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Shapecations: Bridal Boot Camps on Location

In T-minus four months, I’m getting married. When I got engaged I promised myself that I wouldn’t be that bride-to-be: no talking about my wedding all the time (obviously failing at that), no obsessing over silly details, and no crash diets to fit into my dress.

But I’m here to tell you that wedding dress shopping is a humbling event. Those ornate gowns are altered to fit like a glove–and if you aren’t in top physical form, it will show every single buckle and bulge.

That’s why I was intrigued when my friend Carly indulged in a “shapecation” with her bridesmaids. In fact, millions of people were probably intrigued because Good Morning America followed her on her journey. Check out the video here.

Photo courtesy of IgoUgo member joyvoyager.

A shapecation is similar to a girls’ spa weekend but with a heavy emphasis on slimming down for the big day and making some lasting lifestyle changes. Carly and her closest friends decamped for a long weekend at Desert Springs J.W. Marriott in Palm Desert, California and signed up for an expensive comprehensive package. But cheaper options do abound.

You don’t need an upcoming wedding to organize a shapecation with your female friends. Many gyms, resorts, and athletic programs across the nation offer short-burst weekend adventures you can mix in with shopping and spa treatments, which will help you keep costs and calories down.

While normally I hate to work out, shapecations appeal to me because of the travel element. Getting up and jogging a few miles would be a lot more tempting if I were running through a stunning desert or on the sidewalks of a glittering city. Plus, hitting the gym together is always more fun and it would be nice to come home from vacation weighing less–not more–for a change.

Thrill-seeking ladies could even take the concept outdoors by staying in a state park and setting personal goals for hiking and biking. Or for a more structured environment, book a stay at a resort like the Red Rock Casino Resort Spa in Las Vegas, which offers an entire Adventure Spa program. You and your friends could kayak, mountain bike, and rock climb your way to thinner thighs and still catch up on all the good gossip.

Is the girls’ getaway moving away from late nights and decadent wining and dining? I don’t know, but I, for one, am willing to give anything a try that helps me de-stress and fit into that unforgiving dress.


My name: Alison Presley

Nickname: Presbo, because I'm good police.

How I earn my keep: I'm the manager of Travelocity's Travel for Good program. Visit Travel for Good to learn more about our green travel and voluntourism initiatives!

What kind of traveler am I: I'm an intrepid food explorer. I usually starve myself on the plane (not that that's too hard to do) so that the moment my toes touch foreign soil I'm ready to sample new and exciting cuisine. I like to dine everywhere from hole-in-the-wall local secrets to Michelin Guide gems. Cannel├ęs, poi, boiled peanuts, oxtail soup, poutine--there's no stopping this adventurous palate.

Greatest travel lesson I've learned: It doesn't cost a lot of money to do good. Offsetting your carbon impact only adds a few bucks to your trip, green hotels are very affordable, and volunteering locally during your vacation is a great way to give back and learn about the culture.



I think this is the female equivalent of those crazy trips guys go on to visit every baseball stadium in North America in a month.


I love the idea! I never enjoyed a yoga class more than when I took one beachside in Cancun.

Kimberly Shannon

How fun! My girlfriends and I travel to Palm Desert every year for a girl’s weekend – shopping, great dining, and a lot of sun! Now I can swap a great workout with a great meal and not feel as guilty. Thanks for the tip!

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