What if you could travel anywhere...

NOTHING TO FEAR

What if you could travel anywhere...

Move over family trips; all-women travel is here! Days when women traversed with families or husbands are done and dusted. Solo travel or all-women travel is no more frowned upon. In fact, solo woman travel is not new since many female explorers have navigated across the world since the 17th century. However, there’s never been a better time to explore the world on your own, thanks to the ever-improving technology and infrastructure.

Today’s woman is bolder, more aware and yearns to explore the world at her behest. More and more women are globetrotting to enjoy the world beyond the life back home. The trend of solo travel is a reflection of the growing independence and power of women. Pune-based Piya Rathaur agrees. She ensures that besides the annual family vacation, she has at least one holiday, either by herself or with a group of women, as it helps her relax and discover new things.

In the recent years, several travel groups have embraced the idea of all-women or solo travellers by offering a wide range of travel options, domestic and international. For Hetal Doshi, the founder of The Wander Girls, the idea stemmed out of her personal experience. She met with resistance whenever there was an opportunity to spread her wings — from getting the nod to study abroad to travelling alone for work or pleasure. “I struggled and wanted to empower other women to travel independently too. With limited venues for travel in India, I wanted to fill in this gap with my expertise,” she says.

Me time

“The modern woman today has come into her own and has the strength and independence to get away for some ‘me’ time,” says Sumitra Senapaty, founder, Women on Wanderlust (WOW). If you are still wondering as to why the lure of going solo, here are some reasons:

Let loose: These trips allow you to focus on yourself for a change and rejuvenate your mind, body and soul. “The camaraderie of like-minded women creates a space where laughter, communication, sharing secrets and talking about problems is comfortable,” says Hetal.

Connect: When you travel in small groups, you enjoy unique experiences that help you connect with like-minded women. These trips also help women to overcome some of their fears and shed a few inhibitions.

Just enjoy: Several busy women who want to travel are unable to do the requisite research, given the time constraints. “In such group travels, the best part is that someone else is organising the cab, where to go and what to do. Besides, women-guides who have good knowledge of the destinations accompany you. All you have to do is sit back, relax and go with the flow,” says Rachna Ashok, HR professional and avid traveller. Chaitri Singal, an IT professional agrees, adding that it makes the whole trip
hassle-free.

Safety issues: Safety is one of the top reasons why most women are skeptical of travelling on their own. Women-only groups offer a sense of security, warmth and comfort.

On your own: If you’re wary of travelling and sharing your room with strangers, then travelling alone is a good option. That way, you can explore the place, the way you want. “The joy of exploring a destination at leisure, on your own, with no fixed itinerary, encourages one to step out of one’s comfort zone, speak to the locals, beyond the superficial stuff and experience things that are beyond the reach of an average tourist,” avers Hetal.

Planning the trip

If you plan to travel with a group of women, get in touch with a travel club after extensive research. Most women-only trips are planned to accommodate smaller groups of 10-15 women. These trips range from trekking, sightseeing to ‘adrenaline rush packages’ to the rivers, mountains and valleys. Kerala, Goa, Ladakh and Kashmir are some of the favourite travel destinations among women travellers. Internationally, places like Iceland, New Zealand, Bhutan and Turkey are extremely popular. Eastern Europe, Namibia, Taiwan and the Philippines are gaining popularity, too.

Travel clubs offer a slew of options, depending on whether you want to travel on your own or with a group. Or, you could even make your own group or get help from the trip coordinator to connect you with your fellow travel buddies to break the ice before the trip.

Once you have the itinerary in place, here are some tips to help you have a safe trip:

Travel light.

Give your family/friends a copy of your itinerary with the hotel addresses and contact numbers.

Ensure that you have a cap, sunglasses, sunscreen, a small umbrella, a bottle of water, and some food with you at all times.

Don’t forget to pack some comfortable footwear.

A solo trip or women-only holiday is an excellent opportunity to discover new places, people and, above all, yourself!

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