Travelling far away for a bachelor party (stag party) or bachelorette party (hen night) has become increasingly popular. Throwing a surprise party abroad can provide an exciting experience.
Bachelor or bachelorette holidays are more popular in Europe and North America than other places, because the rise of air travel on a budget as well as cheap, high-quality and fast rail connections, at least in Europe, have made interstate and international travel cheaper and easier.
A bachelor(ette) party is less burdened by tradition than weddings and honeymoons, and can be whatever the organizer makes of it. It could be a part of a wedding journey, or an adventure with activities inappropriate for the wedding day. While it could be a chance for the guest of honor to spend some time away from their partner, mixed-gender parties with both spouses are not unheard of.
Most of these trips are done over a weekend or less. Because of the short duration, travellers usually stick fairly close to home, but they may opt to visit a lower-income country, or a country with more liberal alcohol laws.
|“||A wedding is a funeral where you smell your own flowers.||”|
- Make the journey well before the wedding. There is some tradition to host a bachelor(ette) party on the night before the wedding, but this is practical only if held at the same destination, and very basic. If the party is a journey far away, it can be held months before the big day.
- Agree on costs well in advance. These parties can ultimately cost a fortune. Many groups let the guest of honor ride for free (at least if it is a surprise party) whenever someone has to pick up the tab, which means that your costs are likely to be higher than if you just took a similar vacation on your own. Participants might have very different budget limits. Costs for lodging, restaurant meals, activities, and a trip to a bar can easily run US$200 or more (sometimes much more) per person per day, plus the cost of reaching the destination, so you need to talk about budgets before the planning gets very far.
- Agree on the point. Some people's idea of a fun time is being too drunk to remember it afterwards, but most people want something else: a chance to talk to friends, to have an adventure, or to fill their social media feeds with cool pictures. Your group will need to decide whether the goal is sky-diving or spending the whole weekend drunk, because the two activities don't necessarily mix well.
- Wait for the first toast. There is some tradition of getting the guest of honor (and everyone else) drunk as fast as possible. However, some activities (skydiving, go-karting, etc) have zero tolerance against intoxication. Celebrating a completed adventure with a drink, might be a better idea.
- All for the bride/groom. Though a bachelor(ette) party often includes a few pranks, someone in the crew should be responsible that borders are not crossed, that nobody is being hazed or humiliated, and that the guest of honor will be happy in the end.
- Don't overdo. These parties are usually through within a weekend. There are usually delays, so don't try to mash in too many activities. Time management is important.
- Be realistic. If there are specific things you want to do, then confirm that it's possible. For example, in Las Vegas since 1995, the strip clubs can either get a license to serve alcohol or to show fully nude dancers, but not both. Montreal is a wonderful, laid-back artsy city, but buying marijuana is still illegal there, and even a pack of cigarettes will set you back more than C$10. And if your group rejects clichéd proposals like strip clubs and decides that the main point of the trip is to cheer their favorite sports team on to another victory, then you definitely need to check the team's schedule before doing anything else.
- Avoid common scams. Travellers, especially those who are intoxicated and adventurous, are easy targets for fraud and rip-offs.
- Try to not annoy the locals too much. Yes it is only a weekend, but some cities have bachelor(ette) parties descend upon their inner cities every week (and not necessarily only during some particular season), so you should definitely cut down on the most obnoxious behavior, as the attitude towards those that come after you might just depend on your not urinating in public, sexually harassing random locals, waking up neighbors because you're too drunk to find the apartment you rented, etc. Latvia has a special police unit for dealing with bachelor parties.
- Las Vegas – Many people associate the city with gambling and illegal prostitution, but other people think first of Elvis impersonators, drive-through wedding chapels, and the spectacular light displays in the tourist areas.
- Austin, Texas – Go for tacos, BBQ, river tubing, and music.
- New Orleans – A city filled with food, culture, food, music, and even more awesome food.
- Nashville, Tennessee – Rapidly gentrifying city that is popular with Midwestern bridal parties looking for something a little different (but not so much with the bachelorettes from nearby Southern states, who've been there and done that before).
- Montreal, Canada
- Riga, Latvia
- Tallinn, Estonia
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Los Cabos, Mexico
- Canary Islands, and other resorts and cities in Spain.
- Sligo, Ireland