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What Traveling Women Want


October 7, 2021
Categories: Destinations, Travel Tips, Partners

Women make up more than half of the U.S. population and control or influence 85% of consumer spending, according to Forbes. From household purchases to home improvements to vacation decisions, women wield the purchasing power. 

The travel and tourism industry has seen a corresponding growth in solo female travel and women-only tour operators. According to 2020–21 data by Condor Ferries, travel companies dedicated to woman-only customers have increased by 230% over the past few years. 

[Related Reading: 5 Safety Tips for Solo Women Travelers]

Many of these companies are Global Rescue Safe Travel Partners. Sisterhood of the Outdoors, founded in 2010, has guided hunting and fishing trips to women who love the outdoors. WHOA Travel, a boutique adventure company for women by women, started offering adventures on four continents in 2013 (you can join a group of like-minded females to climb Mount Kilimanjaro on International Women’s Day in 2022). Women’s Hiking Crew started building a hiking community for women in 2019. Finatical Flyfishing, founded in 2021, provides women-only fly fishing trips, complete with female guides, around the globe.  

Today 56% of leisure travelers are women, according to AFAR Magazine. So what travel experiences are women looking for today? Here are a few ideas from our Safe Travel Partners. 

Reconnect with Friends and Family

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You’re looking for a worry-free, one-of-a-kind vacation to reconnect with friends or sisters.  

Mimi Lichtenstein, owner/founder of Truvay Travel, will combine your dreams with her knowledge and connections to create a customized trip. 

“Miami is a great spot for fun, sun and luxury,” Lichtenstein said. “1 Hotels is my favorite for multiple girlfriends — they have really big rooms, some with two kings, and my clients get VIP treatment. I love their seating area, with a Tulum-type feel, down by the beach.” 

Truvay Travel will also recommend restaurants, such as Bazaar by José Andrés for delicious food in a restaurant ambiance or Bâoli for a lively atmosphere and more of a show. If you’re looking for activities, Lichtenstein can add requests to your itinerary: Charter a yacht for half a day, a trip to view graffiti art at Wynwood Walls, or a local beach yoga or spin class. 

Another female favorite is a getaway to wine country.  

“I’d suggest a stay at Montage Healdsburg, a new, beautiful location and property with miles of hiking trails, outdoor yoga classes, ebikes, 11,000-square-foot spa and pickle ball,” Lichtenstein said. “If you are going with a group, the largest suite has three separate bedrooms (each with a separate entrance), a beautiful patio, a fire pit and an outdoor hot tub.” 

The trip could include a “Paris on the Terrace” lunch at nearby Jordan Vineyard, a coveted reservation at SingleThread Farm (which offers an 11-course tasting menu with a Japanese touch) or a visit to Quail and Condor for decadent baked goods.  

Make New Friends with Like-Minded Women 

Just because you may be a solo female traveler doesn’t mean you always exclusively travel as a party of one. In fact, 60% of female travelers who sign up for WHOA Travel’s classic adventures — group travel adventure tour with pre-set dates — come solo, meaning they arrive knowing no one. But by the time the program ends, they leave with a new set of friends – and totally new sense of competence. 

“When you face a challenge, like summiting Africa’s Kilimanjaro or trekking Iceland’s glacial terrain, and have these other women to lift you up along the way, it forms a really incredible bond that lasts,” said Allison Fleece, who co-founded the woman-geared adventure travel company in 2015 with fellow adventure enthusiast Danielle Thornton.  

So much so, most of these women stay in touch after, even becoming travel companions for future adventure endeavors — whether that’s with WHOA Travel or not (however, one in four women do become repeat customers). 

To encourage more and more women to reap the benefits of this type of solo-turned-group travel, WHOA Travel also offers those same adventures catered to specific types of women, including WHOA Plus (for plus-size trekkers) and Wise and Wondrous Women (for trekkers ages 50 and up).  

“It can be intimidating to take the plunge and sign up for these kinds of activities,” said Fleece. “But when you know you’re doing it with like-bodied or similar-in-age women, you’re all the more encouraged and empowered.” 

Learn a New Sport

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“Women now make up between 20 to 30% of surfers, and that number continues to grow,” writes professional surfer Lauren Hill in the foreword to her book, She Surf

Viewers were able to witness the strength and determination of female surfers during their debut at the 2021 Olympic summer games, especially when Carissa Moore landed one of the biggest air reverses in women’s surfing history. She was the first woman to demonstrate this technique, and the first woman to ever win a gold medal in her sport at the Olympics. 

