Small group tours for women in dream destinations around the globe
Many of us are feeling ready to travel again, so I’ve curated a list of dream destinations and travel tours for women in 2023. I have traveled to France, Spain, Greece and Canada during the pandemic and I never caught Covid while abroad. With the right planning and precautions, it is possible to travel and minimize the risk. That said, travel medical insurance is more important than ever, and it’s necessary to read the fine print of any bookings you are considering so you understand the cancellation terms.
And so, for anyone ready to jump into travel, this list of tours for women should offer some inspiration. Several of these trips are countries I’ve visited: France, Portugal, Greece, India, New Zealand. Others are destinations at the top of a long bucket list: Morocco, Jordan, Croatia, Botswana. I’ve picked several tours for women in Europe, as it is always popular. Some of these tours are for women only, some are open to anyone. Note that air travel is not included in these prices.
Dream Destinations 2023
Travel Tours for Women
Of the tour operators included here, I have traveled with G Adventures and Traverse Journeys. The other companies are ones I have researched thoroughly and in several cases had conversations with the founders. I would happily take any of these trips.
This is about dream trips, not budget travel, so some of the tours are once-in-a-lifetime type vacations (i.e. expensive). But there are also trips priced around US$3000. (All prices are U.S. dollars). The destination is often the largest predictor of cost: African safaris are typically very expensive. India is more affordable.
Of course, organized group travel if not for everyone. If you would prefer to plan a custom itinerary, these tours might kickstart your travel dreaming; I often look at organized tours for inspiration when planning my own trips. Note that many of tour companies I mention here will also plan a custom trip for your group or family.
Travel for me has always been about more than taking a vacation. It’s about how I feel when I’ve left my daily life behind and am exploring a new place; I feel inspired, alive and free. It was such fun to create this list – the biggest challenge was limiting it to these dream destinations.
I’ve started with Morocco because I hear so many women say it’s on their bucket list. In fact, I was in the midst of planning my own trip to Morocco when the coronavirus upended travel. Needless to say, this country fascinates me – the colourful medinas, the stunning riads of Marrakech and the rolling dunes of the Sahara. Morocco offers a remarkable variety of cultural experiences and dramatic landscapes within a single country; no wonder so many of us are dreaming of a visit to this special North African country.
Have you seen photos of Croatia’s Dalmatian coast? Charming seaside villages, pretty green hills and turquoise water. Add to that an interesting culture, and Croatia seems like vacation heaven, and a photographer’s dream come true!
Croatia Adventure & Photography ~ Women-Only Tour
8 days/$2850 September 2023
Into the Wild Photography School leads tours for women in exceptional locations with a focus on adventure, learning more about yourself, and capturing it all with incredible photos. The co-founder, Wendy Whitacre, likes to joke that she is an 18-year-old adventurer trapped in a 42-year-old’s body. I can relate, although I’ll adjust that slightly to feeling like a 30-year-old trapped in a 54-year-old’s body.
On this 8-day Photography Tour of Croatia, you’ll explore the fascinating, historic cities of Split and Dubrovnik, as well as the stunning coastline. Optional activities include hiking, sailing, snorkeling, cliff jumping and cooking. Improving my photography is a definite work-in-progress, and Croatia is on my bucket list! I would love to take this tour.
Note: this tour only offers shared occupancy.
Culinary Adventure in Portugal
Wild Algarve with Cheema's Travel
February 24 - March 2, 2023 (contact Rani for pricing)
Cheema’s Travel was started by Rani Cheema who grew up in New York City and became passionate about the intersection of food and culture. Before starting her travel company, Rani was an art director at the Food Network & Cooking Channel and has lived in Spain, South Korea and Bangladesh.
This Foodie’s Tour of the Algarve in Portugal is ideal if you are craving a relaxed pace and a tour focused on food and wine. Rani personally guides all of her tours and puts tremendous thought and care into the itineraries and the local chefs and food producers who she partners with. This trip would be a foodies dream come true. You’ll experience the citrus harvest, and the artisanal distillation of “Medronho” firewater among other unique experiences.
I was in New Zealand 20 years ago on my honeymoon and I have always wanted to return. It’s a true pastoral paradise and the gorgeous coastline and dramatic landscapes are breathtaking. Add to that the lovely people and a very relaxed vibe, and New Zealand is truly special. Coming from winter in Canada, I also recall how in awe I was of the gorgeous flowers and colourful birds. Anyone who loves exploring beautiful natural places will be captivated by New Zealand.
