These recommendations for women's getaways blend adventure, relaxation and safety.
For many women, vacations are a family affair, taken with a spouse or partner and children. But at some point, you may want to travel alone or with female friends to explore a common interest, share the discovery of something new or just get reacquainted in an environment away from home and the office--objectives that may not be aligned with those of your family members.
These "girlfriend getaways" are a growing trend in the travel industry, with more and more companies catering to women traveling singly or in groups. According to a 2007 survey by AAA and marketing firm Aspire, girlfriend getaways represented 4% of all U.S. travel spending, nearly $200 million a year, with 24% of American women saying they've taken such a trip in the past three years; 39% plan to take one within the next three years.
One reason: Women and men have different travel preferences. Of people who take cultural, adventure or nature trips (as opposed to purely recreational vacations in familiar domestic destinations), 75% are women; among those, beautiful scenery is what compels 87% of women to travel, compared with 72% of men. With these preferences in mind, here are a few suggestions for making your next outing one to remember:
Be adventurous. Adventure travel, such as a jungle safari or an Antarctic excursion, is one of the most popular choices among women, and many companies offer women-only groups. This option may also be the safest when traveling in parts of the world with differing cultural norms regarding women.
Rejuvenate at a spa. Whether you choose an urban day spa or a comprehensive weeklong retreat, spas offer not only relaxation but also a way to jump-start a healthy lifestyle you'll take home as the ultimate souvenir.
Educate yourself. There are travel packages designed to teach just about everything: a new language in the country of its origin, cooking with master chefs around the world, surfing in Hawaii. Looking for something less structured? Why not travel through wine country in California, Europe or elsewhere and acquaint yourself with the local varietals?
Be a culture vulture. Spend a few days--or longer--in a city in the U.S. or abroad, and immerse yourself in its cultural life: museums, theater, music and food.
Of course, this is just a partial list. Your only limit is your imagination--and that of your traveling companions.
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