If her moves inspired you to try a new sport, you’re not alone. It is what 60% of the guests do at Costa Rica’s Kalon Surf, a luxury resort meets surf camp. 

“We have built an experience that helps our guests to relax and recharge by learning (or improving) to surf in a beautiful, paradise-like setting full of comfort,” said Kjeld Schigt, founder of Kalon. “You spend every day in the ocean while having fun, having a smile on all the time and connecting with yourself and others again.” 

Although some guests attend to brush up on their skills, you do not need experience for a surf vacation. The coaches at Kalon are passionate and patient with a 3:1 guest-to-surf coach ratio, and a daily post-surf video helps surfers build confidence.  

“We have developed a method that works and built a week-long experience around it to make it one of the best vacations you will ever take,” Schigt said. Women looking for a group experience can book a trip with three friends and share an ocean-view room or a secluded bungalow in the jungle. 

Focus on Their Breathing

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Imagine staying at a retreat hidden in a 22-acre jungle oasis in Costa Rica. You’re 10 minutes from the beach, steps away from nature paths and a private waterfall and treated to meals crafted by a five-star vegan chef. Then pair it with your favorite activity: yoga. 

This is what you’ll find at the Imiloa Institute, another Global Rescue Safe Travel Partner.  

Yoga, a discipline which includes breathing, mediation, and simple postures, isn’t for women only, but its practitioners (82%) and teachers (72%) tend to skew primarily female. And the practice is on the rise. More people needed the mental health benefits of yoga during the pandemic, and the practice grew to 28.75 million participants in 2018 to 55 million in 2020. Worldwide, 300 million people practice yoga. 

“Imiloa is located in the jungle, at the top of a mountain, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Our lush retreat center is located adjacent to the second most biodiverse land on the planet,” said Founder and CEO Jake Sasseville. “It is the perfect setting to experience deep healing, embraced by nature, yet completely luxurious.” 

At the six-day Essential Yoga Retreat at Imiloa, “we will progress through a highly accessible breathing program to pacify the nerves and quiet the mind. You will feel more connected to your authentic self,” said Geoffrey Roniger, yoga practitioner and retreat instructor.  

Imiloa Institute also offers women-only experiences, such as a four-day retreat for entrepreneurial women and a six-day mother-daughter retreat.  

Get Back to Nature

There’s a popular screensaver of the typical dream vacation: a lush, green tropical island with a turquoise blue lagoon surrounded by white sandy beaches and blue skies.  

“It's actually a picture of our favorite new destination, Saint Brandon," said Christophe Desmarais, founder of Catamaran Cruises and a Global Rescue Safe Travel Partner. "This atoll is a little paradise on earth for anglers, free divers, kite surfers and nature lovers.” 

Located to the northeast of Mauritius, an island country in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa, Saint Brandon is the ideal place for a digital detox.  

“The 250-nautical-miles journey takes roughly 36 hours sailing in the blue waters of the Indian Ocean to reach the atoll, where only 200 foreigners are allowed each year,” Desmarais said.  

It’s one of the adventure experiences offered by Catamaran Cruises. Activities range from crayfish hunting in the shallow waters on the reef to fly fishing for bonefish with your own guide. Even if you are new to fly fishing — it is estimated 30% of fly fishers are female — your guide will help you choose how and what you want to fish every session, every day. 

Women get the best of both worlds: back-to-nature excursions on the island and private, luxury accommodations aboard a catamaran. 

“Catamarans offer the best live-aboard option to make the most of the beauty of the atoll and the lagoons,” Desmarais said. “The four cabins below deck are spacious and comfortable with huge hull windows for lots of light. The white oak joinery interior woodwork and elm flooring gives the catamaran a feeling of comfort and coziness. There is nothing that can rival the feeling of being alone miles away from civilization whilst having all the comfort one would expect in the middle of nowhere.”  

Bring Your Protection Team

No matter who you are (male or female, young or old) or how you are traveling (solo or with family), you should travel prepared with a Global Rescue membership. Global Rescue is the world’s leading provider of medical, security, evacuation, travel risk and crisis management services.


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