24 Trips You'll Want to Plan Right Now

24 Trips You'll Want to Plan Right Now

Christopher Sturman Three women prepare for a trip. Christopher Sturman
Christopher Sturman Three women prepare for a trip.
Christopher Sturman

Shopping

U.S. + Canada

1. GREAT VALUE San Francisco The Four Seasons makes luxury shopping in nearby Union Square even more enticing. Their partnership with stores like Gump's and Boucheron means discounts of up to 20 percent, and some of these merchants have created shopping experiences just for hotel guests, such as a private showing (with a glass of wine) at Emporio Armani. 800/332-3442; www.fourseasons.com;Nightly rates start from $490 plus tax, with a two-night stay required. 2. Boston Leah Eckelberger, of Jean Therapy boutique, will bring samples to try on in your suite at the Hotel Commonwealth. Bonus: Get a 20-percent discount at the Kenmore Square store. 617/933-5000; www.hotelcommonwealth.com; doubles from $379, weekends only.

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3. Paris Booking a room at Le Meurice now includes a consultation with a personal stylist, who will develop a shopping itinerary for you—your own little black book of the First Arrondissement. She might suggest visiting two of the neighborhood's draws: designer Vanessa Bruno's boutique, on the Rue de Castiglione, and parfumerie Frédéric Malle. Back at the hotel, unwind with a wine-based facial at the hotel's spa, followed by a session with Chanel's in-house makeup artist. Ask for the So Paris, So Chic package. 800/650-1842; www.lemeurice.com; doubles from $3,326 for two nights. 4. GREAT VALUE Italy Starhotels' personal shoppers take you to stock up on Gucci, Prada, and Valentino at the outlets near their hotels. Ask for the Starshopping package. 800/816-6001; www.starhotels.com; doubles from $153.

Spa

U.S. + Canada

5. Palm Springs A new three-day package at the Parker Palm Springs is perfect for groups trying to channel their inner child. Think: singing songs at a firepit and playing croquet. When it's time to feel like a grown-up again, the new 16,500-square-foot spa, called the Palm Springs Yacht Club, has treatments such as desert seawater wraps. The spa menu tolerates cheaters, who can supplement their ahi tuna Bibb salad with lobster macaroni and cheese from Norma's restaurant. 800/543-4300; www.palmspringsyachtclub.com; three-day package, from $1,500 per person, single. 6. South Beach The spa package at the Setai includes a rose-petal bath, private yoga sessions, and ayurvedic facials for two. 305/520-6000; www.setai.com; three days, from $3,159 per person, double.

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7. Mauritius Taj Exotica Resort & Spa's new Jiva Grande Spa on this Indian Ocean island culls its signature treatments from more than 6,000 years of ayurvedic tradition. This means you can enjoy a sushupti (rhythmic) massage in between your meditation session and lunch from the spa menu. 866/969-1825; www.tajhotels.com; doubles from $1,090 per person. 8. Mexico Practice Ashtanga yoga and learn healthy cooking (think tamarind sangrita with pan-seared scallops) at the beachside Maroma Resort & Spa on the Riviera Maya, where you can snorkel off the second-largest barrier reef in the world. Spa staffers take guests to meditate at the nearby Mayan ruins of Cobá. 866/454-9351; www.maromahotel.com; doubles from $3,100 per person for five nights.

Beach

U.S. + Canada

9. Hawaii Paddle a traditional outrigger canoe in the Pacific waters off the Big Island, while staying at the Fairmont Orchid. Begin the morning by hiking through the resort's own Holoholokai Petroglyph Park, a jungle with ancient lava etchings. Then take a seaside yoga class or go straight for the ginger, mango, and salt scrub in a waterfall hale (hut), surrounded by fragrant plumeria blossoms and Tahitian ginger flowers. 800/441-1414; www.fairmont.com; doubles from $819. 10. GREAT VALUE St. Thomas At Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, women get pedicures plus a personalized fitting with Zora, a local sandal-maker. Request the If the Shoe Fits package. 888/236-2427; www.marriott.com; doubles from $1,832 for four nights.

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11. Bora-Bora Why leave it to the honeymooners?At the Bora Bora Lagoon Resort & Spa, the overwater bungalows also welcome groups of friends. As part of the Gauguin's Girls package, take Polynesian dance lessons from women in traditional costume, sign up for a Monoi oil massage, and watch locals harvest their most famous crop—black pearls. 800/860-4095; www.boraboralagoon.com; doubles from $5,060 for five nights. 12. Punta Mita Get energized at the Four Seasons with a Pilates mat class or a surfing lesson, or relax with a tequila, lime, and salt rubdown (Margarita Scrub). Your personal chef will prepare dishes like tuna sashimi with Meyer lemon-and-ginger dressing. 888/647-0979; www.fourseasons.com; groups of four from $14,000 for three nights.


