Girls Getaways in India Gaining Power and Popularity

Girl Getaways in India are now literally changing the culture of the second-most populous country in the world.

Shedding tradition, groups of women living in India are increasingly traveling together to destinations both within and far outside their country.

Up until recently, Indian tradition maintained that women must have the “protection and care,” of a male (father figure or husband) with the travel group. And, up until just recently, women who traveled in groups together were only widows, abandoned wives, or much older women.

But with increasing income, education, and employment comes independence. So, India’s women are cutting the chains of patriarchal beliefs to begin traveling together with just female groups as company.

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“In a typical Indian family holiday women end up in a role-playing mode of being a mother, wife, daughter and are often unable to experience a destination as an individual,” says Piya Bose, owner of Mumbai-based women’s travel group, GOTG (Girls on the Go).

Debbie Misra agrees, who in addition to her annual holidays with husband and family, she takes a trip with “my gal pals of similar interests” on two vacations per year.

“At any given time, an Indian woman has to accommodate the various needs of her family, be it her husband with a desire for golf and home cooking or kids with adventure or infants with baby food and nappy changes.

Even the educated and emancipated women relax more in the company of like-minded women”, she says.

So, to respond, Girlfriend Getaway travel companies are beginning to spring up in India due to the growing number of urban, educated Indian women with a desire to travel together.

One of the pioneers in the Girlfriend Getaway niche is Sumitra Senapathy, who works out of offices in both New Delhi and Bangalore. Starting out as a travel writer, Senapathy founded a travel company just for women travelers called WOW (Women on Wanderlust) eight years ago.

In an article in Aljezeera, Senapathy recalls the start of the company being a “humble home enterprise” that grew 100 percent year over year due to women learning about it through “word of mouth” (the original social media). Her company now organizes more than 75 trips each year with about half of those being international.

“We’re not a travel agency, but a travel platform for women to come together and share exciting experiences. They can come in solo but, travel with the security that a group provides”, says Senapathy.

Just like the Girlfriend Getaway trips we see that are popular here such as nature adventures and spa and wellness trips are the favorites in India too. Then destinations like, Morocco, Argentina, Japan, Peru, Bolivia, Iceland and Pacific cruises are the top choices for an Indian Girlfriend Getaway.

This can be truly liberating for women when they really need to get away from it all because they can now create or join women-only groups. Again, just like here in the West, women-only travel groups are creating, planning, booking trips together through websites and social tools.

But these women-only Girlfriend Getaways are more than just a vacation for women in India. They symbolize a change of the times. Women are now educated, upwardly-mobile independent women. The Girlfriend Getaway for them is a way to further express their independence.

“A growing number of Indian women with incomes of their own, with an appetite for travel and adventure across the big cities now see travel as an expression of their own individuality,” says Vidya Deshpande, the owner of an all women adventure travel company. “Economic independence and the opening of traditional mindsets have made this choice possible.

Now in India, Girlfriend Getaways are only one percent of the Indian travel market. But with and eye on female entrepreneurship and the slow but sure growth of female independence, this market is set to grow exponentially while further liberating the women of India through travel and sisterhood.

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