Author Archives: Debbie Ross

Womens Travel Network Photo Collage from The Women's Only Tour In Croatia 2023

Croatia 2023 Memories and Highlights

Croatia 2023 Memories and Highlights

Greetings, fellow adventurers!

I recently embarked on a journey to Croatia that left me awestruck by the beauty and cultural richness of this European gem. Croatia truly stands as a world-class travel destination, offering an array of top-notch hotels, captivating towns steeped in history, ancient fortresses and palaces, plus an unforgettable culinary experience that would delight even the most discerning foodie.

But what made this journey truly special was the wonderful group of 15 incredible women who shared this adventure with me. Some were familiar faces, friends I’ve traveled with multiple times, while others were new to the Women’s Travel Network (WTN). It was heartwarming to witness how seamlessly these women, both seasoned travellers and newcomers, blended into the group. The connections and bonds that formed among them were truly heartwarming and it’s clear that many lifelong friendships were born on this trip. I have no doubt that we’ll see these women embarking on new journeys together in the future.

As for the highlights of our Croatian escapade, one experience stands out above the rest – our encounter with Nives, our fabulous guide. Nives expertly escorted us through this enchanting country and her warm and friendly personality, coupled with her impressive education, made every moment with her a joy. She spoke perfect English, as did most Croatians, and her passion for history was palpable. Nives shared her personal experiences as a young woman during the 1990-1991 Yugoslavian conflict, shedding light on the ethnic tensions, economic struggles, and civil war. Her stories revealed the remarkable resilience of the Croatian people, deepening our admiration for this nation and its inhabitants.

Our journey was a whirlwind of activities, from insightful walking tours through ancient cities to cycling, hiking and unforgettable encounters with locals. Here are just a few of the many highlights:

Hiking in Plitvice Lakes National Park:

We explored this UNESCO World Heritage site, soaking in the mesmerizing views of turquoise lakes and cascading waterfalls.

Exploring Split:

Our group was captivated by this beautiful seaside town, nestled against dramatic coastal mountains. We ventured through the spectacular Diocletian’s Palace and strolled along the charming Riva.

Truffle Hunting:

An exceptional experience took us to a truffle farm just outside of Split. We joined an expert truffle hunter and his well-trained dogs for an exhilarating hunt, followed by a delectable truffle picnic prepared by his daughter, a world-class chef.

Bike Riding on Hvar Island:

We peddled along winding roads, past fields and the glistening sea, stopping in a local village for gelato and enjoying a picnic lunch at a local farm, where the farm owner’s son, an incredible chef, prepared a mouthwatering Peka meal for us.

Muscle Farm Adventure:

A boat ride led us to a muscle farm, where we relished fresh bread, oysters, and mussels cooked in wine, garlic, and herbs on a private island.

Organic Farm Visit in Korcula:

On the tiny island of Korcula, we had the pleasure of meeting a mother and daughter team who ran an organic farm. Under the starry night sky, we savored a delicious dinner prepared with their fresh, home-grown ingredients.

Peljesac Peninsula Wine Tasting:

We explored the popular wine-growing region and visited the Miloch family-run winery, where we sampled their delightful red and rose wines.

Dubrovnik – The Pearl of the Adriatic:

Our journey led us to the enchanting city of Dubrovnik, often dubbed the “pearl of the Adriatic.” As we walked along the ancient marble street of Stradun, dating back to the early 1400s, we were surrounded by beautifully preserved Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings, monasteries, palaces and fountains. We also took a cable car to the top of Mount Srdj for breathtaking views over the sea and the islands. We took the opportunity to stroll along the city walls to absorb the magnificent vistas over the old town.

Traditional Cooking Class:

We ventured an hour outside of Dubrovnik to a local farm near the charming village of Cilipi. Our hosts welcomed us warmly and we were treated to homemade Rakia (brandy) by the father, who also shared stories about his family and the history of their home. His son led us in a cooking class, teaching us to prepare the slow-cooked Peka meal of meat and vegetables, which we enjoyed on their vine-covered patio.

Throughout our guided tours of the cities and towns, we delved into the diverse history of Croatia, from Roman occupation to the Ottomans, the Austrian Hungarian Empire, and its transformation into a socialist state in 1945. This rich history was vividly reflected in the architecture, and our exploration of the centuries-old cities and towns introduced us to the charming people who call this diverse country home.

Our journey to Croatia in 2023 was a tapestry of unforgettable moments, and I’m eagerly anticipating more adventures with the incredible Women’s Travel Network community.

With Love,

Debbie Ross


Explore our upcoming 2024 Tours – Click Here

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Womens Travel Network Photo Collage from The Women's Only Tour In Egypt 2023

Egypt Unveiled: A Journey of Wonders and Delights


Egypt Unveiled: A Journey of Wonders and Delights

Join us on as we share Rowena‘s recent journey to Egypt where she and a lovely group of travellers embarked on an adventure that left them in awe at every turn. The sights they encountered were nothing short of amazing, and their daily exclamation was a resounding “WOW!”

