No Men Allowed: Gutsy's Catalog Offers More Women-Only Trips

Girlfriends’ Getaways are one of travel’s hottest trends

By: Jamie Wetherbe

It’s no longer just another guys’ night out: Girlfriends’ Getaways are the trend in leisure travel, and the industry is responding to give women what they want.

If fact, the number of women-only tour operators has increased 230 percent in the past two years, offering a variety of shopping, spa and adventure travel packages, according to a recent NBC News report.

As more women are working (and now make up 40 percent of business travel), they have disposable income for travel.

A Royal Caribbean International survey showed that 48 percent of respondents had taken a girlfriends-only trip in the past few years, and many said they have plans for another. Girlfriends-on-the-go are most interested in sharing a spa retreat (66 percent), beach vacation (65 percent), shopping trip (57 percent), cruise (53 percent) or city visit (42 percent).

“Some of these women have never been on trips on their own, without children and husbands, Gutsy Women Travel CEO Gail Golden recently told Time Magazine. “By the end of the first night, women are hugging each other and telling their life stories. You remember when you were young and had a pajama party? Well, we’re only taller.”

Gutsy Women Travel, a division of Maupintour, offers worldwide getaways designed specifically for women. Group sizes are capped at 20 participants, and programs include cultural and cuisine experiences, spa treatments and soft-adventure elements, like guided walking tours. Gutsy is also offering several new packages for 2006 to attract more female clientele.

Gutsy Women At Sea packages offer cruisetours with Holland America and Windstar Cruises that combine cruise itineraries with land stays. Europe’s Riviera six-night cruise includes a stay in Rome and Nice and starts at $5,703. Departure dates are June 11 and Oct. 15.

The Costa Rica & San Jose seven-day Windstar cruise also includes a three-night city stay. The cruise starts at $2,797 with departure dates set for Jan. 7 and 21. Holland America offers a 13-day Alaskan Adventure cruise and land tour starting at $1,595. Departure dates are May 14, Jun. 18 and Aug. 13.

For those seeking peace of mind, Gutsy’s Mind, Body, & Spirit programs feature spiritual tours to domestic and international locations like Peru, Vietnam and Cambodia, and Sedona, Ariz. the best-known “energy spots” in the world. Prices range from $955 for the five-day Sedona/Grand Canyon tour to a nine-day European tour for $2,995, which features spots mentioned in the “Da Vinci Code” novel.

Jamaica Negril all-inclusive, land-only resort packages start at $264 per person, per night, and feature getaways to SuperClubs Grand Lido Negril Resort.

For clients who love Latin dance, the 10-day Argentina & Brazil: Tango & Samba tour starts at $2,399. Departure dates are set for Feb. 24, April 21, Oct. 13 and Dec. 8

The eight-day, escorted Amsterdam, Rembrandt & Bruges tour starts at $2,459, and offers clients a chance to see Rembrandt exhibitions. Departure dates are April 2, July 9 and Sept. 24.

For those who prefer to skip the group experience and travel solo or with a few friends, Gutsy Women on the Go offers independent tour packages and city stays to locales, including Dubai, Hong Kong, Munich, Bermuda and more.

A complete list of tours and itineraries is available on Gusty Women's Web site.

Commission: 10 percent