For centuries, women hiking, women traveling solo and women in the wilderness have been rarities. According to the 2018 Outdoor Recreation Report by the Outdoor Foundation, only 20 percent of women continue to enjoy outdoor recreation by the time they are 66, including activities like hiking, camping, fishing, climbing and more. This is in marked contrast to the 40 percent of men still participating in their 60s. But, as access to education and the outdoors has increased, women are donning their hiking boots, backpacks and waders in droves, forever changing the landscape of outdoor recreation travel.

But it’s not just education and access that have increased women’s participation in hiking, solo travel and general outdoor recreation. Something powerful happens when a woman explores the wilderness. And it’s that uniquely special experience that keeps her coming back.

What is that experience? Our women-owned Global Rescue partners see it all the time as they lead women-only trips to breathtaking new places. What moves their clients to get outside? What are their favorite trips? How does a Global Rescue membership help travelers navigate the potential pitfalls of outdoor adventures? Let’s find out.

A group of woman hike up a steep, rocky hillside with green bushes surrounding the trail.



Breaking down societal stereotypes

Sunny Stroeer founded AWExpeditions (AWE) following her 2014 solo-climb of Aconcagua in Argentina. Struck by how often she was asked, “Where is your guide? Are you here with your husband?” Stroeer realized that while the presence of women in the wilderness has increased over the years, “there seems to be a lingering assumption that, on average, the mountains are for men.”

Shea McCrary joined AWE in 2022 as a part-time operations manager and shared that her experience lined up with Stroeer’s.

“Before working with AWE, every climbing mentor I had learned from had been a man and my regular climbing partners were predominantly older white men as well,” she shared. “I struggled to find consistent female adventure partners.”

McCrary believes in outdoor adventure travel for women because it “has the potential to break societal stereotypes and empower women by showcasing their strength, independence and leadership in traditionally male-dominated environments. By embracing physical and mental challenges in outdoor adventures, women gain self-confidence, develop resilience and find empowerment in pushing their limits.”

Favorite Trip

McCrary loves planning trips in Central and South America.

“We have trips that span from glaciated volcanoes outside of Mexico City like Pico de Orizaba all the way to the high peaks of Peru and Argentina,” she said. “There is something so transformative about the landscape.”

How Global Rescue Helps

For McCrary and the teams she leads with AWE, a Global Rescue membership provides emergency medical protection and peace of mind.

“Even with a solid plan, an undeniable skillset and an organized team, it’s still possible for family and friends to worry,” she said. “But with Global Rescue, our travelers are able to share their peace of mind with loved ones.”


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


She also notes that AWE recommends an annual policy to bring that peace of mind to training challenges, longer hikes or solo adventures throughout the year.


WHOA: Women-Powered Adventures

“I never knew how strong I was.”

Allison Fleece and Danielle Thornton started WHOA: Women Powered Adventures in 2013 after climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania for the first time.

After returning home, Fleece said, “we were physically back in New York, but our minds were back on Kilimanjaro. We quit our jobs, started this nonprofit and six months to the day of our first trip, we were going back and had organized other scouting trips.”

WHOA now takes thousands of women on hundreds of trips in 13 locations around the world.

It’s that addictive sense of empowerment that inspires Fleece as she plans and takes women on these adventures.

“A common theme we hear is ‘I never knew how strong I was,’” she said. “Women come back feeling they can truly do anything. The confidence was always there, but doing something like the Kilimanjaro hike brings it out.”

And it has “real life” implications, Fleece said. “Women feel they can ask for that promotion, quit a toxic job, advocate for themselves or a cause they believe in.”

Favorite Hike

“Probably Kilimanjaro, but it’s hard to pick!” she said. “We take the Machame route, which has five unique climate zones; it never gets boring. And our local team – our guides, porters and cooks – make it truly spectacular. The hospitality is second to none.”

How Global Rescue Helps

Fleece said Global Rescue has given them reassurance and confidence to travel to remote regions, knowing they can call Global Rescue if they are in a predicament.


[Related Reading: What Traveling Women Want]


She also notes when it comes to medical evacuations, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, it’s worth the comparatively small price of a membership to have the peace of mind that you are protected.

A fishing woman standing in the water holds a large silver fish she caught.


Finatical Flyfishing

Expanding our minds

Stephanie Albano founded Finatical Flyfishing because she often found resources for women scarce in this male-dominated sport.

“I wanted to offer a fun environment for women to pursue flyfishing and experience new destinations,” Albano said.

It’s those new destinations – and their people and cultures – that make her excited about creating women-only fishing trips around the world.

“Travel teaches us about new people, cultures and ideas, which expand our minds,” she said. “It also gives us the confidence-building opportunity to meet our fishing goals in a foreign country, while discovering new gratitude for all we have back at home.”

Favorite Flyfishing Spot

Albano said she considers herself blessed to fish in beautiful international destinations, but her favorite spot is still Henry’s Fork of the Snake River in Idaho.

“The challenging fishing, the beautiful landscape, wildlife and amazing people make it a very special place,” she said.

How Global Rescue Helps

“Being in a foreign country with a different medical system isn’t always the easiest situation,” she said. “Knowing you can pick up the phone and someone will handle all of the logistics, medical care and other emergency needs for you is very reassuring.”


Bring Your Protection Team

No matter who you are, how you travel, or who you might travel with, a Global Rescue membership is always a good idea. There’s no doubt that women-only trips unlock confidence and inspire the next generation of women travelers. But a Global Rescue membership boosts that sense of adventure with the mental security that there’s someone there who’s always got your back in case something goes awry.