Women have always made for colourful travellers. The most vibrant amongst traveller’s tales in medieval times was that of ‘the wife of Bath’, a cheerful widow whose “wimpled hips” bounced off the donkey’s back as she set off on her travel in Chaucer’s Pilgrim’s Progress. New travel research has shown that women are increasingly taking charge of travel plans and this includes family vacations, holidays with friends and kids and yes, all-girls vacations in India
Sheema Mookherjee, publisher Lonely Planet, India, says, “It’s women who are romantic at heart and have the imagination to plan great trips. Internet and a highly organised travel industry have made it easy for them to plan and book their entire trip sitting at home”.
Vidya Sagar, 48, interior designer in Chennai, plans travels with her large circle of friends and family with regular precision since the last decade. Her family travel four times each year including international travel, short weekend escapes and girlie holidays thrown in. From choosing the destination, to selecting the accommodation, modes of travel, best rates, her friends trust her with chalking the itinerary too. Her circle of nine families went on a Norwegian cruise last year and went on a trip to South Africa the year before. “I’d say women make for better travel planners as we’re patient and if we want to play smart we can make the itinerary to our needs and choice and tell the men they gave us the space to do it,” she says.
Tania Gooptu 41, partner with Adventus firm in Delhi agrees. “I prefer to do the research myself and chase the itch to be the first to go to any place”. Her family clocks five mini-breaks within the country in a year and an international family destination once a year. Just back from a trip to the Lake District and Scotland with friends, Gooptu had planned the details to the last. “A self-confessed “excel sheet-addict” she says, “I’m focussed while making plans. I go for thorough research fast and in 4-5 hours manage to nail a good staying place from over 500 options.” She’s planning a New Year’s bash for 24 families at a surprise destination in the hills. Her friend Rathindra Basu says, “Our circle of friends trust her plans. She knows the needs of the group and her efficiency is formidable”.
“Women are smart at compartmentalising. When organising such trips, women are able to take into considerations of the varying needs of the groups, especially kids and throw in shopping and vegetarian food and other such demands,” says Padmaja Venket Ram, a graphic designer enjoys travelling with her gal pals as much as she does with her family. Travel experts point out, “There is a growing trend of Indian women travelling on their own. Busy lifestyles of corporate husbands have pushed many women to take the plunge and discover the world on their own or with small groups of like-minded friends.”
Sudha G Tilak is a Delhi based and is a consultant editor for Lonely Planet.