The Grand Egyptian Museum and Beyond

Our adventure began at the Grand Egyptian Museum (The GEM), even though it was only partially open at the time. Still, its grandeur was spectacular. Little did we know that this was just the beginning. The wonders of the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Sphinx left us thrilled, and this was only day one!

Camel Rides and High Perspectives

To get an even better view, we took to camel-back and found ourselves soaring, in more ways than one. The true scale of the pyramids is only fully understood when you’re right in front of them, whether on foot or high atop a camel. It was a breathtaking experience, quite literally.

Luxurious Mornings at Sofitel, Cairo

Each morning at Sofitel, we awoke to an indulgent gourmet breakfast spread at the luxurious hotel in Cairo. It was the perfect way to start our day, with a touch of French influence that made our taste buds dance. The flaky croissants were nothing short of heavenly.

A Nile River Cruise to Remember

Our journey continued with a fabulous cruise aboard the Sonesta Moon Goddess, gliding down the storied Nile River to Luxor and Aswan. The attentive staff catered to our every need, providing us with exceptional food, drinks, and creature comforts that exceeded our expectations.

A Delightful Felucca Ride

One of the highlights of our trip was a felucca ride around beautiful Kitchener’s Island, the former home of the Agha Khan. Accompanied by Nubian sailors who sang their local folk songs and danced with us, it was a truly special afternoon, filled with cultural immersion and connection.

Exploring Hidden Treasures

Our journey took us off the beaten track to places like Sakkara, Dahshur, Karnak, and Kom Ombo, where we discovered the hidden treasures of historic pyramids and temples. The significance of these sites came to life through the unparalleled knowledge and storytelling skills of our personal Egyptologist. With a Master’s degree in Egyptology, 27 years of tour guide experience, and a pending PhD, our guide transformed this trip into “The Trip of a Lifetime” for each and every traveler.

Egypt revealed its wonders and delights in ways we could have never imagined, leaving us with memories that will last a lifetime. If you’re seeking an adventure that blends history, culture, and pure amazement, consider exploring Egypt in the safety and comfort of Womens Travel Network – it’s a journey you won’t want to miss.

WTN will be hosting another tour of Egypt in March 2024 >>Click Here<< for more information.

For more photos/videos from this trip take a look at WTN’s Facebook & Instagram.

Womens Travel Network Photo Collage from The Women's Only Tour In Morocco 2023

Magical Morocco: A Journey of Discovery and Bonding


Magical Morocco: A Journey of Discovery and Bonding

Join us as we share the incredible journey that our tour leader Ruthi had the pleasure of hosting, alongside a group of amazing women travellers, in the enchanting land of Morocco. From the moment our gals set foot in this vibrant country, their trip was a whirlwind of unique experiences and memorable moments.

The Dream Team

Our adventure in Morocco was elevated by two incredible individuals. Abdullah, our local tour guide, was not just a wealth of knowledge, but also a passionate ambassador of his homeland. He showed us the hidden gems, the rich culture, and the warm hospitality that Morocco is known for. Said, our trusty bus driver, ensured our safety throughout the journey. His expert driving skills and friendly demeanour made us feel right at home.

Diverse and Delightful Accommodations

Our journey was marked by a diverse array of accommodations. From beautiful hotels to exotic riads, each stay was a unique experience in itself. Our group of ladies truly appreciated the charm, comfort and character of these lodgings, and it added a special touch to our Moroccan experience.

A Promise of Amazing Experiences

Our adventure began with a grand Welcome Dinner, complete with delectable food and entertaining belly dancers. It was an evening that set the stage for the incredible experiences we were about to embark on. We could already sense that our trip would be nothing short of extraordinary.

Mosque Marvel: Hassan II

Our visit to the Hassan II mosque was a highlight that left us in awe. It’s the only mosque in Morocco where foreigners are permitted to enter, and the sheer scale of it, built to accommodate an immense number of worshippers, was truly mind-blowing.

Souk Adventures in Fez and Marrakech

Navigating the labyrinthine alleyways of the souks in Fez and Marrakech was both exciting and challenging. We delved into the heart of Moroccan market culture, discovering exquisite crafts, vibrant fabrics, and aromatic spices.

A Culinary Journey: Fez Cooking School

One of the most memorable days was spent at the Fez Cooking School. We embarked on a culinary adventure, going first with our hosts to the bustling vegetable market to buy fresh ingredients. We then spent time preparing a mouthwatering meal with age-old traditions taught to us by our chef and guide. Finally we savoured the fruits of our labor from a traditional tajine.

Fossil Discovery and Retail Therapy

We explored the world of fossil discovery, learning about the process and indulging in some serious retail therapy. The treasures we found were as ancient as they were beautiful.

Luxury in the Desert

Our journey took us to a luxurious tented camp in the desert. This five-star accommodation was beyond our wildest dreams. We were surprised to find these tents so beautiful decorated and even equipped with toilets and showers. Surrounding the exterior of the camp the desert sands were covered in colourful woven rugs which added this layer of texture and comfort everywhere we walked. The highlight for most of us was the camel ride on the sand dunes, where we witnessed a spectacular sunset. We even woke before dawn to catch the mesmerizing sunrise over the dunes too.

