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Women’s travel clubs in India are gaining popularity as more women travellers in India opt for women only tours.
By Nisha Salim
Until a decade ago, the average Indian woman contentedly managed the affairs of the home while her husband went jet-setting on business trips. But things have changed. Now, women travel all over the world, not only for work, but for leisure as well.
Facilitating travel experiences exclusively for women are the new breed of women only travel groups in India. Travelling not only exposes you to new people and places; it also helps you discover yourself.
Women only tours organize domestic and international trips where ladies have a chance to indulge in the pure pleasure of travel and adventure, without having to worry about logistics, safety or taking care of their family members.
Shireen Mehra, of Women On Clouds, says,“Some of the top reasons why women travel on their own are to gain confidence, to make friends with other free-spirited women, to bond with girlfriends and female family members, to take a break from their busy lives, or to simply enjoy the experience of travel.” Women On Clouds cater to women travellers in India of all ages and conduct 2-3 tours every month to domestic and international locations.
Even while they were travelling, they were playing the role of someone’s wife, daughter or mother. I wondered why Indian women cannot travel on their own…
Piya Bose has been travelling solo since she was 16 and noticed that barely any Indian women were travelling on their own. She says, “Even while they were travelling, they were playing the role of someone’s wife, daughter or mother. I wondered why Indian women cannot travel on their own and then decided to start Girls On The Go (GOTG) to give wings to women’s ultimate travel dreams.” GOTG travellers include working professionals, business women and homemakers. Organizing about 1-2 trips per month, GOTG offers regular sight-seeing tours as well as specialized tours such as cooking trips to Bali, historical trips to Ajanta Ellora, or a trip to Spain for La Tomatina.
Safe way to travel
If you do not have someone to travel with for whatever reason – whether you are single, divorced, or just want to travel on your own – women’s travel clubs in India could be a safe and affordable option to consider. Safety is one of the foremost concerns of women who do not venture out to travel on their own; women only vacations can offer a great sense of security to such travellers. You may choose to travel solo or join a group trip.
“You don’t have to worry about logistics or safety since they all are taken care of by us. We also customize our itinerary to include women-oriented activities to meet our travellers’ expectations,” says Shireen.
Bonding and building relationships
In a female only group, you may feel more free to talk about topics that you may not otherwise want to discuss in a mixed group. “They also get to meet other like-minded women and form lasting friendships, while on a trip that is safe and fun,” says Piya. Also, travelling with your best friends, daughter, sister, mother or even mother-in-law is a great way to bond and get to know each other better.
Focus on yourself, not others
Most women, even while they travel, end up tending to the needs of their family members. Women only tours enable you to get some much needed me-time. “Women get to be themselves and can step out of their role playing mode for a while,” says Piya.
Build confidence by trying out new activities
Outdoor and adventure travel is gaining popularity in India. In a safe female-only environment, women may feel more empowered to try out new activities. “In fact sometimes if we do not include a particular activity thinking it might be too dare-devilish for a women’s itinerary, to my surprise I have been asked to include it as they would like to try it out. So, women are at that stage where they are pushing their own limits and want to try out new things,” opines Piya.
Women only trips may not be for you if you like spontaneous travel; most group travel itineraries are fixed and there isn’t much of a wiggle room. Some people also dislike travelling with a group of strangers, or just prefer travelling with family. Bear in mind that you may also have to share accommodation, and keep up with the overall pace of the group. But if you do decide to travel, do your research and choose a reputed travel group.
Most travel clubs publish their upcoming tour details on their websites. Whether you are planning to travel solo or join a group of women, the best way to start planning is to get in touch with the travel club of your choice. You may either join an existing tour or ask the travel company to create a custom tour plan for you.
Women only tours can be a great way to discover yourself and to meet like-minded, free-spirited women with whom you can form lasting friendships.
Most group trips include a balance of structured group activities along with some individual tour-time which you can use to explore the place on your own or along with your travel companions. Generally, safety and comfort of the accommodation are given top priority by travel companies; however, you may also want to check with them about the hotels that they have tied up with. Remember that for group tours, accommodation is likely to be on a sharing basis.
Find out about the size of the group and also the detailed itinerary and services included in the package. Smaller groups allow for more personal freedom. A tour leader usually travels with the group. The company should also ideally provide you with a 24/7 emergency phone number; if they don’t, ask for one.
Women only tours can be a great way to discover yourself and to meet like-minded, free-spirited women with whom you can form lasting friendships. Why not consider a trip with just the girlfriends, where you can let your hair down and be yourself?
*Photo credit: curoninja (Used under the Creative Commons Attribution License.)
Nisha Salim is a self-employed writer and a social media junkie.
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