There have always been groups of all men and all women who choose to take vacations together, but the travel industry—ever alert to the latest lifestyle trends—is responding with new and creative offerings designed for this kind of travel.
“Same gender travel” represents yet another growing and potentially lucrative niche.
The increasing number of single Americans who, unlike back in the bad old days, are comfortable with their relationship status, is partly responsible for the trend: Singles now make up the majority of the adult population. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that 124.6 million Americans 16 years and older were single in 2014 (that includes never-married, divorced, separated, and widowed). That’s just over 50 percent of the population compared to about 22 percent in 1950.
Yet, men-only and women-only trips don’t appeal only to singles.
Sometimes, getting away from it all means getting away from “them,” including spouses and especially—let’s be non-judgmental—kids. Of course, many people also enjoy taking a breather from partners and significant others.
Tour operators who specialize exclusively in same-gender travel are too numerous to mention.
But, here are two recent cases in point.
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For example, We Are Travel Girls launched last June. It isn’t a tour op but rather a “female travel inspiration” website designed to serve a “female travel community", connecting female travelers across the globe while featuring female travel bloggers and female travel tips and stories.
It also holds monthly We Are Travel Girls Meet-Ups in different cities around the world, publishes monthly interviews featuring inspirational women and showcases thousands of female world travelers on its Instagram page @WeAreTravelGirls.
Men, meanwhile, are tapping into “Bro-Cations.”
At least that’s the hope of several tour ops marketing with the focus firmly on adventure. (My guess is that a female or two could also sign up, but how many women would seriously be interested in a trip to “Fish the Remote Russian Wilderness”?)
This program, offered by Frontiers International Travel, takes participants to the Ryabaga Camp on the Ponoi River, located above the Arctic Circle. The camp is accessed via a two-hour MI-8 helicopter ride across the Russian tundra.
Then there’s Adventure Life’s “Mountain Bike Ecuador’s Cotopaxi National Park.” Geared to advanced mountain bikers, the challenging itinerary takes you through the Santa Rita Ecological Reserve, El Tambo Trail, The Road of the Lahars and down the Cotopaxi Volcano.
For a tamer type of biking experience, Ciclismo Classico has a Belgium Beer Bike Tour with access to a slew of boutique breweries. (There are, as the company notes, more than 1,130 beers brewed in Belgium.)
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Whether men and women opt for an all-women travel meet-up or a bike ride down the side of a volcano, same-sex travel holds many attractions—not the least of which is a unique sort of bonding.
I can attest to that personally.
I took a week-long press trip several years ago to Flanders. It wasn’t designed as an all-women tour, but it turned out that way. The five of us on that trip—from different states and with different personal situations—had an amazing time in an all-girl, no-holds-barred, finding-common ground kind of way.
I’ve never laughed so much in my life.