All-women travel has become a firmly entrenched and growing trend, as demonstrated by the sheer number of entries listed here. Some single women choose to travel this way because there's safety in numbers, and other women travel for camaraderie. Increasingly, women are taking trips with best friends, sisters, aunts, moms, and so forth, to bond in a way that isn't possible today, as many families are separated by miles, jobs, and family commitments. Here is a list of companies, web sites, and publications geared toward helping women travel.
Some points to keep in mind:
- Inclusion: There is a clear division between tours that are inclusive for all women (some even give financial aid to mothers), and those specifically targeted to a subset of women (i.e., older women, singles, lesbians). All of the resources below specifically state they are for women of all ages, lifestyles, backgrounds, and sexual orientations.
- Pricing: Ask what's covered in the price of the tour. Some of the providers that cover all costs provide luxury travel; others are independently minded, and others still as no-frills as it can get. Many don't cover food or admissions, in order to allow maximum flexibility.
- Accommodations: Many travelers cite the joy of sharing a room with fellow females: the opportunity to truly bond with at least one other person. This can be especially beneficial to shy solo travelers who might get more out of the trip by having at least one familiar face at breakfast. Others, still reeling from college roommate nightmares, choose solo accommodations. Check to make sure the arrangements will suit your traveling style.
Agencies and Operators
- Adventures in Good Company (tel. 877/439-4042; www.adventuresingoodcompany.com) offers women small group hiking, biking, canoeing, and whitewater rafting in destinations around the globe, for travelers of all fitness levels, at moderate prices.
- Adventure Women (tel. 800/804-8686; www.adventurewomen.com) calls itself the "grand dame" of women's adventure travel since 1982, leading hikes through Montana's Glacier Mountain, the Sonora Desert, kayaking through Baja, and horseback rides through Ireland, among other trip types.
- Going Places (tel. 707/935-0595; www.goingplacestours.com) offers walking tours for women of all ability levels and is led by the former deputy director of the California State Parks.
- Gutsy Women Travel (tel. 866/IM-GUTSY; www.gutsywomentravel.com) runs by the motto "It's your life! Live it" and to that end, offers tours and cruises in various destinations across the globe for women who are seeking a cultural journey, a rare antique, a gourmet adventure, or a workout, from May through December. Trips typically include airfare.
- Las Olas (tel. 831/625-5748; www.surflasolas.com) claims it's a "reverse finishing school -- we makes girls out of women." Las Olas has introduced over 2000 women to surfing, via the Pacific Coast of Mexico, since its inception in 1997. Trips run November-June.
- Sacred Journeys for Women (tel. 888/779-6696; www.sacredjourneys.com) leads tours to Ireland, Hawaii, Crete, Costa Rica, England and Scotland, as well as themed tours such as "Da Vinci Tour" and "Frida Kahlo -- Mexico City" and "Bali Yoga Retreat." The company was founded ten years ago and leads tours that focus on women's spirituality and history.
- Sacred Sites Tours (tel. 612/823-2442; www.sacredsitestours.com) leads women and girls on tours of mythical, historical and other enchanted spots in England and Scotland. Tours are small -- 12 or fewer people -- and typically fill up quickly.
- Shop Around Tours (tel. 212/684-3763; www.shoparoundtours.com) Deborah Mayer leads women who are in search of a good deal on an insider's, bargain-hunting trip of various locations in Italy. Trip cost typically include round-trip airfare from New York City.
- Unleashed Adventures (tel. 914/967-6941; www.unleashedadventures.com) takes travelers to more exotic locales including Fiji, Easter Island, Kenya, and Argentina and runs trip that are "custom designed to appeal to the multi-faceted interests of women."
- Western River Expeditions (tel. 800/453-7450; www.westernriver.com) runs a women-only, four-day adventure to the Green River in Southeast Utah, with rafting, hiking, camping, yoga, and massage therapy at $995 per person.
- Woman Tours (tel. 800/247-1444; www.womantours.com) is geared toward beginner and advanced bicyclists who want to travel through scenic parts of the United States, Asia, South America and Europe. Options range from the four-day trip along Maryland's Eastern shore ($930) to a more elaborate, intensive 57-day Lewis and Clark Expedition Trail, priced at $7650.
- Women Traveling Together (tel. 800/795-7135; www.women-traveling.com) offers a variety of tours all over the world, from long weekend getaways to spa retreats and adventure travel, ranging from 4-12 days. Membership costs $45 and isn't mandatory, but joining makes you eligible for discounts.
- Women Welcome Women World Wide (5W) (www.womenwelcomewomen.org.uk) is a 21-year-old organization that works to foster international travel by enabling women of different countries visit one another, fostering friendship, connections, and cross-cultural understanding. The company boasts around 2500 members in over 70 countries.
- The Women's Travel Club (tel. 800/480-4448; www.womenstravelclub.com) organizes 25 to 30 tours (usually all-inclusive) a year with an emphasis on foreign culture, scenery and safety. Requires a $35 membership fee and the company regularly donates to charities that benefit women and girls.
- Women's Quest (tel. 303/545-9295; www.womensquest.com), founded by world champion triathlete Colleen Cannon, encourages women's self-discovery through physical activity. Retreats are geared toward all abilities, and you can try yoga, bicycling, mountain biking, or trail running for the first time in various locations around the world.
- Womanship (tel. 800/342-9295; www.womanship.com) is a sailing school for women of all ages, based in Annapolis, Maryland. Courses are available in locations such as Florida Keys, Great Lakes, New England and Long Island, Vancouver, the British Virgin Islands. They also offer "Sail and See Adventures" in Greece, Turkey, New Zealand and Ireland.
- Adventure Divas (www.adventuredivas.com) is the online companion to the popular PBS program of the same name and provides stories and information from women travelers on the fringe.
- Her Mail (www.hermail.net) is a free e-mail service that allows women to connect with other women travelers in its international directory. Over 10,000 women from 35 countries are currently registered.
- Journeywoman (www.journeywoman.com) is an online resource just for women, offering a newsletter, top travel picks, great places to eat worldwide, travel gifts and other useful tidbits and information.
- Mountain Gear (www.mountaingear.com) is an online retailer of active wear.
- A Woman Alone: Travel Tales from Around the Globe, by Faith Conlon, ed. (Seal Press)
- A Woman's Passion for Travel: True Stories of World Wanderlust, by Marybeth Bond and Pamela Michael (Travelers' Tales Guides)
- Gutsy Women: More Travel Tips and Wisdom for the Road, by Marybeth Bond (Travelers' Tales Guides)
- Safety and Security for Women Who Travel, by Sheila Swan and Peter Laufer (Travelers' Tales Guides)
- A Journey of One's Own, 3rd Edition: Uncommon Advice for the Independent Woman Traveler, by Thalia Zepatos (Eighth Mountain Press)
- Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World, by Rita Golden Gelman (Three Rivers Press)
- Travel Alone and Love it: A Flight Attendant's Guide to Solo Travel, by Sharon B. Wingler (Chicago Spectrum Press)
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