Planning a vacation can be daunting, especially when you are balancing factors such as time, expense and any limitations brought about by recent events. However, with the help of a vacation planning service, your next trip can be lots of fun and less hassle. Melissa Johnson, creator of MLJ Vacay, develops detailed vacation itineraries for domestic and international trips as well as plans for quick weekend getaways and even events like bachelorette parties.
“I love travel and it has always been something that is a priority for me,” Johnson says.
Growing up, Johnson’s mom valued vacation time and would regularly plan family trips. Carrying this trait into her adult life, Johnson noticed that others her age didn’t necessarily do the same. Then, when organizing a bachelorette party as a maid of honor, she knew she could take an ordinary experience and elevate it with a bit of research. Combining her love for travel and a desire to share experiences, Johnson was inspired to create her vacation planning service.
“I just hope that [MLJ Vacay] continues to grow and get people out exploring. I am very passionate about travel and the experiences that it leads to,” Johnson says. “I just want to alleviate that stress of planning, so that [travelers] can just focus on creating the memories.”
She says that when it comes to a big event, you don’t necessarily have to go far to achieve an extravagant, unforgettable experience. When planning, research local businesses and restaurants in the area and look for ways that you can put your own unique twist on something ordinary, or what Johnson refers to as “putting a little sparkle” into it.
Check out a bit of Johnson’s expertise in this itinerary for a bachelorette party on Lake Minnetonka.
Find Your Inner Balance - 9AM
Johnson says when choosing an activity to do with your bride tribe, it is important to consider something that is unique and is fun for everyone to participate in. To kick off the weekend on “Tonka,” she suggests paddleboard yoga. Simply rent paddleboards from Black Oar, a local water sport supply (Editor's note: Black Oar is now closed), and request a traveling yoga sculpt teacher from KB Sculpt to instruct yoga basics while balancing on the water. This exhilarating class takes fitness to the next level in a way that is engaging for all and encourages core strength, flexibility and balance; earning you a celebratory drink or two after it all.
Let’s Float - 10:30AM–2:30PM
Continue basking in the sun and enjoy everything that the lake has to offer while on a boat. Similar to a ride share app like Lyft or Uber, Float, is a website that connects boat owners with renters through a simple search. Rent a boat, bring floaties, tumblers, a cooler filled with snacks and spritzers, and nautical décor to pump up the fun.
Retreat and Refuel - 3PM
Head over to 6Smith to lounge on their breathtaking rooftop that overlooks the lake. This modern American restaurant offers a flexible menu equipped with an array of delectable savory snacks to graze on and a selection of handcrafted cocktails. Plan to munch on a few appetizers or even plan a larger, early dinner to refuel after being active outside all day. Call ahead to work with their event coordinator to ensure adequate accommodations for you and your girl crew.
Light Up the Night - 5PM
End the night in a way that best suits the bride’s personality. Whether its relaxing at an Airbnb with bottles of great wine and rich charcuterie spreads, or it’s a night out cruising around town in a limo before stopping to sing your heart out at Karaoke at Uptown’s James Ballentine VFW Post 246, you can create the greatest memories when you keep participants’ interests in mind.
Make it your own
There a lot of things you can to do to put a little sparkle in your experience. The first step is to ask your venue what they can do to make it feel more personalized.
- Create a custom printed menu that features the bride’s name and wedding hashtag.
- Develop a pre-set menu to make meals more cost and time efficient.
- Ask the bartender to concoct a signature cocktail for your event.
- Have a bottle of Champagne chilled on the table ready for a toast.