Not sure you’re a group travel person? If you’re a woman seeking a new, authentic, and sustainable way to see your dream destination, women-only travel operators can take your trip to new heights. Group options like tours catering to those who identify as female can take you across the globe in a more inspiring and authentic way than the average tour does. And in the post-#MeToo era, the number of women-only travel possibilities has skyrocketed.
New Women Only Travel Escapes for 2019
Last year I rounded up some women-only travel providers offering inspiring getaways, and this Women’s History Month, there are so many more new options (and even more companies joining in) to choose from. Make 2019 the year you finally embark on an all-women adventure that inspires you. Your entire group could be women—down to the guides.
A veteran in the women-only travel game, AdventureWomen has offered all-women small group adventure tours for 35 years now—and just added four new itineraries for 2019. New to the line-up is hiking Tasmania’s Overland Track, seeing the Galapagos Islands by yacht, and hopping the Trans-Siberian Railway through Russia. AdventureWomen travel groups are never larger than 14 people.
Joining an AdventureWomen trip often means connecting with other frequent-traveling women; the company says 50 percent of its travelers are repeat guests. Popular AdventureWomen options include conquering Everest Base Camp in Nepal, mother-daughter horseback riding in Iceland, Day of the Dead and surfing in Mexico, and bear tracking in Alaska.
REI Women’s Adventures
You might know REI as an outdoor retailer, but it also offers an array of international and stateside adventure tours that include women-only travel experiences like camping and backpacking. Since launching its Women’s Adventures in 2017, REI’s women-only travel options have grown each year. New trips for 2019 include a Sedona women’s adventure, all-female backpacking in Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, and women’s sea kayaking in the Carolinas. On top of the four new trips that launched with the new year, REI Adventures also just added a new Galapagos Islands multi-sport Women’s Adventure.
Wild Women Expeditions
The world’s largest women-only travel company, Wild Women Expeditions is offering five new 2019 trips to Borneo’s volcanoes and islands, Morocco’s Atlantic coast and Atlas Mountains, and Croatia’s Mediterranean coast and Dalmatian islands—all of which promise female trip leaders.
The company also launched a new initiative in honor and observance of International Women’s Day called Womenkind, which aims to protect forests from climate change and hire more local women as guides. Wild Women is one of many women-only travel groups that you can feel good about booking with because you’ll be supporting active sustainable initiatives across the globe.
New to the women-only travel group world is MT Sobek, which launched its five women-only trip offerings this year. Options include a Norway mountain hiking adventure, a historic Women of Patagonia trek that connects hiking and the female entrepreneurs of the region, and a California coast-to-crest adventure starting at the coast of Sonoma and walking, hiking, and driving to Yosemite.
Intrepid Travel Women’s Expeditions
If you’re looking to get off the beaten path and connect with local women on your next bucket-list trip, there are more options than ever. Intrepid Travel is expanding upon the women-only trips to the Middle East it launched last year by adding Asia and Africa departures into the mix.
The tour provider announced this Women’s History Month that by expanding to India, Kenya, Nepal, and Turkey in 2019 it will more than double its collection of Women’s Expeditions. And the highlight might be the inclusion of a female-only Women’s Festival, Gangaur, in Rajasthan, where henna painting, colorful art, and dancing take over the streets for days. But there’s also overland adventures with a female truck driver in Kenya, climbing the Himalayas with an all-female crew in Nepal, and the ancient tradition of all-women hammam spas in Turkey.
The new options are additions to the women-only tours it already offered to Morocco, Iran, and Jordan. Intrepid says those women-only options “quickly became [some] of Intrepid Travel’s most-popular,” and so the previously limited-edition trips have grown into 36 women-only departures across seven countries.
Perillo’s Learning Journeys
Part of Perillo Tours, Perillo’s Learning Journeys specializes in immersive, hands-on experiences that now include women-only travel options—making it another tour operator putting travelers in the homes and businesses of women across the globe. And there’s as many inspiring local visits as there are opportunities to cross once-in-a-lifetime experiences off your bucket list.
Peaceful Peru is a seven-day cultural immersion through the Sacred Valley that includes a garment weaving lesson with handcraft artisans, and of course the journey to Machu Picchu. Spiritual Northern India is an 11-day trip that includes a cooking lesson and volunteer visit to a girls’ orphanage before seeing the famed Taj Mahal. Blissful Bali is a 12-day journey that focuses as much on the island’s natural beauty and spirit as it does on the local communities by visiting to a local elementary school and participating in yoga and traditional temple ceremonies.
Orvis Events and Trips
Another outdoor retailer with a new array of women-only travel options, Orvis’ all-female experiences are an opportunity to try something totally new (or meet some like-minded outdoorswomen) with an expert: fly fishing. Orvis trips are all-inclusive in terms of equipment and gear for fly fishing in bucket-list spots like Great Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone National Park, Patagonia, and Belize.
Souljourn Yoga Retreats
A non-profit dedicated to raising funds and awareness for girls’ education rights through international yoga retreats, Souljourn Yoga bills its trips as “far from your typical beach-side yoga retreats.” Participants are completely immersed in the culture in each destination, from Peru to Morocco, Tibet, Cambodia, Rwanda, and South Africa. Retreat options for 2019 include challenging hiking in Tibet, tracking gorillas in Rwanda, conquering Table Mountain in South Africa, and benefitting sister non-profits along the way that support equal education rights for women across the globe.
WHOA+ Adventures by WHOA Travel
A division of WHOA Travel launched this year by a plus-size woman, for plus-size women, WHOA+ Adventures focuses on body positivity for “like-bodied women” on intense adventures like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and exploring Machu Picchu. WHOA Travel stands for “Women High on Adventure,” and all of its women’s travel itineraries are designed to support local female-run businesses and nonprofit women’s organizations. WHOA also offers trips to Everest Base Camp, Machu Picchu, and Iceland—but many departures book up within weeks of becoming available.
SwellWomen Surf Retreats
If you’re looking to make some yogi friends and/or learn how to surf, SwellWomen‘s boutique, upscale retreats to surf destinations across the world include yoga and relaxing natural environments with instructors and “transformational coaches.” Destinations for 2019 range from Hawaii, Costa Rica, and El Salvador to Sri Lanka and Indonesia.
For more ideas, see Top Travel Destinations for 2019.
More from SmarterTravel:
- How Men and Women Travel Differently
- Inspiring Travel Tips from Women’s Travel Fest
- The Anatomy of the Perfect Plane Outfit for Women
SmarterTravel’s Shannon McMahon writes about all things travel and made finally doing a women-only travel experience her new year’s resolution for 2019. Follow her on Instagram @shanmcmahon.