Adventure

U.S. + Canada

13. Mount Rainier Ascend the 14,410-foot summit of Washington's highest peak in an all-women group guided by Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. The operator runs at least two female-led expeditions each climbing season (May to September); you'll learn basic climbing skills and reach higher camps each day. It's a challenge for the inexperienced, but RMI has outlined a training plan that will whip novice hikers into shape. 888/892-5462; www.rmiguides.com; $1,395 for six days, triple. 14. Captiva Island The cadets of the U.S. Naval Academy learn to sail on 26-foot Colgate sailboats, and so can you. At Offshore Sailing School's annual six-day women-only sailing program at Florida's South Seas Island Resort, sailors can get basic keelboat certification, and a final day of sailing sans instructor. 800/221-4326; www.offshoresailing.com; $1,799, double.

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15. Bhutan See the snowcapped mountains and sacred Buddhist temples on a hike designed specifically for women over 30 by AdventureWomen, Inc. Initial easy hikes acclimate trekkers to the 12,000-foot altitude. The program also includes a visit to Punakha Dzong, also known as "the Palace of Great Happiness," founded in the 17th century by the man who united Bhutan. 800/804-8686; www.adventurewomen.com; doubles from $5,095 for 15 days. 16. GREAT VALUE Costa Rica Master the longboard at Surf Diva's weeklong, women-only surfing clinic. Catch some waves, then stretch out your kinks with daily yoga sessions and massages in a two-story treehouse in the jungle. 858/454-8273; www.surfdiva.com; six days, from $1,975, double.

Culture

U.S. + Canada

17. New Orleans Take your book club on the road. Groups on an upcoming Classical Pursuits program will go on a guided walking tour through Le Monde Créole to set the literary stage, while studying works such as Kate Chopin's 1893 short story "Désirée's Baby," about a woman's identity struggle in Cajun Louisiana. 877/633-2555; www.classicalpursuits.com; $1,290, per person, double; November 3–7. 18. New York City tour guide Kitt Garrett will customize group trips through culturally and historically significant areas within the five boroughs. Choose your neighborhood (SoHo, Williamsburg), and she'll take it from there—even planning meet-and-greets with local artists. www.dnykg.com; from $1,390 per group of up to eight people.

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19. GREAT VALUE San Miguel de Allende Mother-daughter team Maria "YaYa" Marquez and Patricia Merrill Marquez run weeklong Mexican cooking sessions out of their B&B. Trip highlights include a visit to the local market to get fresh ingredients for dishes like mole poblano with chicken. 52-301/591-4129; www.mexicancookingvacation.com; $1,500 per person, double. 20. Australia Helen Read's experiences working as a nurse with the art-producing indigenous peoples in Western Australia and the country's Northern Territory gives her inside access to the remote communities, which she shares with participants on her five-day Didgeri Air Arts tours. 61-8/8948-5055; www.didgeri.com.au; five days, $6,015 per person, double; March through October.

Volunteer

U.S. + Canada

21. GREAT VALUE United States On a Women Build program with Habitat for Humanity, groups of women learn everything from hanging siding to using power tools, while constructing homes for other women and families in need in cities across the country. More than 150 Women Build events were scheduled this year, and more are planned for 2007. 800/422-4828; www.habitat.org; free. 22. Golden Gate National Recreation Area Create trails, build gates, and clean up debris in California's Marin Headlands. From March through November, the American Hiking Society runs guided weeklong trips for groups of up to 10 female friends looking to do some good together. 301/565-6704; www.americanhiking.org; from $130, double.

Abroad

23. Himalayas The price of a three-week trek with Tourcan Vacations includes a contribution to Child Haven International, which runs programs that provide educational services, occupational training, and family planning to Nepalese, Indian, Tibetan, and Bangladeshi women and children. If that doesn't provide a sense of accomplishment, the finish line—at Mount Everest's base camp, at 17,998 feet—should do it. 888/359-8685; www.tourcanvacations.com; trips from $4,442 per person, double. 24. The Women's Global Green Action Network runs programs with human rights organization Global Exchange that allow participants to work with female environmental leaders developing strategies for change. This year's trip—to Bolivia—takes place October 2006, and more are planned for 2007. 415/788-3666; www.wggan.org.

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