Although most of the travel industry still thinks of travelers as traditional couples, an increasing number of women are traveling alone or with other women. Part of the reason is demographic; after all, women do live longer than men, and groups of senior women are a frequent sight in visitor centers around the world. But younger women, more self-reliant than earlier generations, also develop a wanderlust that does not always require a male companion. In response to this important segment of the travel marketplace, numerous online resources — some informational, others openly selling something — focus on women who travel. Here’s a brief overview of the scene.
Dozens of sites, from complete e-magazines to personal blogs, provide a wealth of articles, reports, tips, and other information tailored to women travelers. This column was stimulated, in part, by an email announcing an intriguing new site, See Jane Fly (www.seejanefly.com). Unlike most, it’s interactive: You choose a destination, select the type of trip that interests you, answer a few questions about what you’d like to do, and the site prepares a “guide” supposedly tailored to your individual trip. The interface is ingenious; the content is a work in progress. So far, it covers only the Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco areas, and the recommendations are clearly limited to a few highly personal choices of the site’s operators. Still, it’s an interesting online application that should get better with added content depth.
Other information sites, in alphabetical order, include:
Holiday Goddess (www.holidaygoddess.com) is a blog-like compilation of highly specific experience reports — great when it happens to hit on something of interest to you; otherwise a bust.
JourneyWoman (www.journeywoman.com) posts lots of articles about subjects, such as cruising, packing, affordable eats, solo travel, senior travel, and “500 best travel tips.”
Senior Women’s Travel (www.poshnosh.com) posts plenty of articles targeting women 50 and over, but it’s also geared to selling tours.
Solo Lady (www.sololady.com) includes some interesting articles for solo-traveling women mixed up with a lot of sales links and non-travel stuff.
UGoGurl (www.ugogurl.com) focuses on African American travelers, with extensive reports and articles.
Wanderlust and Lipstick (www.wanderlustandlipstick.com) posts a fair number of tips along with a hefty dose of sales links. You can sign up for a monthly e-newsletter.
Women on the Road (www.women-on-the-road.com) offers plenty of content, ranging from air travel, backpacking, solo travel, to pilgrimage routes and ethical travel.
Women Travel Tips (www.womentraveltips.com) is, as the name suggests, full of “tips” about such varied topics as family travel, home stays, round-the-world trips, solo travel, safety tips, teen travel and study trips.
Another major subset of Websites for women are those with home pages that display lots of different topics, but instead of providing a heavy concentration of content, they mix a little content with dozens of links to suppliers in each category. Among them are Bella Online (www.bellaonline.com), Guava Woman’s Travel Magazine (www.guavamag.com) and Women Travel the World (www.womentravelblog.com).
A third category consists of the dozens of tour operators and online agencies selling tour packages that target women travelers. Typical examples include Adventure Women (www.adventurewomen.com), Adventurous Wench (www.adventurouswench.com), Canyon Calling (www.canyoncalling.com), Explorations in Travel (www.exploretravel.com), Great Women’s Vacations (www.great-womens-vacations.com), Sights & Soul Travels (www.sightsandsoul.com), South American Journeys (www.southamericanjourneys.com), Wanderwoman (www.wanderwoman.com) and Women Tours (www.womentours.com).
Quite a few of these sites specialize in adventure travel geared to women; others specialize in more general tourism, cultural tourism, language programs, and many others. Of course, many big mass-market tour operators include women-only tours among their many options. Some women’s operators arrange roommates for single women — same sex, obviously — who don’t have a traveling companion. About the only kind of site we didn’t find was one that promises special discounts for women, although it wouldn’t surprise me if some made such a claim.
In any event, the travel industry is ready to welcome women who want to travel exclusively with other women.