Crystal Coast New Zealand by Wild Women's Adventures -
8 days/$5995 – 2023 dates coming soon
New Zealand has always drawn adventure lovers. This trip by Wild Women’s Adventures, New Zealand Crystal Coast Adventure emphasizes exploration of the country’s gorgeous coastline, coastal forests and seaside towns. It involves lots of walking and an array of other activities including kayaking, hiking, and sailing. This style of travel offers incredible access to wetlands, birds and marine life.
Since WWE trips are designed for women who love the outdoors I can’t think of a place more suited for appreciating the beautiful natural environment than New Zealand.
Cycling in France
France is one of my forever dream destinations. Unoriginal perhaps, but you can’t dictate the whims of the travel heart. I’ve been lucky enough to visit France several times, first when I was 20 and most recently last fall. In 2019, I took a wonderful trip to Paris and the Loire Valley. I’ve written about it in my: Guide to the Loire Valley.
The Loire was considered an idyllic retreat by French royalty and nobility because if its proximity to Paris, pastoral beauty, and forests for hunting. They built palaces and manor homes here in the 15th and 16th centuries and many of those chateaux remain today – beautiful treasures of French renaissance architecture. This fertile region is also known as the “Garden of France” so the food and wine are fantastic. Mais oui, this is France.
Easygoing E-bike Tour Loire Valley - Backroads (For anyone)
6 days/ from $5599 Multiple dates, April -September 2023
A bicycle is the perfect way to see the beautiful Loire Valley as it’s mostly flat. On the Easygoing E-bike Tour Loire Valley you will travel like a French noble – you won’t have to peddle your steed unless you desire to. In other words, you will ride effortlessly around the Loire on your electric bike. I recently rode an e-bike around an island in Greece and it is a marvelous way to explore. You are still peddling as with a traditional bike, but you are getting an assist which you can control to the degree you like.
This tour is part of a new vacation series called Dolce Tempo by U.S.-based Backroads. They are known for active travel and I love this variation. I’ve thought about doing a bicycling trip in France and I would actually prefer an e-bike to traditional cycling. When in France, I’m all about relaxation and indulgence.
Backroads is also known for great service and luxurious accommodation and this itinerary includes stays at historic chateaux, part of the reason for the higher price.
While six days is on the shorter side for a dream destination, it does allow time to add on a stay in Paris. I recommend at least three days in Paris if you have time, because it is so much more enjoyable to see at a leisurely pace. If you are interested in Paris, you can read about my experience in my Guide to Paris and the Eiffel Tower .
Epic Adventures in Small Groups
Jordan is rich in culture, history and spectacular scenery. Petra, Jordan’s ancient city of pink stone, is supposed to be an experience unlike any other. As with Morocco, Jordan offers the chance to explore a desert, the Wadi Rum, as well as the fascinating culture of the Bedouin people.
Taste & Trails of Jordan by Traverse Journeys - Tour for Anyone
8 days/$2995 (tour for everyone) May 7-14, 2023
Taste & Trails of Jordan is ideal for people who appreciate authentic cultural experiences – a visit to a women’s soap-making cooperative and a community-run cooking project are both on the itinerary, as well as a stay in a tented Bedouin camp. Note that this is an active trip, with 25+ miles of hiking throughout the week, including guided walks to explore Petra and its famous Treasury.
Accommodation is in 3-star hotels and an eco-lodge. The maximum trip size is 14 guests and travelers have the option to upgrade to private rooms for an additional $495. This trip will be hosted by Ashley Blake, founder of Traverse Journeys, along with local guides. I had the chance to travel with Ashley on a sailing trip in Greece in May and I can tell you she puts enormous thought and care into every trip. Traverse Journeys focuses on making a positive economic impact on the people and places they visit; to learn more, I encourage you to visit their Responsible Travel page. I highly recommend Traverse Journeys!
(You can receive $100 off of any Traverse Journeys trip with the code MG100)
Safari Tours to Africa
Kenya Masai Mara - African Budget Safaris
7 days/$2694 (for anyone) Dates throughout 2023
I haven’t been on an African Safari but when I see pictures of the gorgeous open spaces and incredible wildlife my heart beats a little faster. It is at the TOP of my bucket list.
And apparently it is possible to take a budget-friendly safari. Thank you to my Instagram friend Jen, of the Jen’s World blog, who shared how much she loved her safari with African Budget Safaris.
