A new travel company promises off-the-beaten track adventures and life-long friendships for solo women with a thirst for travel.
Girls on Travel, which launched this year, was born of a determination to help women follow their dreams and see the world and was inspired by the stories of women in their 30s and 40s who yearned to travel but lacked the confidence to go alone.
Their first trips set off this winter and include a 12-day horse-riding adventure in Rajhastan, India, a five-day city break encompassing New Year’s Eve in Paris, an 11-day trip over New Year to Thailand, or a three-day trip to the Lake District this October.
The company, recently selected for Natwest’s Entrepreneurial Accelerator Programme, is run by Belgian Gaëlle De Vriendt who quit her job in events one grey November day to follow her passion for travel.
She said: “Often I meet women who are bored of the same old holidays – they long to go out of their comfort zone but don’t want to go alone. Eating dinner alone every evening in a new country can be daunting, it’s lonely having no-one to share experiences with when you travel. Many single women don’t have anyone to travel with – their friends are starting families or spending holidays with their partners.
“One woman told me she’d decided not to follow her dream of travelling because she had no-one to go with. That was the turning point for me – the moment I decided to launch a company that would help women see the world and make amazing new friendships.”
Gaëlle, 31, who lives in New Cross Gate, has travelled extensively – working on eco farms in Guatemala and Costa Rica, visiting Colombia, Senegal, Egypt, Vietnam, China and Japan and Gaëlle worked in an orphanage in Bolivia.
She added: “As the daughter of divorced parents I had double the travel opportunities growing up. My parents instilled a love of travel in me – it’s my passion and it’s how I’ve met some good friends. There’s something very special about opening your eyes to other worlds and being around like-minded people.”
When Gaëlle arrived in London she didn’t know anyone and turned to meet-up groups on Facebook to make friends – groups offering activities like museum visits, wine tasting and learning new skills. It sparked the idea for Girls on Travel.
Gaëlle said: “Other sites offer travel for 18-25-year-olds or for the over 60s but I wanted to do something for a different age bracket that offered the chance to really see a country, to soak up the atmosphere, see the main sights and also head off the beaten track and enjoy local experiences. It is all about experiential travelling.”
Girls on Travel team up with trusted third-party companies from around the world to tailor unique trips for groups of between four and 12 women. The website features a forum where customers can create their profile and get to know each other before going on the trip.
“Our market is busy women with a sense of adventure and a budget to travel but perhaps not the time to plan it. From the moment they land we take care of everything – all they have to do is arrange the flight,” added Gaëlle.
Members of the Local Buyers Club can save 5% on trips at www.girlsontravel.co.uk
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