During the course of the season, the bachelor eliminates candidates (see The elimination process), with the bachelor proposing marriage to his final selection.The participants travel to romantic and exotic locations for their adventures, and the conflicts in the series, both internal and external, stem from the elimination-style format of the show. In practice, the show does not always follow its designed structure, and those variations are often a source of drama and conflict.

The other women learn that a woman has been eliminated when that woman's suitcase is taken away by a crew member.

A woman may withdraw from the competition at any time if she finds herself no longer interested in the bachelor.

The Agoura Hills, California mansion has not been used on several occasions, including during season 7- where filming took place in New York City, home of Charlie O'Connell, who had appeared in Sliders with his brother Jerry O'Connell; Paris, France for season 8; and Rome, Italy- where Lorenzo Borghese, who is half Italian, lived- for season 9.

On each Bachelor episode, the bachelor interacts with the women and presents a rose to each woman he wishes to remain on the show. Eliminations are based upon the bachelor's personal feelings about each contestant, guided primarily by the impression made by each woman during dates or other events of the week.

The show's success has led producer Mike Fleiss to create multiple spin-offs, including The Bachelorette, in which the format is gender-reversed.

The bachelorettes are eliminated contestants from The Bachelor.

On rare occasions, a woman is removed from the show for breaking one of the rules.

The bachelor has wide discretion in choosing how many and when to present the roses.

The final third of the episodes within a season are filmed traveling the world.