Escape #3: Change-Your-Luck Vacation
Who: Gals who love Guinness
What: City-Wide Date-A-Thon!
Where: Lisdoonvarna, Ireland
Why: Because you’re through with American men—and ready to try the luck of the Irish. The tiny town of Lisdoonvarna is home to the Matchmaking Festival, which runs from August 31 to October 7. The festival includes a Speed Dating Weekend—you’ll chat with an eligible bachelor for three minutes, and when the bell tolls, move on to your next prospect. Then, while the bean counters tabulate the matches, you’re free to dance. When you wake up, you’ll have a list of successful matches to keep you busy for the rest of your stay. As for the grand finale of the Matchmaking Festival? Why, the crowning of the most eligible singles, “Mr. Lisdoonvarna” and the “Queen of the Burren,” of course. And it’s good to have goals.
How: Fly into Dublin and then take a connecting flight to Shannon Airport, which is about 40 minutes from Lisdoonvarna. The town itself is located in County Clare, on the west coast of Ireland, about 155 miles from Dublin.
Cost: Flights to Dublin and Shannon start at $600; accommodations start from $100 per night, depending on the hotel you choose. We suggest the three-star Hydro Hotel (+353 065 7074005; firstname.lastname@example.org) or the Royal Spa Hotel (+353 065 7074288; royalspahotel.com), both located in Lisdoonvarna.
Best time to go: August 31 to October 7, for the Matchmaking Festival
Contact: For more information, visit matchmakerireland.com or call Tourism Ireland at 1-800-223-6470.
Escape #4: Walks On The Wild Side
Who: Wannabe queens of the jungle
What: Women-Only Walking Safaris
Where: Kenya, Africa
Why: You’re done with long walks on the beach and ready to try something a little more exotic. Enter African Latitude, which operates mobile, tented camping safaris. Along with your newly minted girlfriends, you’ll walk roughly five miles a day through Africa’s game parks, taking in landscape views and checking out local tribal communities. (Don’t worry—you’ll arrive back at camp with enough time to enjoy a sunset cocktail.) You’ll also get off the beaten track with a Land Rover-safari, catching glimpses of game along the way.
How: All trips begin and end in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. The majority of flights from North America go via London or Amsterdam, though good options exist via Dubai as well.
Cost: $4,818 per person, all-inclusive inside Kenya, not including international airfare
Best time to go: Kenya is mostly a year-round destination, with the exception of a rainy season in April and May, which should be avoided. The Great Wildebeest Migration takes place from July to September each year, but if you miss it, resident herds in the Maasai Mara ensure guests will be able to see wildebeests year-round as well.
Contact: Sarah Fazendin, (303) 895-9583 or Sarah.Fazendin@AfricanLatitude.com.
Escape #5: Get Creative
Who: For the next Georgia O’Keefe, waiting to bloom
What: Artista Creative Safaris for Women
Where: Carmel, California
Why: Unleashing your inner creativity takes more discipline than you think—but it can also be a lot of fun. Retreat to the art village of Carmel-by-the Sea, where you will be immersed in three days of sessions in a variety of mediums. Choose from: abstract painting, media, or hot wax (which sounds kinkier than it really is). The professional art studio provides a private, nurturing environment along with regular Chardonnay breaks to ward off creative paralysis.
How: Carmel-by-the-Sea is a two-hour drive from San Francisco, or a six-hour drive from Los Angeles. Guests may also fly into the Monterey Peninsula Airport—Artista provides airport transfers to and from there.
Cost: Double occupancy ranges from $1,050 - $1,450; single occupancy ranges from $1,450 - $1,995. The package includes airport transfers, a welcome dinner party, three nights’ inn accommodation, daily breakfast, three days of art instruction, all materials, professional equipment, and afternoon yoga. Massages and spa treatments are available for an extra cost.
Best time to go: March to October
Contact: For more information, visit artistacreative.com, call (831) 625-5748, or email email@example.com.
Teresa Rodriguez Williamson is the author of Fly Solo: The 50 Best Places on Earth For A Woman To Travel Alone