Chris Harrison on Filming an Entire Season in a Hotel and the Future of 'Bachelor' Travel
The Bachelorette host wants to film a “small town version” of his hit show.
With many international borders closed this year due to the global coronavirus pandemic, Americans around the country turned to their cars and embraced the great American road trip as a way to travel in 2020. And Chris Harrison, host of The Bachelorette, is no different.
Like looking for the perfect mate, Harrison understands that buying a car and keeping it in great condition can be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be as dramatic as the upcoming return of The Bachelorette, which he’s called the “most explosive” season yet. Harrison teamed up with Kelley Blue Book and its Auto Repair Guide to help Americans find the perfect car or repair shop worthy of their “final rose.”
Travel + Leisure had the opportunity to chat with Harrison over the phone about what it was like filming the new season of his show while locked down at La Quinta Resort & Club in Palm Springs, his favorite filming locations from the series, and his own hot takes and tips for the perfect road trip.
Travel + Leisure: What advice do you have for taking a road trip?
Chris Harrison: “My advice is the same as the way I talk to my kids before a road trip — and that is get your car checked out. Make sure that you go to kbb.com, get it into a dealer, get it checked out. Even the little things, like tire pressure, tire balance… stuff we can't do at home, but you need that stuff done [to] make sure your car is running.”
Where would you recommend someone take a road trip?
“I just took a road trip across Texas and Oklahoma to see friends and family, because I'm from Texas. I forgot how much I love to drive. I do it a little bit here in California — it's such a great state to drive up and down the coast, up to Pebble Beach and all around. I roll down the windows, put on a good podcast or some music, and hit the road.”
What was it like filming The Bachelorette at one hotel for such an extended period?
“It was very interesting. Usually, like normal travelers, we will get a hotel and [spend] five, six, seven days tops. We move on to the next hotel. That's a typical stay in a resort, and this one was obviously extraordinary because we were there for seven to eight weeks — and we’re about to do it again.”
How did you manage those weeks?
“I have spent a majority of my adult life in and out of hotels. If there was ever somebody who's a professional traveler, it would be me. One of my main tricks is to try and make the room as personal as possible. I'll take personal pictures. I'll take candles that I love, wine that I love to drink — just personal touches, little things that remind me of home. I even took a little practice putting green that you can roll up.”
Your show is famous for its incredible trips. Where do you see that going as the world continues to battle the coronavirus.
“Right now, if I had to guess, we keep it the same way we did The Bachelorette, which was pretty locked down and in one location. But my hope is next year, things start to open up a little bit — at least domestically. Maybe we could get into Mexico or up into Canada, but keeping it pretty close as far as traveling internationally.”
COVID-19 aside, do you have a dream location to shoot?
“I love traveling internationally, but honestly, some of my favorite stops have been these great towns off the beaten path here in the United States. I would love for us to do a cross-country trip where we're not just stopping in the big cities — L.A., Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Detroit — but going to these smaller towns. I would love to do a small town version of The Bachelor where we just take these trips and every week we stop at a new, small town, and find the mom-and-pop shops and restaurants — I think that that would be a phenomenal season and a great trip.”
The new season of The Bachelorette premieres Oct. 13 on ABC.
This interview was lightly edited for length and clarity.