In any given season, the cast and crew of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette will set off to half a dozen destinations, visiting everywhere from the Bahamas to Peru to Bali. This year, travel restrictions kept the show in one place—Palm Springs, California. We spoke with host Chris Harrison about what a stationary season of the show looked like, where he hopes the franchise will go next, and his 2020 vacation plans.
Like many of us, those plans included a road trip. After spending two months in Palm Springs filming, Harrison drove across his home state of Texas and up into Oklahoma to visit college friends, a drive he says he could take in his sleep. Less familiar is his knowledge of cars themselves. “I don’t know how much a brake job costs, I don’t know how much a battery costs or when it needs to be changed,” he says. “I wish I could tell you, but I really don’t.”
For those answers, Harrison has partnered with Kelley Blue Book, a resource his family has long consulted before buying cars, on the launch of an Auto Repair Guide. Car owners can enter their vehicle year, make, and model to see how much common services like an oil change or battery replacement should cost, and book an appointment nearby directly through the website. “What we used to do to find out the price of our car, as easy as that was, now we can do that with repairs, maintenance, recalls,” Harrison says. “It’s truly genius. I wish it was around when I was younger.” Ahead of the season 16 premiere of The Bachelorette, we spoke to the television host about road trips, how COVID has changed production, and more.
His go-to road trip snack:
Growing up in Texas, I am a sunflower seeds and Dr. Pepper guy. If I have that, I’m pretty much good to go on any road trip, anywhere.
His stance on room service:
I’m not a big room service guy. I just don’t do it, and I don’t know why because there are people that I travel with a lot on the show and that is their thing, they are through and through room service people. I would much rather go out, find a local restaurant, even if it’s, depending on where we are in the world, street food or street fairs, or mom-and-pop shops. I love finding little places off the beaten path.
What he recommends for travelers to his hometown, Dallas:
It’s selfish, because I own a restaurant there. It’s called Steam Theory Brewing. So if you’re ever in Dallas, go check out my restaurant; the best beers in Texas. Again, self-serving.
His longest travel day with the show:
It doesn’t seem like it would be that long, but it took us over two days to get from Vietnam to Lake Taupo, New Zealand. Once you land in New Zealand, it’s a two-hour drive to Lake Taupo. We had to stop in Australia, then Australia to New Zealand; it was an arduous journey to say the least.
What he says when people ask him to recommend travel based on his favorite show locations:
That’s like picking your favorite child. I always say, where do you wanna go, do you wanna go to the beach? Then take me to Bora Bora or Fiji, or a little closer to home, St. Lucia has always been one of my favorite beaches. Sugar Beach is just as spectacular as it gets. I’m a huge fan of going to Europe, and I love that about the show. We’ve been everywhere from Spain, Germany, Italy, up to Ireland, England, you name it. It’s not usually the big names, you know Rome, Barcelona, that really impress; it’s when you go to these smaller locations, these hidden gems that I love. I find that in the United States, too, whether it’s Whitefish, Montana, or Deadwood, South Dakota. Finding some of these little towns along the way are, to me, more impressionable and more exciting.
The show destinations he’s still waiting to cross off:
Two places we haven’t been: one is Japan, and two is Russia. There are other places, I’m sure, that we haven’t been, but those are two that are on my list. Being a foodie and loving it as much as I do, I would love to go to Japan, but I think Russia would obviously be a very interesting backdrop.
The show’s often-broken luggage rules:
When we do The Bachelor, usually we’ll tell the ladies two suitcases and that’s it, cause we gotta travel around the world. Inevitably there are a few that will come with five, six suitcases and we’re like, this doesn’t work, this is not going to be a thing.
Coordinating the first no-travel season:
Wherever we shot, we needed to be able to drive; getting on a plane with that many people just wasn’t an option at the time with the pandemic. As much as I love to travel, being in one place did give us a bit of a different atmosphere that we’re not used to. There was no release valve, where you stop for a couple days, you get on a plane, you head to wherever. This time there was no off switch, you just stayed at the La Quinta Resort in Palm Springs and we kept shooting and kept working and it was all about this love story; there was no break. So it was a very interesting dynamic, it felt a little bit more like Bachelor in Paradise where we go to Mexico for the entire summer and stay at one resort.