How Women-Only Adventure Travel Supports Women around the World

Posted: Friday, March 6, 2020

If you’ve ever been on a trip with Adventures in Good Company, you have experienced how our staff and guides work to support you. Our staff aim to provide the information you need to prepare, answer any questions, and help connect you with your fellow travelers. Once the trip starts the guides take over - teaching, driving, cooking, and doing all they can to make sure your adventure runs smoothly. They also help create an atmosphere of support where women are encouraged to share their similarities and celebrate their differences so that each woman can feel comfortable being herself. Supporting our participants to have the adventure of a lifetime is at the absolute core of what we do.

It is not, however, the only way we are committed to supporting women. In many parts of the world tourism has become an important source of livelihood, and traditionally tourism has been dominated by men. This has started to change in the past 15 years as tourism has grown and we've been part of that effort in several ways.

First, whenever we decide to offer a new destination, we start by looking for a woman to partner with, either a woman who owns all or part of a company or is a solo operator with experience working with groups. For example, I first met Maria Abud in Chile when attending an Adventure Travel Trade Association World Summit. She was the local guide for a Pre-Summit adventure and I was impressed with her expertise and knowledge so I approached her about organizing a trip to Patagonia. She described her experience as a woman in business, sustainability, and why she does what she does in this blog post. I’m glad to report that after living out of a camper van for several years, she has started building her own house.  At the same conference, I met Veselka Huljic of & Adventure, a small adventure travel company in Croatia, who developed and ran Pearls of the Croatian Coast with us. In both cases, we have developed an enduring relationship with each of them that has made our adventures in their respective countries so much more than an off the shelf experience. 

But in many countries, there are no women-owned companies or they are not yet large enough to work with more than a few individuals at a time. Here we help support women by requesting that our guide be a female, as long as she is as qualified as the male guides. And our support goes beyond simply guiding. Sabina Sirco has been our guide for Highlights of the Via Dinarica for the past two years. Not only has that given her a decent income for part of the year, but her contact with the women on our trips has also helped give wider exposure to her excellent blog, Wild in the Balkans. Jan Latham, an AGC Program Manager and guide, met Enkh-Oyun Erdenebaatar when she guided our Magic of Mongolia trip. When Enkh started her own company the following year, we were not only among her first clients, but Jan has continued to mentor her in how to run a business that meets the needs of western clients. The last time we offered Trekking to Everest Basecamp, our local partner hired an all women team, including two women Sherpas who were widows of men who had died climbing Everest. Determined to climb Everest on their own, we helped bring attention to their trek including letting our community know about how to help with donations.

Kelly, AGC’s new owner and CEO “Chief Experience Officer”, was connected to Poonam Rawat-Hahne at an industry trip to Japan last October and learned about Fernweh Fair Travel. Poonam started her own ethical-travel company to support underprivileged women, untouchable tribes and rural communities in the Indian Himalayas. This women-led NGO has a mission that is close to our hearts: uplifting communities of women by crafting sustainable travel programs. The goal of Fernweh's trips is to transcend social and cultural barriers through exchange, education, and empowerment. When you participate on these trips, you're helping domestic violence survivors and widows who wouldn't have resources to sustain themselves without these opportunities. Little things can make a huge difference, and we are honored to connect with organizations providing sustainable, ethical travel experiences. You can sign up to learn more and get notified when registration is open for this new trip next April with Fernweh Fair Travel here.

You may have noticed that an increasing number of companies are offering women-only trips and we are happy to see all the opportunities for women who enjoy traveling with other women now have. But this is what sets Adventures in Good Company apart. For us, offering trips for women and supporting women around the world is our core mission, not a new marketing opportunity and we will continue to stay true to our mission. 

Leave your comment