Where do we go from here? Predictions for Women’s Travel in the Future

by | Dec 18, 2020

2021 sunshine at the end of the road
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Last updated on August 22nd, 2021

Photo credit: yingyaipumi on Adobe Stock

It was quite a year…

By Carolyn Ray, Publisher + Editor-in-Chief, JourneyWoman

I’m listening to a song with lyrics that go like this: ‘Oooh child, things are gonna get brighter. Oooh child, things are get easier.’

I’m breathing a huge sigh of relief as 2020 comes to a close. It was a year of firsts, a year that no one could have ever imagined: little did I expect in the spring that the global pandemic would still be restraining us from something I love so dearly: travel. Over the months to follow, we wrestled with uncertainty and change. Words like ‘pivot’ and the ‘new normal’ became part of our regular dialogue.

So many of us struggled with isolation and loneliness – and frankly, still are. We also felt profound loss –the loss of spontaneity in our personal lives and the loss of family, friends and colleagues. I lost my father during the pandemic, heightening my already keen sense of separation at a time without the comforting rituals of death. This year has been an emotional rollercoaster, to say the least.

But this was also a year where we challenged ourselves to adapt. Even though we couldn’t travel, we embraced all the qualities of a traveller: Curiosity. Generosity. Gratitude. Empathy. Resilience. Courage.

And let’s give ourselves some credit – we made it through the year. The pandemic isn’t over, but we’re now seeing light with news of vaccines is on the horizon.

Toasting my father, who unexpectedly died of cancer on August 31, through my tears.

From 2020 to 2021…

If 2020 was the year of this…

2021 could be the year of…

Looking Ahead: Predictions and Q&A with the Women’s Advisory Council to Get TravelReady

The idea of a JourneyWoman Advisory Council came out of the survey we conducted this summer. One of our findings was that women didn’t know who to trust. Now you do.  These women are all volunteers who signed up to offer their honest, unfiltered advice to you. In a world where we have so much information and disinformation, you will always get the truth from this group.

At this year’s first-ever Holiday Social, the JourneyWoman Women’s Advisory Council shared some of their predictions for the future.  Let us know yours! 

We showed in our survey that most women lost trust with the tourism industry. As we look forward to 2021, how do you think the tourism sector (including destinations) will change in 2021? What positive changes are you observing that will benefit women? 

Linda Higdon - JourneyWoman Advisory Council

Linda Higdon

CEO, Global Heart Journeys

“I predict that once women feel safe with the vaccines, airline protocols, and itineraries they will be chomping at the bit to go somewhere new but they will be highly selective and narrow down their bucket-list. More research, thought and intention will go into their choices.

I, for one, with my own bucket-list must see Greece and have my own 2021 trip planned with a very reputable group from Cornell. I trust the place, the group and the institution I’ve chosen.”

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Cathy Gotfried - JourneyWoman Advisory Council

Cathy Gotfried

CEO, Erawan Travel

“I believe there will a huge demand for experiential-based travel, especially from women.  In addition to that, many of my own clients (group participants) have already asked me to organize Bali tours but specifically for repeaters, where we slow down and ‘smell the coffee’. Since they’ve been before they want a trip where they can focus on themselves in a nurturing environment and take advantage of the calming Balinese energy to reset their own energy.

Bucket list travel will continue to be strong as we all know you should travel while you still have your health. Covid has not changed that and in fact might have made women more aware that it’s important to not put off travel until all the stars align. This pandemic came out of nowhere and literally stopped us in our tracks.  I think all travellers will appreciate every opportunity they get in the future to get out and explore.”

Join Cathy on our January 7 webinar on Travel Essentials: Insurance, Legal and Financial Planning to Get TravelReady. Learn more here

Nancy Drolet - JourneyWoman Advisory Council

Nancy Drolet

Senior Advisor, Jesson & Co.

“I believe for 2021, the majority of travellers will stay with tried and true destinations. There will be that smaller segment of travellers who will take advantage of visiting locations where visitors normally flock – how lucky and amazing would it be to see key places in the world without the crowds!

But, I think 2021 will not be without its challenges. We have to get a lot of people vaccinated quickly to create a comfort level with travel. So I do think the majority of travellers will still stay closer to home. What I do hope for is a robust booking season hopefully starting in the summer moving into next Fall with a view to even more travelling in 2022.”

Watch our webinar with Nancy and other travel experts on How COVID-19 will Change Travel (April 2020). 

paper airplane
Doni Belau - JourneyWoman Advisory Council

Doni Belau

Founder, Girls Guide to Paris

“I’d say most people are booking more familiar places such as France, however if you look at the Covid maps it’s often the less-traveled places that are actually a lot safer right now.

Looking ahead we’ve got trips to Roatan, Bhutan, Japan, Bali, Morocco and Mongolia lined up for 21 or 22 all of which are actually a lot safer than the United States or other familiar places in Europe. While we now have over 200K new cases daily in the US, in Mongolia they have 12 and Bhutan has less than 3. I think folks are worried about long plane trips, so most of that more adventurous travel will likely take place in the summer or fall of 2021”.

