Select Traveler

SEP-OCT 2016

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Page 42 of 77 41 S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 6 "Behavior changes when you take the male ele- ment out of it," she said. "Women don't feel like they have to wear makeup or get dressed up if they don't want to. ey can go and try new activities in a really supportive environment. "Men like to do things for women, where- as women encourage each other to do things for themselves. So if you're in a group of just women, everyone is encouraging each other to try new things and stretch their boundar- ies. Because of this, the groups bond excep- tionally well." Women Traveling Together employs a number of specifi c strategies to help travelers feel included, supported and valued throughout the entire process. Asberry asks past customers to vote on new trip ideas, which gives travelers a voice in what products she de- velops. e company has a "tour concierge" assigned to each client, helping them through questions about safety, logistics and other concerns before the trips depart. And during the trips, tour leaders handle much more than just travel logistics. "Our tour leader is embedded with the group 24/7, and her job is really group dynamics," Asberry said. "We give her a signifi cant amount of latitude. We give her a credit card and tell her to take people out to dinner and let them order whatever they want off the menu. We want our customers to have as much of an authentic girlfriend experience as they can and for them to have some- one who is making sure that everyone is having a good time. So the tour leader is kind of the party leader, too." PERSONAL AND FULFILLING After writing a book about her own travels, "Wanderlust and Lipstick," Beth Whit- man was approached by a number of women who wanted to travel but were unfamiliar with how to put tours together. So she started Wandertours, a women's travel company with a focus on experiences that are accessible, personal and fulfi lling. "I off er some pretty personalized activities that they couldn't book on their own, like dinner or cooking classes in people's homes, anywhere from Santa Fe to India," she said. "We also always have a giving-back component on an international tour. We'll go to an orphanage, a nunnery or some kind of organization that is helping the community." Wandertours trips take groups trekking through Bhutan, on safari in Africa and to explore the wonders of India. ere are also culinary-focused trips to cities such as Santa Fe, New Mexico, and New Orleans, which may be more accessible to novice travelers. Whitman said in addition to attracting solo women, her trips have proven popular as bonding experiences for groups of friends and family members. "We get a lot of sisters and a number of mother-daughter trips as well," she said. "On a Seattle culinary trip, we had a young mother in her 30s bring her 9-year-old daughter. On the other side, we've had a lot of 50-year-old women and their 20-something daugh- ters. We also see a lot of cousins traveling together." When it comes to recruiting women to join trips, Whitman has found that personal enthusiasm is her greatest sales tool. She also promotes the fact that her tours take all of the hassle out of travel planning for busy women and that they can focus on wellness elements that aren't common in mass-market vacations. "We want to encourage women to travel and do it in a healthy manner," she said. "We want them to incorporate healthy habits, nutrition and exercise so that they can go home feeling healthy — not just fat and bloated after a cruise." Top: Owner of Wandertours, Beth Whitman, in Bhutan, courtesy Wandertours Bottom: A women-only trip to Ecuador, courtesy Women Traveling Together Tour SOUTHEAST INDIANA KENTUCKY OHIO INDIANA Cincinnati Indianapolis Louisville Lexington 1 South of I-74 & west of I-275, 20 minutes west of Cincinnati 800-322-8198 "Arty Party" Fun with Flowers & Fudge Aurora and Lawrenceburg HANDS ON FUN! GIRLFRIEND Getaways Victorian Christmas Ornaments H

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