Women’s Travel Fears
Where Female Fears Get in the Way of Travel
Bet you thought I was going to talk about pick pocketing? Theft? Safety? Nope, this article is about women’s neuroses that get in the way of travel. It is based on 23 years of travel with women, in The Women’s Travel Club then The Women’s Travel Group .
Many women fear being out of their environment, where they are accepted, know their roles and have a certain status. Additionally in other cultures they don’t always know the rules. Below are some situations, with solutions you might try.
Example and Solution: You are on our ‘Paris for the Holidays’ trip and forgot to tell us you are a vegetarian. The waitress brings you a lovely plate of veal. What now? If you have special needs, prepare for them with a google translation note you carry all the time. Smile be patient…. Show the note in French. If wait staff seem annoyed, remember they might be just concerned. Be patient; food in Europe takes longer. Most of all, smile and say thank you. Prepare with a written note. Advise us ahead of time. Be flexible. Don’t jump to angry.
Example and Solution: You are on our trip to India. It is sunrise on the Ganges; around you are praying locals, faces and bodies painted preparing funeral pyres. As magnificent as the scene is, you feel strange. What to do now? Stay next to the guide, tell her your discomfort. She will have heard all comments many times before. Ask her to take your photos if you are leery of pointing your phone. Trust that your guide is on your team and ready to help. Share how you feel with others in the group. Some of the most interesting moments in women’s travel come after visits like this. Some of the surprises come when you realize everyone feels the same way.
Example and solution: You are the boss in your office and like directing and managing. Now you are at the ‘mercy’ of a guide in Istanbul who doesn’t seem to get women. Some women have a hard time letting go when on vacation. We all feel shaky with jet lag and fatigue. A licensed guide in most countries requires exams plus experience with routine and emergency situations. Guiding is a plum job not to be underestimated. The internet has made us all inexpert experts. Drivers like guides are licensed , insured and are monitored by their companies. They, not you, know the speed limits and roads that require more attention. Let go a bit, trust the experts, and when you feel you must say something , do it with respect owed a professional. In some areas, understand that women are valued, perhaps in a different way, but valued just as much.
Example and Solution: A local you meet criticizes The United States. You are on safari and a local describes climate change and US government ‘indifference’ to it. One of the benefits of travel is hearing the opinions of others. We cannot read non-English speaking newspapers, but we can hear others talk. When confronted with negative feedback about The United States, don’t react rashly. Listen more than you talk. Respond with a simple explanation and leave it like that. We are ambassadors for our country, as well as tourists.
Example and Solution: You feel you stick out as an American tourist. There is no event, that cannot be enjoyed in black pants with a scarf and decent dark tee. Americans wear more jewelry than others, so leave it home. We often resort to sneakers. Leave sneakers home, invest in black leather walking shoes even black sneakers. Dress to be comfortable; no one will remember your wardrobe. You will never look as good as say, Italians in Tuscany or Parisians in Paris. But you will not stick out.
Example and Solution: You have a physical problem and are embarrassed about it. Toilet need? Stutter? Just separated and need to be quiet? Wear a wig? Allergic to perfume? You wish to share a room to save money, but are very private and live alone? There is nothing we at The Women’s Travel Group have not heard. A traveling group of women becomes like a family of strangers, helping each other with understanding. Share your issue with only one person to begin, the air will clear as you realize they understand.
The Women’s Travel Group at www.thewomenstravelgroup.com welcomes all women who love smart travel. Tours are insightful like Paris for Christmas, adventurous like luxury India in November exhilarating like Africa in January . Women come solo knowing they will be taken care of and welcomed.
Here are photos from a recent Women’s Travel Group Tour.
Blog of Travel Tips: www.thewomenstravelgroup.wordpress.com