Women in my experience are bold and fearless and know how to bond well together. My whole raison d’être for doing my women-only tours is watching that bonding take hold even after just one night together. My sense is that women are itching to get out….we have so many responsibilities that it’s important to take care of ourselves by doing a wellness trip or just an escape. Now a full 18% of all travel is solo women travel and solo means also joining a group like ours, not just going out into the wilderness alone. I have found everyone from Morocco to Egypt to South Africa to California to be pulling out all the stops in terms of safety, security and sanitizing. Have faith, travel will be back and with a vengeance as well as with more appreciation perhaps than ever before.

Read Doni’s article on Outlandish Places to Visit here.

What did we learn in 2020? What habits should we give up in 2021?

Nora Livingston - JourneyWoman AdvisoryC

Nora Livingston

CEO, Animal Experience International

“The habit that travellers should walk away forever from is expecting animals to be in cages for us.

We have spent now 9 months in social distancing protocols, shelter in place lockdowns and isolation. We now all can empathize with the animals stolen from the wild and forced to live in a cage for human’s enjoyment. We care deeply about our freedom and we would care deeply about the freedom of the animals around us.

No more elephant rides, dolphin swimming, tiger selfies or monkeys in cages for 2021 travellers. We know deeply understand the cruelty that is living in a cage when you are born to be wild.”

Watch our June webinar with Nora on Ethical Animal Tourism here.

illustration of camera
Shawna Robins - JourneyWoman Advisory Council

Shawna Robbins

CEO, Kaia Health

“Health is our first wealth. Without our health, there is no way for us to have vitality, freedom and enjoyment in our lives. So do whatever means necessary to protect and preserve your health. Be open minded to trying new things – like a plant based diet, prioritizing daily cardio exercise, connecting with a new hobby group, learning something new in a Ted Talk or podcast, going to bed one hour earlier, meditation, etc.

Add one new thing into your life each week and take one thing out each week that is no longer serving you. Be honest, speak up and show up for yourself. Put yourself on the list. Delegate, say no without guilt and push past any perfectionism. By taking care of yourself now, you can be ready to experience all the joy and excitement travel will bring in the future. Let’s not go back to being mindless about what we eat, purchase, watch or spend our time on. Going forward, let’s slow down and guard our peace of mind, physical health, joy and happiness like our life depends on it. Because it does.”

Read Shawna’s article on Sleep here. 

Libby Wildman - JourneyWoman Advisory Council

Libby Wildman

Senior Partner, Davis Rea

“I believe that the innocence of the world and travelling of it, has changed forever. We need to be financially and mentally prepared for some kind of crisis, where people and countries will act out of fear,  and this behaviour may take us by surprise, in the form of blame, or racism, and ignorance. We have all been privy to stories of people we know that were caught in circumstances where the locals panicked and may have turned against them, blaming the disease on the tourists…quite scary for my daughter who was stuck in India for a few days. Travel home was difficult and Travel cancellation insurance turned out not to be what we thought it was. All ending in endless credits at hotels, resorts and airlines.

Understanding what we are buying, and even who stands behind the guarantees are important. Having access to extra money, in case we cant get home on the time schedule we thought.Being aware of our immune systems and being physically well if we are taking on challenging travel plans, like hiking or third world countered. We can no longer say ‘I didn’t know’ as an excuse to be caught in situations .”

Join Libby on our January 7 webinar on Travel Essentials: Insurance, Legal and Financial Planning to Get TravelReady. Learn more here

Nekessa Remy - JourneyWoman Advisory Council

Dr. Nekessa Remy RAc, DC


“With most of us spending more time sitting, due to gym closures and lockdowns, many of us are less active which could affect us when it comes time to travel again.

Therefore it is important that we prepare our bodies for travel in 2021, by exercising, stretching and ensuring that we have the right accessories including shoes, assistive devices etc.”

Read Nekessa’s tips for Limbering up for Travel: The Long Game here

2021 Resolutions: Helping our Planet and Humanity Heal

This was a year when nature and our environment became pillars of strength and courage for us.  If nature can be resilient, so can we. What’s your resolution for 2021? And if not a resolution, how can we be more intentional when we travel?

Here’s some inspiration from us:

illustration of passport holder with bills sticking out the top“In 2021, I resolve to make more intentional choices when I travel – spend more time in a place and surrender to the complete experience – revel in the moment. I also want to do all I can to support women and women-owned businesses so that we can all thrive together in the future.” – Carolyn

Amanda Burgess“In 2021, I resolve to maintain and honour the deeper relationship I nurtured with The Great Outdoors in 2020, and bring that deep respect and my own two feet to the untamed wilds of the world. And to share my nature stories and those of JourneyWoman everywhere on our platforms.” – Amanda 

In 2021 I resolve to talk more about the importance of respectful travel,  and specifically not taking advantage of animals for our own pleasure. – Libby

Joy FoxIn 2021 I resolve to get back to Scotland and England, see more of Canada and make plans for another river cruise in Europe. – Joy 

In 2021, I resolve to be more eco-mindful, and to reduce my footprint however I can as I travel – especially by walking or sharing rides and rooms. – Amit

