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Women on the go!

Within the last eight years, a huge change in travel options has become available for women who wish to travel together.  The number of women-only tour operators has increased 230% in the past six years.

This is not to say women always want to leave the men in their lives behind, however women enjoy activities on vacation their “significant others” find boring or uninteresting.  After all, it has always been acceptable for men to take off and go fishing, golfing or hunting.  Guys spend time telling jokes, enjoying the outdoor experience and often “roughing it”.   Nothing wrong with these activities, but they are likely not on the “top 10” list for most women.

Women – young, old, single, divorced, married, or widowed are fueling an explosive growth in the travel world.    Mothers and daughters, sisters, friends or work companions enjoy vacationing together.  They want to get away from it all and not worry if their spouse or children are having a good time.  When traveling with family members, a wife or mother is always concerned that everyone else is happy.  When traveling with other women the pressure is off.

Groups of women will often travel together to celebrate a milestone birthday, health recovery, retirement, divorce or any number of special occasions in their lives.   Why not celebrate with friends you haven’t seen for years while catching up on each others lives over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine in a host of fabulous cities.

A number of opportunities are available for women wanting to travel without a known travel companion.   Join a group on a professionally planned trip designed for women and their unique interests.  On one of these small group programs all luggage is handled, entrance fees are paid and vendor tipping is included, taking the hassle out of traveling.  Within a few hours of meeting unknown fellow travelers, women are sharing experiences of triumph, heartbreak, health, career issues and more – finding the amazing commonalities between women from all parts of the country and the world.

Many women’s trips have activities created around a similar interests with a well-planned itinerary as well as ample free time to explore as you please.  Trips often include special elements that women love to plan, such as cooking classes, wine tasting, dance lessons, Yoga, shopping, meetings with local women, spa treatments, perfume making, and the list goes on.  The destinations are even more varied than the activities. 

Two of my favorite cities for women to enjoy in the U.S. are Savannah and Charleston.  The shopping is wonderful and the restaurants are outstanding.  I took a group of women a few years ago to these two cities where we participated in garden tours which are so glorious in Charleston.   We attended an evening performance at the oldest theatre in the northern hemisphere and treated ourselves to an afternoon tea experience.  On a side trip to Savannah we walked the city streets viewing homes featured in the book “The Garden of Good and Evil”.  A stroll through the neighborhoods was narrated by a woman who knew the novel well and brought the story to life.

Another one of my hosted women’s trips included a visit to Montreal and Quebec, two cities with great European charm, architecture and history.  We wandered the streets as you would in any fabulous international city, yet only a few flight hours away.  On this trip, I recall a friend of mine during dinner one evening designing on the back of a placemat a new business plan. Naturally we all collaborated and a new direction for the business owner was in place.  Nothing quite like the creative talent found in a group of smart and witty women to make something happen.

 I highly recommend more adventure oriented trips as well.  The thrill of venturing into the bowels of a pyramid in Egypt or climbing the ruins of Machu Piichu is beyond exhilarating.    These adventure trips allow women to experience the destination of their dreams and stretch themselves to with new challenges.  

One of my desires is to take a trip to Tuscany to cook with real Italian women.  Imagine experiencing shopping for ingredients in the local market with Italian cooks, then return to prepare family recipes that have been handed down through the generations.  An opportunity not to be missed is to explore the Tuscan area, where local farms produce wine and olive oil.  And a visit to the towns of Siena and San Gimignano to explore these unique walled cities with their wonderful festivals is a must. 

 

A national bestseller Gutsy Women: More Travel Tips and Wisdom for the Road by Marybeth Bond is the perfect introduction to women’s travel opportunities.  According to the “Boston Globe” review Bond’s book is “packed with instructive and inspiring travel vignettes and tips”.  This is your opportunity to lean about Safety & Security, Health and Hygiene on the Road, Budget and Money Matters, Bargaining and Tipping, The Older Adventurer and more.

I encourage females to explore taking a trip together.  Grab your daughters and sisters and girlfriends, carve out a time in your busy lives and make time to appreciate each other.  Decide if you want to be adventuresome by cycling, rock climbing, golfing or if you’re common interests include gardening, theatre, shopping, and art galleries.  The possibilities are endless to entertain women and the memories will enrich your life.

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Al and Kathy Reid