Intrepid Travel Is Launching 2 New Women-Only Trips to Fight Travel Inequity

The trips to Pakistan and Nepal are part of the company's Women's Expeditions category.

hiking in nepal
Photo courtesy of Intrepid Travel
Photo courtesy of Intrepid Travel

Traveling solo as a woman can be intimidating. Safety concerns, women's health needs, and the lack of travel experiences catered to women are only some of the hindrances female travelers face when considering embarking on a new trip.

The number of women looking for positive, equitable change in travel is not to be overlooked. Intrepid Travel, a small-group adventure travel company, just released findings from a recent survey conducted among 2,027 US adults aged 18 and older, and found that a whopping 83% of women ages 18 to 34 wish that the travel industry created more experiences tailored specifically for women.

When considering what an authentic travel experience entails—including a possibly remote location, an unfamiliar culture, and even language barriers—it isn't surprising to learn that women want to stick together when away from home. Take feeling safe and protected, for example. Of all women surveyed, 64% of them listed safety as the most important factor influencing their travel decision.

The comfort of being safe when traveling has largely to do with who you decide to share the trip with, too. According to Intrepid Travel's study, this is a greatly important factor for women, and 93% of women surveyed agreed on the importance of feeling comfortable with other travelers on a group tour.

Nowadays, it doesn't have to be that difficult to travel as a woman. In 2018, Intrepid Travel launched its collection of Women's Expeditions, which are the company's category of female-only experiences. These journeys, which help travelers engage with authentic cultures across the globe and support employment opportunities for women, are led entirely by female leaders. They strive to both celebrate and empower women by offering a solution to the common gender-related issues that arise when traveling as a woman. The initiative has been hugely successful.

"Embracing equity is a fundamental part of Intrepid Travel's mission, and our Women's Expeditions highlight our efforts to create employment opportunities for females from all walks of life, while facilitating meaningful connections," Jenny Gray, Intrepid Travel's Senior Product Manager (who created the trips) said in a statement provided to Thrillist. "This tour range has been our most popular in Intrepid's 30+ year history, proving that this kind of representation and experience is in demand by women."

Pakistani women
Photo courtesy of Intrepid Travel

This year, Intrepid Travel is bringing two more trips to its Women's Expeditions initiative in an effort to continue breaking down travel barriers and gender stereotypes. Since 2018, the company has been offering women-only trips to culture-rich destinations, including Morocco, India, Jordan, and Iran. Now, for the first time, Intrepid Travel will widen its South Asian offerings, and will bring women travelers to Pakistan and Nepal with two new trip itineraries.

With its first-ever departure scheduled for September 17, the Pakistan trip will lead travelers through Pakistan's immense beauty and captivating culture for a total of 12 days. Travelers on this trip will learn about authentic culture and tradition through the eyes of local women, and they'll visit one of Pakistan's few female-only salons in Gulmit where hijab-wearing women are able to safely and respectfully get their haircuts. Led by Pakistani tour leader Aneeqa Ali, travelers will get the chance to experience the nuances of Pakistani culture, which is oft misrepresented and overlooked.

"Even the most adventurous travelers who have been all over the world don't know much about Pakistan. When travelers want to visit, women in particular want a female tour guide because of the news they've heard about Pakistan, but if you look at Pakistan's tourism industry, it's like a world of men," said Ali. "I've faced these challenges firsthand and thought 'Why not be the change you want to see in the world?'"

On the 13-day-long Nepal trip, an all-female crew of guides will have travelers visit an all-female monastery, where they will meet and learn about the difficulties faced by local Buddhist nuns, including those imposed by patriarchal traditions. Travelers will also get the chance to meet an NGO supporting women and working to abolish the illegal but common practice of Chhaupadi, which bans women from homes, schools, and temples during their menstrual cycle.

During the trip, travelers will also embark on a five-day hike to discover the marvelous Annapurna mountain range, and they will experience local Nepalese dishes at a traditional cooking class.

The new women-only trips to Pakistan and Nepal are set to launch this year. The other ones that are part of the Women's Expedition initiative are already running. To book your spot and to learn more about the trips, you can visit Intrepid Travel's website.

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Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.