March’s National Women’s History Month kicks off with illuminating looks at female accomplishments, goals, trends and challenges — with March 8th as the key celebratory International Women’s Day. One of the exciting, empowering shifts for American women is their increasingly passionate quest to travel — with family and female friends, as well as alone: solo adventurers. In my interview with Patricia Schultz, renowned author of the worldwide bestseller 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and the new Global Ambassador for Trafalgar, a guided-vacations company, she explains: “There are an astonishing number of women of all ages who no longer seek or need permission — nor emotional support or encouragement from spouses, friends or colleagues — to travel. They are gutsy and bold, courageous and impressively strong. Travel breeds resourcefulness and resilience.” Women who make travel a life priority “take on roles of leadership,” she continues. “Travel helps us understand our place in the world and understand more clearly the life we want to create for ourselves. It makes us better people — and invariably better wives, mothers, sisters and friends. Travel also helps keep us humble — and tolerant and respectful of other people and other cultures.”
A new Trafalgar survey of USA women — part of its just-launched #SheGoes campaign — delivers supporting data: 86% of women state that they are not afraid to travel regardless of what is going on in the world today; 73% of women feel that travel has made them stronger; and 69% of women draw inspiration from travel. Women also now play vast roles in the global tourism industry, representing 60 to 70 per cent of its employees.
Travel operators who offer women-only small group tours are burgeoning, points out Schultz, focusing on activities (hiking, biking, going on safari), destinations (national parks, Italy, Machu Picchu) and interests (writing, wine-tasting, painting, cooking). Larger companies present limited departures where single supplements are waived — and women travelers are usually those taking advantage. Cruise companies are building ships with more single-occupancy cabins. “Solo travelers are no longer considered an oddity or an insignificant niche market,” she continues. “They are courted, accepted and welcomed as a common and growing occurrence in the travel world.”
To spotlight five destinations that complement the core reasons that most women say they love travel — to celebrate, reflect, test their limits with adventure, escape and learn — Trafalgar has built journeys around those inspirations; click here or below.
#SheGoes to Celebrate
Milestone birthday? College pals reunion? Job advancement? Retirement? Feel pampered like royalty with Trafalgar’s Castles & Manors. Relish the beauty and bounty of emerald Ireland with stays in a sumptuous fairytale-like castle and charming manor houses.
#SheGoes to Reflect
Time away is time to reflect, recharge and reimagine. Consider a soul-searching excursion to India with Trafalgar’s Golden Triangle and Varanasi. Embark on this spiritual sojourn — participating in candle-lit traditions on the Ganges River, as well as visiting the pyramidal Palace of Winds, iconic Taj Mahal and sandstone-marble halls of Amber Fort.
#SheGoes to Test Her Limits
Adventure travel tests boundaries, develops confidence and galvanizes a sense of wonder, both internal and external. Trafalgar’s The Trailblazer begins in glittering Las Vegas, then deftly dives into the rugged desert landscapes of Arizona: Grand Canyon, Painted Desert and Sedona’s red rock buttes and cliffs. Hiking boots heaven.
#SheGoes to Learn
With a thirst for knowledge — art, history, customs, cuisines — Trafalgar’s Rome and Tuscan Highlights tour leads an enlightening route in Rome and through medieval towns of Tuscany, stopping at the thermal spa resort of Montecatini. Be awed by the marble-gorgeous Cathedral in Siena. Learn how to cook pasta like an Italian. Ciao!
#SheGoes to Escape
Sometimes getting away means tuning out in order to tune in. Let your hair and guard down on Trafalgar’s Natural Wonders of Costa Rica, an intimate country-and-beach experience to rainforests, volcanoes and crater lakes — with opportunities to mingle with locals, gazing at fresh horizons in novel ways. Discover the joy-affirming meaning of pura vida — pure life.
For family travel embracing children as well as multiple generations, women today are most often the planners: researching, booking, ordering passports, packing, orchestrating a hundred details. It is time and effort worth the results. “If you want to grow and stretch,” adds Schultz, “You’ve got to…move! Go! As soon as someone says that you can’t, show them that you can.”