A women-only tour is a fantastic way to explore the world with like-minded women. You’ll have buddies to share the experience with; someone’s always around to take your photo at the iconic sites. Travel can be a hassle these days. Why not have adventures without worrying about all the minutiae of planning a trip yourself?
There is a “don’t wait” attitude and a pent-up desire to travel these days. Not everyone is ready to jump back in the pool in this post-pandemic world — and your best travel partner might be unavailable.
Debra Asberry, founder and CEO of Women Traveling Together®, shares, “The demand for women-only tours has risen as women have become financially independent and want to spend their money pursuing their travel dreams. The convenience of packaged travel, combined with the safety and camaraderie of an all-female group, provides the perfect environment for a great travel experience.”
I have led women’s tours for almost 10 years. I’m happy to share a few reasons you should consider joining one.
1. Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
For many women, it’s just a matter of the right encouragement and support to do the things they’ve always wanted. A women-only tour brings a level of support that can spur one to take on new challenges. I have seen women bloom with new confidence after navigating tricky travel situations.
Maybe you haven’t flown by yourself before. Little things like finding your gate at the airport or locating your luggage at the baggage carousel can deliver pride of accomplishment that motivates you to tackle bigger goals.
2. You Will Fit In
The dynamics of a women-only tour are different than a mixed-gender trip. For starters, you won’t feel like a third wheel on a tour filled with couples.
You’re not identified as a mother, daughter, wife, or significant other. You can simply be yourself. Most find not having men around can be liberating– there’s no gender pressure.
Meeting up with a group of women you don’t know might cause you to hesitate. I get it; that’s normal. One of the top concerns I hear is, “Will I fit in?” Let’s just put that fear to rest. The answer is yes. You are traveling with friends you just haven’t met…yet.
Some tour companies allow tour members to interact online before the tour begins. This alleviates any apprehensions you may have, and it’s a great way to break the ice. Before you know it, you’re swapping information about pre-tour activities, sharing rides from the airport, and making plans to meet up for lunch.
Pro Tip: The tour leader is trained in group dynamics, and she has your back. She will help ease the way for women to bond.
3. Throwback: Do Your Homework
You should do your research. Choose the tour company that is a good fit for you. If you’ve browsed tours on the internet, it’s likely that something in an itinerary jumped out at you and piqued your interest.
- Do you melt in the heat? Then don’t go to Italy in the height of summer.
- Don’t like the cold? Avoid Iceland in winter.
- Some women like longer tours to minimize fixed costs like airfare.
- Some would rather not be away from home for more than a week.
“I typically travel solo, but I’m not opposed to taking a group tour,” says Stacey Wittig, globetrotter and blogger at UnstoppableStaceyTravel.com.
“When researching group tours, my eye is especially caught by women-only tours. I’ve found that on girls-only trips, I come as a stranger, but I leave with loads of friends. It seems we lower our guards and somehow feel freer to be ourselves,” says Wittig about women-only tours.
“Beyond that, tailor-made tour packages offer great value in terms of the wealth of information you receive, plus behind-the-scenes things and little-known places you aren’t likely to experience without a local guide,” she adds.
Most women’s tour companies will match you up with a roommate to save on costs. I’ve shared a room, and bringing earplugs and an eye shade makes it a more comfortable experience.
Don’t like the idea of sharing a room with a stranger? Tour companies offer single rooms. You will probably have to pay extra, but some think it is worth the cost for more privacy.
Pro Tip: Find a group tour that caters to women in your age bracket. You will have more in common with them.
4. Girls Just Want To Have Fun
Women bond very quickly. There is an interesting dynamic that occurs whenever a group of women congregates. We come on a tour with diverse backgrounds, and our unique personalities and life stories only enhance the shared travel experience.
I started with a quick group introduction on one New York City tour. Soon, while walking up Broadway to our Welcome Dinner, what had been a bunch of strangers just a short time before were mingling with happy, excited chatter. I smiled because this is the alchemy that happens on women’s tours. Women who meet on tour keep in touch and may end up traveling together again in the future.
Pro Tip: Don’t be shy. Be the first to reach out to others in the group to say hello and introduce yourself.
5. Sharing Is Caring
Women naturally share. When a suitcase goes missing on arrival at a destination, we immediately share shampoo, clothes, and whatever we can. Women who are good with technology are happy to show how apps and airdrop work. Before you know it, we are sharing photos of our furry friends and family members.
6. Safety In Numbers
Being with a group will make you feel safer than you will traveling alone. Many women on tours are single, divorced, widowed, or have a partner or spouse who doesn’t like to travel and is looking for a secure environment. When unexpected hiccups happen, and you know they will, there is a degree of comfort that the company understands the rules — and can navigate the confusing road of travel issues.
Pro Tip: I always recommend purchasing travel insurance for travel delays and unexpected health emergencies. I have an annual policy with Allianz and an evacuation policy with Medjet. There are single-trip options through both.
7. Your Interests, Centered
Women want different things on a trip than men, including extended time for shopping and more frequent bathroom breaks. There is plenty of free time to strike off on your own to explore your own personal interests.
If you’re a foodie, you’ll always have someone who shares your interest. Some women’s tour companies also focus more on women’s issues, providing insights into the life of women in different cultures.
Pro Tip: Your Tour Leader will have plenty of free-time suggestions and will help pair women with similar interests.
8. Just Go For It
Group tours are sometimes perceived as rigid, but that’s a bum rap. Going with the flow is part of the travel experience; being kind and respectful of your fellow travelers is one of the core principles. I have found that flexibility, thoughtfulness, and a good sense of humor go a long way in making group travel successful. How is a tour for 50+ women different than other group tours?
Asberry, founder and CEO of Women Traveling Together®, shared, “We need to stop lumping everyone over 50 together and assuming they are incapable just because of their age. Many women are still physically active well into their 70s and want to do more than sit on a bus.”
Read the itinerary carefully and note the activity rating for each tour. Walking 3 to 5 miles daily is standard, and you’ll need to keep up with the group’s pace. If there are more stairs or rugged terrain than you can handle, you can always sit out an activity.
On most tours, you will need to be physically able to manage your own bags and be in reasonable health and shape.
9. A Chance To Put Yourself First
Women who put their needs first tend to be much more satisfied with their lives. It’s time for a bit of self-care, engaging in activities that promote well-being and reduce stress. A bucket list item, no matter how large or small, may turn to regret if you wait too long to fulfill it.
“If you think about a woman’s role 60 or 70 years ago compared to today, you’ll remember that most women stayed in the home,” shares Chris Cutler, traveler and blogger at Coldpastandredwine.com.
“Breaking down the bonds of that archaic life has taken time, and women have bonded over it. Women stick together. They tend to have a stronger sense of community, friendship, and support. When they travel together, they immerse themselves in a deeper and more intuitive way,” she adds.
10. The Secret Sauce: Your Tour Leader
The role of the tour leader is key; she’s there to look for your safety, help resolve issues, and facilitate your vacation. Tour leaders are seasoned travel pros trained in group dynamics, tour logistics, and problem resolution. She is part of the group and is passionate about ensuring your travel dreams are realized.
A women-only tour is a fantastic way to travel. Women choose this option because it is fun, friendly, and enjoyable. I’ll put on my tour leader hat and end with my signature phrase, “So, pack your sense of adventure along with your most comfortable shoes; I know we’ll have a fantastic time.”