I selected the Kenya Masai Mara Lodge Safari which is a 7-day small group trip of up to 9 travellers. You will explore three of Kenya’s National Parks: Masai Mara, Amboseli, and Tsavo, spending two nights in safari lodges each in each. This trip requires overland transfers but includes your flights between Nairobi and the Masai Mara.
Departures are guaranteed for a minimum of two travelers and available weekly though the rest of 2022. This is a little different than the other group tours in this story. If you are on your own, you could inquire with the company about which dates have travelers booked, to see if you could join them.
Booking with this South Africa-based outfitter allows you to secure better prices than booking with an international tour company; the latter has to price in operating costs of offices and staff in places like the US and UK. And it’s nice to know more of your travel dollars are going directly to the destination country.
I’ve heard incredible things about Botswana and it has captured my imagination. There is something about the way the landscape changes in the Kalahari with the seasonal floods, and the diversity of the wildlife that feels especially magical. Along with Uganda (to see the mountain gorillas) Botswana is a place that fills my travel dreams of Africa.
Kalahari, the Delta & Beyond ~ Natural Habitat Adventures
12 days/$12995 (+internal air) 2023 tours: January through March & November-December (tour for anyone)
The “green season” in Botswana is November through March and the Kalahari, the Delta & Beyond tour with Natural Habitat Adventures takes you to the Kalahari during the summer rains which brings herds of migrating animals and abundant new life – these young animals are affectionately called “bush babies”. This trip includes the Okavango Delta to see lions and other wildlife, which remain year-round.
Natural Habitat Adventures has been the official partner of the World Wildlife Fund since 2003. All of its wildlife expeditions are designed so that animal welfare and conservation of wild spaces is the priority. For that reason, their trips are very small groups, only 7 people.
Expert naturalists guide the trip and guests stay in small private camps instead of busy national parks. This tour includes a visit to Victoria Falls when the water flow is at peak volume. If wildlife photography is of interest, there are specific dates designated as “photo departures”.
African safaris are expensive; if you are going to splurge on a high-end safari, I think this itinerary gives you a true once-in-a-lifetime experience. Sign me up!
If you’ve read other stories here on Midlife Globetrotter, you might already know how I feel about India. I took my first trip to India in 2017, (without my family) and fell in love with it. That trip was significant for a number of reasons. Having to only think of myself for two weeks allowed me to leave the obligations of everyday life behind, and remember all the things I love about travel. It also reminded me of some things I had forgotten about myself, while I was busy taking care of everyone else.
India is unlike anywhere else I’ve been: the colourful chaos, the life packed into every corner, the food, the ancient culture and spirituality. The smiles of the women who always seem busy at work. India may not be for everyone, but if it intrigues you, I highly encourage you to go. I think it’s one of those places that is ideal for a group tour, especially on your first trip.
Discover India - G Adventures
15 days/$3299 (tour for everyone) Dates throughout 2023.
(I don’t advise India travel between late March and August as it’s extremely hot.)
There are many India tours for women only including the Purposeful Nomad tour, referenced above.
I am recommending Discover India with G Adventures because I took this exact tour and really loved it. It’s an ideal first trip to India: the perfect travel masala (mixture) of this fascinating country. You will visit the stunning forts and palaces of Rajasthan, take an Indian safari in search of the Bengal tiger, and experience spiritual India in the holy city of Varanasi. And some of India’s most fascinating cities such as Jaipur and Udaipur are on the itinerary as well.
This itinerary is one of G Adventures’ collaborations with National Geographic, so it is the highest level of service and accommodation that G offers. It’s not luxury, but it’s upgraded. India is more affordable than many other destinations and I think this is a solid value.
United States - Group Tours for Women, Guided by Women
Active Travel Adventures - REI
If you are looking for U.S. travel, the outdoor company, REI, has a plentiful offering of active adventures for women. Itineraries of 3-5 days explore some of the most stunning landscapes in the U.S. Choose from among 17 trips that include cycling, hiking, kayaking, camping and backpacking. Details at REI Women’s Adventures.
I don’t know about you, but I am now wondering how we could possibly choose just one of these destinations? While we decide, some of us might also need to start saving for our dream trip. You’ll find some ideas in: How to Afford Travel.
Is there a dream destination you’ve visited and would recommend to other midlife women? What’s at the top of your travel bucket list? Please share in the comments below.