From arming Delhi’s women with pink tickets to the introduction of pee buddies, the unprecedented rise of the women travellers has opened the doors for innovations galore. The rise of women-only travel groups is one such move that ensures that women can travel solo or with a group of friends without having to deal with the anxieties of safe accommodations and itinerary planning. We aren’t talking about trips full of feminine wiles or Girlfriend Getaways, but group tours for women that allow you to explore not just the world, but also focus on personal empowerment and self-care.
From learning scuba diving in the Maldives or eye-opening cultural encounters in South Africa—female-centric travel companies are retooling and expanding. Here are some women-only travel groups that are helping women experience the world like never before — and in the company of other women:
Taking on the Malyali term for a dandelion, Appooppanthaadi, started in 2016 by Sajna Ali, brings together women who want to explore the unexplored. A software engineer by profession, Ali’s own thirst for travelling and exploring lesser-known places gave birth to the venture, where women explore places previously considered off-limits by the mainstream travel market. Single-handedly organised, these all-women tours are leading a diverse crew of women to secret wonders such as the Indian Niagra, Meeshapulimala and Dhoni waterfalls, Yellappetty, Kolukkumala and such. Besides, the group had recently also launched its first travel fellowship, ‘Prayaana’, to finance and motivate women to pack their bags and explore the world.
Soul Purpose Travels
For women who prefer surf weekends and mountain-climbing expeditions over spa weekends, Vidya Deshpande and Mimi Chakrabarti’s Soul Purpose is re-defining women-only travel. “Indian women, especially millennials, are opting for extreme adventure trips and finding them liberating, a study has found,” reported New Indian Express. The daily also stated that there was a 32 per cent year-on-year increase in women travellers opting for adventure across soft, medium and extreme activities, according to an international travel company which studied booking and enquiry trends of about 2,000 women travellers in India. Think of an adventure, river-rafting, trekking, wildlife safari, kayaking, Soul Purpose Travel will set you up. You can also be join their cultural trails, photo walks, culinary experiences and more. The duo believes that these trips should be much more than just visiting a destination one of the many reasons Soul Purpose Travels attracts travellers of different ages and backgrounds.
Women on Wanderlust
From camping under the stars in Ladakh to snorkeling in the Maldives, Women on Wanderlust, a community-based travel group that was set up in started in 2005 by Sumitra Senapaty. Over the last 14 years, WOW has taken over 4000 women travellers to places as far as Argentina to Egypt. During her days as a globetrotting scribe, Senapaty realised that not all women have the confidence and the knowledge to travel by themselves. That’s when she decided to start a group that would encourage women to travel solo, along with the security that group travel provides. At WOW, all the tours are led by a local guide, and pack in a mix of activities and leisure time, allowing “women to be bold, and wander the universe.”
With a vision to redefine the way women travel in India, this Bengaluru-based, experiential travel company has an ambitious dream. With a lofty aim of putting India on the global travel map as a preferred destination for women, Malini Gowrishankar and Akanksha Bumb set up F5 Escapes. Their all-women tours are their strong point but F5 Escapes also has initiatives such #JustGo, an offline community meetup of travellers, to share stories, ideas, tips, guidelines, and pitfalls; and workshops that instil confidence in women, such as riding bullets, horse riding, etc. To re-define safe-travel, F5 focusses on homestays and eco-resorts. “I personally would feel safe in my home,” says Gowrishankar and therefore, “by creating a home environment we try to change the perception of India as an unsafe travel destination for women.”
Symbolising the spirit of life and borrowing its name from a firefly, Jugni caters to solo women travellers having a taste for adventure. Think road-tripping from Kargil to Srinagar, kayaking or ziplining in Vietnam or snow driving in Kotgarh. The brainchild of Nitesh Chauhan and Rohit Khattar from the Himalayan Explorers Club, Jugni is open to women of all ages. According to the founders, Jugni is more than a travel company and instead of an ever-expanding family of passionate solo female travel groups. The group’s aim is simple, that of bringing together multiple lone wolves under one roof!