her pregnancy. Again, no response. But there’s no shame in being a little obsessed with the Royal Family or in hitting up the touristy spots while in London. Take a ride on the London Eye, tour Windsor Castle or have high tea with your girlfriends (not including Kate). Maybe even do a little celeb spotting at one of these hotels known for accommodating the rich and famous.

Shopping in Paris
Kanye’s been shacking up in Paris to work on a new album, and the rumor is that Kim wants to give birth in the City of Lights. So during a recent visit, the couple did what they do best: they shopped. And what better place to go shopping than in the fashion capital of the world? Make the most of your splurge with these Paris shopping secrets. Nothing cures heartbreak like a little retail therapy.

Partying in Miami
Kourtney and Khloe are no strangers to Miami; they even had a whole series named for their adventures in this sultry city. While Kourtney stuck around the house with her baby, Khloe hit the social scene, particularly LIV at Fontainebleu, a complex of dance floors known for its high-energy nightlife, and The Plunge, a poolside bar on the roof of the Gansevoort Hotel. But you might need a Cuban coffee (Khloe’s obsessed!) to make it through the night – find one at El Pub in Little Havana or Cacique’s Corner in downtown Miami.

Bungalows in Bora Bora
Last April, Kris and Bruce brought the whole family to Bora Bora for their vow renewal. But a trip to celebrate a divorce or a breakup can be just as fun, if not more so, especially with a stay in an overwater bungalow. Imagine being surrounded by turquoise water on all sides with glass floors offering prime views of the diverse sea life. You should have no problem forgetting your ex on a trip like this.

 

Wanderlust festival in Whistler

Photograph by Ali Kaukas

Need another reason to love September? In addition to Indian summer weather, back to school (shopping) and fall weekend getaways, September is National Yoga Month. Celebrate by visiting one of the thousands of studios and organizations all over the country that are offering free yoga classes and events, many of which are outdoors (so you can enjoy the Indian summer while you’re saluting the sun).

Don’t worry if you aren’t a Vinyasa veteran, these events are open to all levels and are the perfect introduction for newbies to experience all the mind and body benefits of yoga, including bringing people together all over the world. READ MORE

By: Holly C. Corbett

The Lost Girls: Amanda, Jen and Holly.

I’m part of a trio of female travelers known as The Lost Girls, and more than five years ago we quit our media jobs to set out together on a yearlong, around the world trip. Now we’re calling ourselves the Runaway Bridesmaids after we asked ourselves a question that many women have often pondered: What were we going to do with our old bridesmaid dresses that our married pals swore we could totally wear again?

Rather than let those expensive dresses collect dust in our closets, we decided to prove our bride friends right, and put them back to use for a good cause. Except the next time we wear them, we’ll be strapping on running shoes instead of heels to run in our dresses and raise money to help children of sex workers with the Runaway Bridesmaids Race.

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