6 March 2024

Women-only group adventures: exhilarating, absorbing, rewarding

| Rama Gaind
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sunbeds and shade structures on a beach

On the beach at the Royal Beach Seminyak Bali, Indonesia. Something motivating happens when women come together in a group adventure as we learn, laugh, encourage and grow together in the world’s most interesting places. Photos: Rama Gaind.

It is hard, at times, to find a compatible travel partner (not family), so I delved into seeking alternatives, breaking down societal barriers of traditional tourism. Travelling solo did not mean I was on my own, but I learned to be myself because it pushed me out of my comfort zone and propelled me away from the realm of expectations from others.

Being part of a women-only group of adventurers was exhilarating and rewarding, going around the globe, joining other like-minded, passionate female travel companions.

It’s not surprising to learn women are far more likely to travel solo than men — more than you think. Travel trends and preferences have changed. Official figures from Austrade reveal females represented 40 per cent of domestic solo travellers in regional areas for the year ending September 2023. Research suggests 64 per cent of travellers across the world are female. The majority of women travellers are in the 25-to-39-year age bracket.

The best destination for solo women travellers is Japan. Among the top safe countries in the world are Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, Denmark, Portugal and Slovenia. Also in vogue are Bali, Canada, Spain and the Netherlands.


Wellington Harbour, New Zealand, was one of the many places full of unique travel experiences and local interactions.

This trend fittingly aligns with the campaign theme for the 2024 International Women’s Day (IWD): ”Count Her In: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress”.

READ ALSO Vietnam’s ‘Pearl Island’ is a dream holiday destination

World-renowned feminist, journalist and activist Gloria Steinem reportedly once explained: “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”

According to UN Women Australia, women’s economic empowerment is central to a gender-equal world. When women are given equal opportunities to earn, learn and lead, entire communities thrive.

We should celebrate women’s achievements. Together we can forge women’s equality. Raise awareness about discrimination.

“When we inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion, we forge a better world. And when women themselves are inspired to be included, there’s a sense of belonging, relevance, and empowerment,” the IWD campaign says.

Collectively, we can all inspire inclusion by getting involved with an IWD event on Friday, 8 March, 2024, to hear from leaders who are working to reshape systems and remove barriers so that all women and girls can realise their full potential and build better financial futures.

An inspirational list of speakers includes the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Michele Bullock. Not surprisingly, there are many women’s tour companies breaking down barriers, fostering discussions and creating immersive local connections.

A spokeswoman for Travel Associates said women-only travel was “very popular in Australia, and we are safe”.

suitcase and travel pass

A Japan Rail Pass is essential for sightseeing in Japan to enable unforgettable adventures.

Travel itineraries offered by World Expeditions have a “minimal-impact philosophy at the heart of each adventure and forge authentic cultural exchange, real exploration and plenty of fun times”. Other companies offering tour packages, and designing bespoke tours, include AAT Kings, APT, Intrepid Travel and Insight Vacations.

There is a psychology to travelling alone. Women travel solo to express their sense of identity, take pride in being self-sufficient, build lifelong skills like problem-solving and decision-making, and do what they want, when they want. Solo travel is mind-expanding, confidence-boosting, personal growth-promoting, fun and exciting.

It means you have plenty of time to focus on an important relationship: the one with yourself where you learn to trust yourself more as you navigate some new challenges. You look after yourself, not after the needs of others!

I love wandering, even getting lost, discovering, and meeting new people. Anxiety about being able to handle all the logistics alone is dispelled with quick access to modern technology including smartphones, apps and Wi-Fi. Feeling awkward about dining alone is no longer a source of embarrassment and loneliness. Safety may be a concern, but solo travel has become understood and accepted.

READ ALSO Your passport to adventure: The experts’ tips on best travel destinations in 2024

Inspiring tales can be told by some of the world’s most influential women travellers going way back, including Amelia Earhart, who became the first woman (and the second person ever, after Charles Lindbergh) to fly non-stop solo across the Atlantic Ocean in May 1932.

Annie Londonderry was the first woman to cycle around the world, in 1894-95. Jeanne Baret, disguised as a man, was the first woman to circumnavigate the globe, completing the maritime voyage from 1766 to 1769. From 2010 to 2013, Sarah Marquis walked 20,000 kilometres alone from Siberia to the Gobi Desert, into China, Laos, Thailand, and then across Australia. Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to travel in space, on 16 June, 1963.

“Adventure can be an end in itself. Self-discovery is the secret ingredient.” So true, Grace Lichtenstein!

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