This Week's Links

Women's Travel Resources

Destination Adventure

Women's Boulevard

Women Travel


Women Traveling Together

Woman Motorist

Women's Wire Travel Section

Women On Their Way

Executive Women's Network

Maiden Voyage

Women On the Go

Carnival in Europe

The Last Word

Africa Desk


Women's Travel Options

Women's Travel Issues

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What Do Women Want?                back to TTN home page
 by Joe Harkins
(featured on Oxygen cable television - Feb 11, 2000)no - it's not a hairpiece, just a bad haircut

    I don't envy women who travel alone. I'm referring to issues that range from hassle-free travel to hair dryers in hotel rooms and restaurants where a solo woman feels welcome. What I found, and didn't find, in the way of online resources would bring out the Susan B. Anthony in anyone.

    What there is to recommend in women-focused travel on the internet was almost as hard to find as a hotel makeup mirror with decent lighting. As Gertrude Stein said of Oakland, California,
"There's no there, there."

    Two examples of this frustrating situation are
Destination Adventure which appears to be defunct and Women's Boulevard which is totally empty of travel resources except for an unfocused but mercifully brief article about Egypt. The rest of the latter site is overwhelmed by garish ads and non-standard page design that requires left to right scrolling.

    Although my incoming email-box probably is going to regret my candor, I have to say the situation is women's own fault. The number of online travel services for women are so rare because they either lack support from the audience they are intended to serve or at the very least, those who would provide the service seem to think that. Fortunately, except for a few web design issues that are too common on the Internet, the viable "women travelers" sites that I found are well done.

    One of the more entertaining is Rough Guide's Women Travel. It contains superb writing, typical of all their guide books.

    Virtually alone in the field, the self-description on the home page of
JourneyWoman says it all,  "Winner of an Apex 95, 96 & 98 Award of Excellence, this quarterly is jam-packed with exciting gal-friendly city sites, an international travel tip bazaar, lots of women's travel tales from women around the world, love stories, what should I wear, and JourneyWoman's online travel classifieds and links." Despite hours of intensive online research I didn't find one Internet resource created for traveling women that even comes close to matching JourneyWoman either in completeness or quality of presentation.

    By the way, my computer's misogynistic spell-checker wants JourneyWoman to be "journeyman". (Bad boy; bad. Be quiet before you get me in trouble.)

Women Traveling Together tackles the issues with a uniquely feminine approach. WTT is a sorority-like membership organization open to women of any age and marital status. In addition to services and info available through the web, they are building an inter-city structure of chapters. However, it must be pointed out that only the excellent content justifies dealing with the overbearing interface and that old annoying left-right scroll that is the mark of a inept web page designer. (Do you see now why I don't need a spell-checker to get me in trouble?)

Woman Motorist isn't about getting to the convenience store without denting a fender. It's about fast cars and motorcycles and racing and . . . well, the flavor of the site is captured in the following sentence from one woman's description of her Texas Hill Country adventure. "I wrapped the scarf around the crown of the hat, secured it with the pin and then felt ready to take on the one thousand miles of the Texas 1000 road rally."

    The Satchel Pages, a newsletter for women over 40, offers an optional directory which allows a degree of anonymity for women who seek travel partners. Women's Wire Travel Section includes pages of sound advice on practical issues.

    Despite hours spent exhausting the contents of a half-dozen search engines, I found only one hotel web site that seemed to understand and address all the special issues for business women on the move;
Wyndham Hotels' Women On Their Way. Based on this site and its apparent commitment to their needs, were I a woman making one of the tens of millions of trips business women take annually, a Wyndham would be the first place I'd consider. Delta Airlines' used to offer a special section for female air travelers but it has disappeared, perhaps a victim of the same malaise of which I complained at the start of this article.

    As for travel agents and tour operators with special programs for women, the following stand out:
    The Directory at
Maiden Voyages includes an extensive set of region-specific links to women-owned tour agents and others specializing in travel for women. Women On the Go is another membership group. (Sheesh - when will some web page designers learn how simple it is to make a page viewable on virtually any screen without scrolling side-to-side?)

    Finally, the answer to Sigmund Freud's plaintive question,
"What do women want?" can be found in the motto of Carnival in Europe. Their 14-day, women-only tours of wild and crazy pre-Lenten Carnivals are that way, as the opening page says, because, "girls just wanna have fun."   


The Last Word Shortly after the above column was published, additional online resources, shown below, came to my attention. (OK? Enough??? It's fixed, right?? But how could I have kno . . .??? All right. It won't happen again. Now, can I have the remote back? And would you pleeeeaase get from out in front of the tube? It's 11 and goal to go. Thanks. And sweetie; while you're heading that direction, would you get me an icy-cold from the the freezer? Honey? Yo, Darlin'? What 'n hell's 'smatter with her, now?)

Africa Desk The Sears mail order catalog used to be known as "The Wish Book."  This site might be called The Safari Wishbook with rich photos of animals visited and places seen, none of which may be around anymore by the time your grand-daughter wants to go. The owner of Africa desk is one of the savviest (and co-incidentally, one of the most intelligent and attractive) women I've ever met in the travel business.

Postcards This is a sister-site to Africa Desk. The destination names of the four currently featured, women-only tours are as enticing as a half-pound box of double-chocolate walnut fudge; Botswana, Machu Pichu, Namibia and Malagasy.

Women's Travel Issues These are the papers presented in Baltimore, MD in October 1996 at the Second National Conference. The material may be five years old but the content is still relevant. The conference was funded by the Federal Highway Administration and organized by the Drachman Institute of the University of Arizona in cooperation with Morgan State University. In addition to bringing together the latest research on women's travel issues from a number of disciplines, the Conference was structured to alert policymakers and planners of the need to pay serious attention to the very real differences in the travel behavior and patterns of men and women, and among subgroups of women. This site is an absolute "must read" for any travel professional who is serious about serving this rapidly growing specialty market. It also deserves attention from women who want insight into how the travel industry, academia and the government perceive the issues.

Adventure Divas   This the online version of a PBS television series. The organizer of the series, Holly Morris, is the author a number of highly recommendable books and magazine articles about doing it on the road.

Women's Travel Resources In all honesty, I probably could have satisfied the theme of this week's column simply by supplying you with this link to Mr. Marcus Endicott. His various web sites (He has three plus a travel professionals-only discussion group focused on technology in tourism) are each among the most complete in their respective fields.

(Honey, can I have that icy-cold now? They're on the 4 yard line and I've got a bet that's gonna come in on this one. Sweetheart? Hon . . . ?  Are you there . . .?)

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