Women’s-only travel clubs are increasingly becoming popular amongst those struck by wanderlust

The past decade has been good news for the travel industry with more Indians touring far and wide to exotic locations, quite willing to spend that extra cash on a nice holiday. And it has been particularly lucrative for women travellers, who now have a horde of “women’s only” travel clubs to plan their vacation itinerary.

For all those women who want to explore new places and love outdoors, but don’t want to or can’t travel alone due to social pressures, safety concerns or other issues, these exclusively-for-women travel clubs offer to serve the twin objectives of travelling and socialising.

Several such clubs have sprung up across the country in the last few years as the concept of women travelling on their own, that’s been pretty huge in the West, is quickly becoming popular among their Indian counterparts as well.

“There are many reasons women travel with us. They may have a husband who doesn’t like to travel or is too busy with work, they may be widowed or separated or single, or they might find that most of their friends or relatives are unable to travel with them for some reason,” says Sumitra Senapaty, a travel writer, and one of the first in India to start an all-women travel club, Women on Wanderlust.

Most of these travel clubs offer well-researched trips in the domestic (such as Ladakh, Andamans, North-east) as well as international sector (like Eastern Europe, South America, South Africa) with the right amount of sight-seeing, shopping, adventure and leisure thrown in. Depending on your time and budget you could either choose a simple weekend holiday or a weekly/ fortnight one.

With stiffening competition, these travel clubs are wooing their target audience by adding unique features to their profile. So while Senapaty organises special ‘Mom and Kids’ trips, Delhi-based Women on Clouds plans ‘yoga and relaxation’ retreats. Bangalore-based Femmes en Voyage goes one step further. It conducts ‘wine tours and festivals’ for tasting and buying vintage wines and ‘tea tours’ to show participants the tea-making process.

What’s more, these clubs cater to the travel needs of all categories of women -- teenagers, single, married (housewives or working professionals), and even senior citizens.

“We have been organising a lot of trips for our elderly ladies. The latest is the Amarnath Yatra tour scheduled for next month,” says Prema Lakshmi, director of Femmes en Voyage, who armed with 10 years of experience in the industry, launched her club in 2009 along with her friends.

Interestingly, they all prefer to label themselves ‘clubs’ instead of that banal travel company tag for their “friendly atmosphere and girl-bonding” on the trips.

“For most of our trips, we get a lot of mixed groups comprising young girls, women in their 20s and 30s right up to 60s, and from different parts of the country. They all have such a great time together as there is so much to learn from each other. Most of them part as friends,” says Shireen Mehra, a former air-hostess and director of Women on Clouds.

Keywords: travel clubs