Map illustration

In 2021, I resolve to bring forward the wisdom and life experience of each of my travelers and connect them deeply with other women globally to help the planet heal. – Linda

In 2021, I resolve to encourage myself and others to explore travel options, make decisions based on critically, well-thought out plans and to take calculated risks based on our own personal sense of safety and individual comfort levels.  I want to be an active part of a conversation that speaks to travel as something that opens us up to see, feel and appreciate distinct cultural differences which helps add to the respectful understanding we are one human race. – Brenda

In 2021, I resolve to research and support black- owned travel businesses – Nekessa

In 2021, I resolve to add a rest day to all my trips so I can avoid burnout and to discuss privilege and unequal systemic problems in travel even more to avoid forgetting the lessons we learned in 2020.  – Nora

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Women’s Advisory Council Travel Tips for 2021

1. Research of a destination is more important now. We all want to know we will be safe, so researching COVID in your chosen destination will be very important – Joy

2. My top travel tip is BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE. Do not travel a single trip without it. Then go!  – Linda

3. Do your research on how Covid19 has affected the destination that you are planning on visiting.  Understand your insurance coverage, make sure you have a Plan B in case you get sidelined along the way and be prepared to adjust when necessary.  It might be more important than ever to work with a professional travel advisor who can help you navigate the ever changing rules and regulations, specifically in regards to Covid19 testing, paperwork, quarantining etc.  – Cathy

4. Use Squaremouth.com or another Trip Insurance comparison tool to get both trip cancellation and medical insurance for all travel in 2021, most all companies are now covering for Covid. Then you can book travel with companies that offer Risk-Free booking and then rest assured that your trip will most likely happen and if not you are covered! – Doni

5. Be mindful of possible pandemic-situations, but don’t let them ruin your trip! Also, engage more consciously and carefully (for their sakes as much as yours) with local communities. – Amit

6. My #1 Tip has always been before you travel to travel within your own City first … it will help work out any kinks before you go (if you live in a rural area go to the nearest City for a day of exploration). Plan your adventure ahead of time. Be aware and prepare carefully (do you need to buy tokens or tickets for public transportation … google it, do you have enough coin to use if it’s required. Etc. Stay within your own comfort zone. Don’t feel pressured by others to stray further afield than you are comfortable with. Write your own rules. Look at a Map and bring it with your and/or have it on your iPhone. Download a compass and use it to get from point A to point B. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing. I have a light rain hat and carry a folding trundle buggy.  Keep up-to-date on what others are doing and as about their travel experiences. Share your own and listen to the feedback. – Brenda

suitcase with stickers

7. Plan ahead, do your research, stay safe, listen to your intuition, and experience adventure, something that warms your heart and soothes your soul. This is certainly the time for us to explore! – Marillee

8. Travel when you’re ready and be patient with the changes that are needed to keep everyone safe.  – Mary

9. I have a few tips that go hand in hand – first and foremost is to really spend the time planning and researching your trip – know the rules and regs of each country you plan to visit and understand the country’s protocols.  Most country website are providing links to hotels that have gone through a safety certification process.  Know that protocols are changing daily – there may be things that you need to do before you travel…and even if you book it 2 weeks in advance of travel, the change could happen 5 days prior to departure.  Book something with flexible policies – and please travel with insurance.  Please use a travel agent.  Soak it all up when you travel and enjoy!  – Nancy

10. Just as we research and plan our itineraries for travel, we must research and prepare physically for travel. – Nekessa

11. Do not forget how good it was to listen to your body. When we were sheltering in place our bodies asked us for certain things and we felt them deeply. These asks were not static, they changed throughout the year and were different for everyone. At some points some bodies asked for deeper community bonding, at other times some asked for more movement, some asked for rest, others asked for creative outlets. Everywhere you go, there you are so remember how you honoured your body in times of stress, anxiety and in celebration in 2020. – Nora

12. Strengthen your immune system by taking care of your gut health. Eat fermented foods (kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir) daily, eat 4-6 cups of colorful veggies for fiber every day and limit your alcohol intake (2 drinks per week). Eliminate all soda, tap water, sugar, sweets, processed foods, white bread and pasta. Remember – all your immune cells are made in your gut while you sleep. So keeping your gut healthy and getting 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night will keep your immune system in top shape. – Shawna

As the CEO and Editor of JourneyWoman, Carolyn is a passionate advocate for women's travel and living the life of your dreams. She leads JourneyWoman's team of writers and chairs the JourneyWoman Women's Advisory Council and Women's Speaker's Bureau. She has been featured in the New York Times, Toronto Star and Zoomer as a solo travel expert, and speaks at women's travel conferences around the world. In March 2023, she was named one of the most influential women in travel by TravelPulse and was the recipient of a SATW travel writing award in September 2023. She is the chair of the Canadian chapter of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), a member of the Travel Media Association of Canada (TMAC), Women's Travel Leaders and a Herald for the Transformational Travel Council (TTC). Sometimes she sleeps. A bit.

1 Comment

  1. Mary Charleson

    I love many of the sentiments expressed collectively here, plus the very real tips around planning and the importance of understanding travel insurance and cancellation options during this time of transition. Thank you all.


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