Why Are Women Opting For Adventure Travel More Than Men?
The number of women travelers going on adventure expeditions has boosted like never before. Women are going all out to push their adrenaline levels. So, what’s the reason behind this?
Before venturing into this topic, let me start with a true story about women and their adventure tours. It was the New Year of 2012 and Allison Fleece was feeling restless. Owing to her impulse, she just emailed her group of adventurous friends that she wants to stand on the roof of Africa at the same time next year.
And, guess what? The next winter she was on the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, along with 9 other women. Danielle Thornton, a climbing chum, was standing beside her. She told him that this is what she likes about traveling. (This friend becomes Fleece’s best friend in the years to come.)
To seep in the audacious step once again, Fleece and Thornton went back to Kilimanjaro in the following year. However, this time the group was a tad larger with 29 women belonging to 11 different nations. This was the beginning of WHOA Travel and it was the very first tour of this fledgling adventure travel firm for women.
Before entering into this, Fleece, who is now 31 years old, was an education consular and Thornton, who is now 34 years old, was a creative director working in an ad agency. After these two people took their voyage to Kilimanjaro, everything changed for them. They stepped out from their comfort zone, that is, they quit their jobs, and formed an LLC (Limited Liability Company) for their new travel business. WHOA is known as Women Hooked on Awesomeness or Women High on Adventure, depending on the person you ask.
Finishing with this story, WHOA is one of the adventure firms catering to only women. This company pacifies women who love to climb mountains, surf, etc. on weekends or vacations. And, this is not a new idea. Even our history notes this revolution in the late 1970s during the second-wave feminism period when women around the nation embarked on inconsistent adventure programs, outdoor conferences, and music festivals.
Seeing this new phenomenon, upscale operators came up in the late 90s and began offering services to luxury vacationers, generally consisting of divorced or widowed retirees who had the money and time to go on trips and at the same time did not want to feel awkward between couples.
This wave of feminism is also seen in the recent years in terms of lifestyle choices, including self-care and personal empowerment, rather than having certain political notions. Seeing this change, travel firms focusing on females are expanding and retooling afresh.
In 1991, Wild Women Expeditions was founded in Canada. Jennifer Haddow, who took over this company seven years ago, says that back then women-only trips were just a joke. Plus, people did not see the worth of such expeditions. But, now with the growing market, such veteran outfitters are expanding their services to capitalize on such trips. To name a few, Wild Women Expeditions has included horseback riding in Mongolia and rafting, trekking, and cycling in Thailand, in addition to its initial list of canoeing and kayaking trips in British Columbia and Ontario.
Besides Haddow’s company, one other veteran company is Adventure Women, which was founded 35 years ago in Massachusetts. It has started catering to young women with its “adventurettes” tour, which includes customized getaways, such as weekend trips of fine dining, river floating, massages in Montana, and riding. Women who want to go all out and do something unique in their bachelorette party take such tours, including bucket-list voyages to places such as Nepal and Ireland.
Lifestyle firms, not involved in the travel industry, are also cashing on such female-only trips in order to expand the reach of their brands. For instance, REI branched into Outessa program of late, which takes women to different mountains in the U.S. for long weekend trips, including bonding, hiking, and yoga. In addition, the sports goods selling firm has spiced up its camping and backpacking women adventure trips, which enable them to experience rugged outdoor locations in American and African national parks. For instance, recently the Baja California Women’s Adventure by REI took women for beach camping on Espíritu Santo Island, Mexico.
One other brand, namely Free People, operates FP Escapes. This bohemian apparel company caters to the crystals-and-Coachella mass with its travel itineraries focusing on health and wellness. These include yoga workshops in Yelapa, Mexico and superfood cooking lessons in the Andes, in addition to meditation customs, cleansing sessions, new-moon rituals, and accommodations like tree houses and tepees that are picture perfect.
For upstart outfitters like Damesly, the company that was launched last year, it is more about personal growth as well as having fun, which includes honing of skills and professional networking. Their offerings encompass surfing classes in Hawaii and volcano hikes in Iceland, along with workshops such as video editing.
Then, there is Fit & Fly Girl that offers health-centric retreats, including nutritious meals and regular workout sessions. Additionally, Explorer Chick also has many options for novice travelers so that they can learn the fundamentals of backpacking and build up their wilderness survival dexterity.
While all these women-only programs focus on their individual well-being, they also highlight making lasting connections as well as developing social responsibility to whichever places they go to. Haddow of Wild Women Expeditions says that women also participate in communities and get engaged in the blazing events rather than just selling women items. Since customers are inclined toward genuineness, her firm, ensures that it collaborates particularly with women and offers support to social-justice associations. Wild Women Expeditions ensures this in even places such as Nepal where it is difficult to find female guides.
Additionally, Adventure Women brings its guests to a textile cooperative of women outside Fez in Morocco in order to talk to the artisans about their work and lives. And, before WHOA outfitters go for Kilimanjaro treks, it accommodates them in a nonprofit hotel that finances a primary school in which children of the area study. Moreover, the fees of the travelers aid in sponsoring two local women to come with the group on its every hike. Even for its Machu Picchu treks, the firm has a similar program in operation.
No matter what thrills are offered by these firms, all of these draw travelers who are at a crossroads in their lives irrespective of their background and age. A divorce or a shifting of the home is not as much of a thing when you can climb a 10,000-foot mountain or manage whitewater rafting in a Peruvian river. Emotional pain can be obliterated by taking physical challenges, which is by women take such daring tasks within a group of companions or even strangers.
To take an example, Kelly Luck, who is 42 years old, took the Kilimanjaro trip offered by WHOA after she fought an arduous battle with thyroid and breast cancer. On the night of 8th of March, that is International Women’s Day, she climbed the mountain along with 30 other women. She recounts that the climb became more encouraging and she became stronger with a powerful group of women and that she would have never done this in the company of her husband.
Both Luck and Fleece found their newer passions on the journey of Kilimanjaro. And, they are not the only ones. More women are now getting to know what they really want, free from the clutches of the society that does not see women as an independent and daring being. Fleece adds to this that people fail to understand that if women can deck up and go out for dinner, then they can also camp on summits for 7 days incessantly. She says that women are becoming aware of the fact that other women too crave for the same things as them.