A recent trend shows that most women who love to travel are doing it without their family. Married women travel without husbands or children. Instead they are expanding their horizons and planning their trip more with their women colleagues, close girlfriends, and some with new female companions from diverse backgrounds. It seems that women are trying to break the barrier of the traditional notion of holidaying in favour of unorthodox methods of exploration and self discovery. Some even feel that the joy of exploring new destinations with a complete stranger can be a really exhilarating experience. And then there are some who prefer a solo venture. In totality, women are keen to explore the newer possibilities of travelling. But what has actually prompted women in recent years to change the dynamics of travel?
The changing concept of women empowerment
Many women feel that this entire venture of travelling alone without partners is nothing but a leap of faith. Letting your guard down to bond with people who come from different backgrounds can be quite a life changing experience. Plus your emotional and physical limits may be often tested depending on your destination. Think of a group outing with unknown companions to trek the remote hills of Uttarakhand. Exposure to such experiences are great ways to hone one’s people skill, when it becomes a necessity to reach out to others in a tough circumstance.
Some women feel that this changing concept shows the changing psyche of women. Previously, women were used to a sheltered life. So, travelling alone was simply out of the question. But things are different now. Most women feel that travelling can be one of the most useful ways of spending some time with oneself. ‘Me time’ is best spent outdoors instead of the confines of one’s sheltered environment. Also, many women have spoken about their disillusionment with their regular travel partners, which in most cases are members of the family. The regular travel often leads to a certain pattern of safe boring routine without much consideration of the thrills of adventure or trying out a new experience. So, more and more women are searching for like-minded partners to buddy up with, and they feel it easier to partner with strangers for an all new experience.
Women feel their thirst for wanderlust is often not met with the customary family travel. When you are in a new group with a new set of people, there are hardly any preconceived notions. You travel without the baggage of your social identity. Many women consider this as a perfect opportunity to unwind and have the freedom to loosen up just being themselves without any other identity defining them. A recent survey by Trip Advisor shows that 40% of the women feel travelling in a new group can be an enriching experience. Another 36% said that this kind of travel gives them a refreshing break from family life which is much needed once in a while.
Solo travel – the era of the lone female traveller
The rise of the solo women traveller is not just a single day phenomenon. In fact, many top Travel sites like MakeMyTrip are making an effort to arrange safe vacations for solo travellers. The tourism industry has seen a spike in solo female travellers in recent years, and attention needs to be paid to making them comfortable and secure.
Solo women travellers in India is a reality. They aren’t ‘different’, they are just doers. They travel and blog about their experiences on multiple platforms to encourage more women to step out. According to a recent study they have rated Ahmedabad as the safest city with Pune following closely for the second spot. Mumbai comes at the third position. As compared to 37% of women travelling alone in India, the number has increased up to 41% (India and abroad). When asked about their choice of solo travel, 47% answered that they loved the challenge, while 39% took to traveling alone because their family members and friends do not have the time. In fact, among the 1300 women participants of the survey, most Indian women do not perceive travelling alone as unsafe any more. They have also stated that with smartphones and greater connectivity to their near and dear ones, travelling solo does not pose a problem anymore.
And yet, a lot of changes need to take place, as most people have not really warmed up to the concept of solo travelling or grouping up with others to travel without family. Cities like Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, and Bangalore are safe places to be, but Delhi and Gurgaon do not really feature in the safe city list.
Many women have felt the entire experience of travelling alone quite liberating. They feel that their hunger for adventure is satiated after they have made their independent choices. 59% of women have felt they have become more confident and self-reliant. Another 42% feel that their experience has taught them about other cultures. The northeastern region is one of the favourite places for solo women travellers. Some feel that places like Shillong and Meghalaya feature among the safe areas for solo and group outing. Ladakh features on top of the bucket list for free-spirited women.
How are tour operators responding to this change?
To keep up with the trend, a lot of tour operators are planning all-women packages to many scenic destinations like Kinnaur-Kalpa, Stok-Kangri, Ladakh, Andaman and Rajasthan. If you are planning a group outing, you will love the packages, which include not just a getaway from urban life, but in fact quite stimulating tours full of group activities to make a wholesome enriching and safe experience. For most part, these agencies rely on a female crew for women only exclusive tours to ensure the team is comfortable and well taken care of.
The pioneers in the field of women only travel started a decade ago. The club attracted women who had the means but not the company to travel owing to busy husbands or lack of partners. Since then, the community has only grown with more women venturing into group travel from every social sphere. Hence, there are lot of opportunities for new agencies to offer quality and budget tours to the growing number of women travellers in India.
GroupOuting can be a substantial help for women to group up and plan their own tours with or without a travel operator. GroupOuting.com offers travellers a platform to form their own groups – public or private, make their custom plans and conduct their tours systematically. Alternatively, the group can invite private bids from registered tour operators to have their tours conducted professionally at the best cost. The process eliminates paying commission to middlemen for passing the lead to a travel agency. The best part about a tour auction is it allows a group to compare several offers and choose the best operator.
Besides bidding, there are several fixed departure packages on GroupOuting to choose from, for women who pack their bags on short notice, on even shorter leaves. GroupOuting offers a platform to organize trips all over India. Their plans are extremely well-crafted and create a perfect balance between leisure and activities, besides offering safe travel to men and women alike.
Ready to embark on an adventure of your life?
A Last Word
Be it a solo travel or a group outing, as a traveller you should always do your own research. Take out some time and find out about the place if you are visiting. Do not be content with what your operator is arranging. If it is a new group, ask questions about your fellow travellers, accommodation and transfer arrangements. Travel is best enjoyed when you are with like-minded people, engaging in like-minded activities. You may not want to spend the entire time in museums or libraries; alternatively, your kind of travel could be just that! Find out what you will be doing day to day and ensure it matches your idea of exploring a place. Going for a balanced trip often offers the best of all worlds. Afterall, when you are visiting a faraway land, make the most of your stay, you could be never visiting the place again! Minute details like whether you prefer a single accommodation of a twin sharing stay could become an important factor in enhancing your overall experience. Last, but not the least, you should remember that you want to have some time with yourself. So, forget about everything and absorb everything that you see, feel or experience in the course of your travel.