Women Who Travel, in partnership with El Camino Travel, just announced their new 2020 group trips. In addition to the destinations they already cover, Colombia and Mexico, self-identifying women can now book a cultural, female-focused and sustainable trip to the land of salsa music, cigars and mojitos.
“Travel to Cuba is just really complicated,” admitted Megan Spurrell, Community Editor at Condé Nast Traveler, the renowned publication behind Women Who Travel. ” But we don’t want women to feel like there’s anything standing in the way between them and going to a place they want to go. “
Condé Nast Traveler began Women Who Travel for this very reason. They wanted to provide inspiration for any woman to feel comfortable and confident when traveling, and to highlight amazing women around the world doing incredible things like climbing Mount Everest or dogsledding in the Iditarod. What started as a collection of stories (launched in 2017 on International Women‘s Day, no less) has since blossomed into an informative and entertaining podcast, an immensely popular Facebook group, and monthly meetups around the United States.
They announced their first organized trips to Colombia and Mexico in the fall of 2018. “Something we saw in the Facebook group all the time was women wanting to go everywhere that men go, not feeling like they have to be restricted, or wanting to go somewhere but not having friends available to go,” Megan said. By offering female only group tours, they’ve helped make the world more accessible while offering one-of-a-kind, female-centric experiences.
Jacki Potorke Photo
Women-only travel has become more prominent—nearly two thirds of travelers today are women, and tour operators are taking note. Women Who Travel chose to partner with El Camino Travel, a women-run business, and Megan herself helps craft the itineraries to ensure they support local women and have a female-focused angle.
“The itinerary is also super immersive,” she added. “We rely so much on local connections, and luckily, as travel editors, we have a lot of those. So we’re able to work with someone like El Camino and merge our networks, which has enabled us to find, say, a designer who’s open to giving us a shopping tour of her city that no one else would ever have access to. We provide something a little more unique.”
For their new Cuba trip, for example, participants will be surprised to see a visit to a boxing gym on the schedule. While the country produces world class boxers, most of them are, unsurprisingly, men. Women boxers are currently in the midst of getting approval from their government to send the first ever Cuban female boxing team to go the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
“It’s incredible to be in this open air gym that’s in an older part of Havana. The walls having peeling paint, and it’s got really retro color schemes,” Megan mentioned. “And there are all these men boxing with really loud music playing, and then there are these women who have this fabulous hair, they’ve got their makeup on, and they’re boxing with all the men in 95 degree weather.”
On the Women Who Travel Cuba trip, women will get to do a workout and train with these boxers. Not only is the experience fun (” Every woman who feels frustrated ne to go boxing in Cuba ,” laughed Megan), but it feels empowering and highlights dedicated women who want to make a positive change in their country.
It’s these kind of immersive experiences that truly stand out on the trips that Women Who Travel and El Camino Travel organize—these “pinch me” moments where people get to connect with locals in a way they might not expect to on a group trip, and in turn connect with each other.
And ultimately, that’s what Megan wants these trips to be about. “Even three days in, you can see these deep friendships forming,” she said. “You’ll see people going to each other’s rooms to hang out and talk. It’s just these moments that show what women do with their best friends, and it’s so cool to see that happen.”
Theresa Christine is a freelance travel writer based in Los Angeles, CA. You can follow along with her adventures around the world by subscribing to her newsletter Delve here.