Older Women Are the New Face of Wanderlust

The adventure travel industry is getting a boost from mature female tourists
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2024 3:25 PM CST
Older Women Are the New Face of Wanderlust
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/Ridofranz)

Adventure travel's allure lies in its promise of helping you break out of your comfort zone as you explore new places and meet new people. For women especially, that sector of the travel industry has exploded: Citing stats from the Adventure Travel Trade Association, the Washington Post reports that female travelers account for 57% of the explorers who make reservations through global travel companies. Mature women over 40 are prime clients, and women older than 65 are getting particularly adventurous—their solo travel numbers jumped from 4% in 2019 to 18% in 2022. "Our most repeat guest who has attended eight of our retreats is in her early 70s," says Rebecca Garland, founder of the Fit & Fly travel company.

Costs for such trips vary. On the more affordable end are volunteering trips, where attendees often just have to pay for airfare. Other packages entail everything from cultural and conservation trips, to those big on wellness and physical activity—think hiking, yoga retreats, surfing, etc. Those type of getaways can cost anywhere from a few thousand to upward of $10,000 for more exotic destinations or activities. Over the past year, other outlets have similarly noted how women are diving more fully into adventure travel, especially solo, and major firms are capitalizing on the trend. Backroads, one of the most well-known travel companies in the world, last summer launched a series of more than two dozen trips that are no-men zones.

"There's a special magic and connection that often happens when women gather," company exec Avery Hale Smith said in a release at the time. "We're excited to offer women the opportunity to connect, learn, and be immersed in the local culture and community while discovering these amazing destinations together." "During the pandemic there was so much loss," Kristi Marsh of the AdventureWomen travel company tells the Post. "Now there's this underlying current of 'Go do things now.'" Ready to pack your valise? The newspaper details some options for travel groups owned and managed by women. Travel + Leisure also recommends 10 adventure groups geared toward women, "from hardcore outdoor adventures to luxe glamping-style getaways." (More adventure travel stories.)

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