Nomadic Encounters and High Atlas Heights

We embraced the local culture by buying staple groceries as gifts and visiting a nomad family, where we learned about their way of life. Riding mules to a mountaintop restaurant high up in the High Atlas Mountains added a touch of adventure and breathtaking scenery to our trip.

A Relaxing Hamam Experience

Our group had the chance to enjoy an exquisite Moroccan hamam, which for all of us was a haven of relaxation. The steam-filled room soothes as a skilled attendant exfoliated our skin, leaving us feeling rejuvenated. The ambience, fragrant with oils and the sound of trickling water, created a serene escape, making it an experience we were glad we didn’t missed

Rug-Making Women’s Co-op and Majorelle Gardens

A visit to the rug-making women’s co-op allowed us to witness the artistry of Moroccan women creating unique rugs. We also explored the magnificent Majorelle Gardens, with its cacti section and stunning blue walls.

Spice Souvenirs: Berber Dispensary

Our trip wouldn’t have been complete without a visit to the Berber dispensary to purchase spices, herbs and Moroccan remedies. The ladies in our group shopped extensively here for spices, armed with their new knowledge from our delicious cooking class.

Street Food Delights

As an ideal end to our wonderful journey, we indulged in street food at the night market food stalls in Jemaa el-Fnaa square in Marrakech. The flavours and aromas of Moroccan street food are an experience in themselves.

The Hilarious Tuk-Tuk Ride

Our adventure wasn’t just about the sights and tastes; it was also about the laughter. We ended our time in Marrakech with a hilarious tuk-tuk ride back to our riad, creating unforgettable memories together.

Bonds and Friendships

What made this trip truly special was the bonds and friendships that developed within the group. We shared one delightful experience after another, forming connections that will last a lifetime.

Morocco is a land of enchantment, and our journey was a testament to the beauty of this country and the warmth of its people. If you’re looking for a destination that offers a blend of culture, adventure, and camaraderie, consider embarking on your own Moroccan adventure. It’s a journey you won’t soon forget.

WTN will be hosting another tour of Morocco in October 2024 >>Click Here<< for more information.

For more photos/videos from this trip take a look at WTN’s Facebook & Instagram.

Unveiling Greece

The Top Must-See Attractions to Experience on Our Women’s Group Tour of Greece

A woman at the Acropolis during the day while on a women's group tour of Greece

Are you ready to immerse yourself in the mesmerizing beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture of Greece? Join us on an unforgettable Women’s Group Tour of Greece, where every moment is an adventure waiting to be embraced. Whether you’re a solo traveler seeking companionship or a pair of friends or sisters looking for a well planned adventure, this tour is tailored to provide you with an experience like no other. Let’s delve into the top things to see and do in Greece that await you on this captivating journey with us.

1. Discover the Enchanting Acropolis in Athens

No trip to Greece is complete without a visit to the iconic Acropolis in Athens. Step back in time as you explore the ancient ruins of the Parthenon, Erechtheion and Propylaea. Our expert guides will unveil the stories behind these architectural wonders, offering you a deep understanding of Greece’s historical legacy.

2. Explore the Idyllic Island of Santorini

Get ready to be wowed by the breathtaking beauty of Santorini. With its stunning sunsets, white-washed buildings and azure waters, this island paradise is a dream come true. Stroll through the charming streets of Oia, relax on unique black sand beaches and savour local delicacies while taking in the panoramic views of the caldera.

3. Embrace the Ancient Marvels of Delphi

Uncover the mysteries of the ancient world at the archaeological site of Delphi. Set against a backdrop of awe-inspiring mountains, Delphi was considered the centre of the universe in Greek mythology. Walk in the footsteps of the Oracle of Delphi and explore the Temple of Apollo, an awe-inspiring testament to ancient Greek architecture.

4. Traverse the Historical Sites of Olympia

Immerse yourself in the birthplace of the Olympic Games at Olympia. Marvel at the ruins of the Temple of Zeus and the original Olympic Stadium. Our expert guides will bring the history of this legendary site to life, offering you insights into the origins of the world’s most celebrated sporting event.

5. Indulge in Authentic Greek Cuisine and Culture

Delight your taste buds with the flavours of Greece as you enjoy traditional dishes in quaint tavernas. From moussaka to souvlaki, each meal is a culinary journey through the heart of Greek culture. Experience lively Greek music and dance, perhaps even join in the festivities if you’re feeling the moment!

6. Forge Lasting Bonds and Unforgettable Memories

Our Women’s Group Tours offer the perfect blend of adventure and companionship. Whether you’re a solo traveler seeking new friendships or a pair of travel companions, this tour provides a safe and inclusive environment to connect with like-minded women. With small groups, you’ll have the chance to create meaningful bonds while exploring the wonders of Greece together.

7. Embrace the Ease of Expert Guided Travel

Leave the logistics to us and immerse yourself in the journey. Our experienced Canadian tour host and local English-speaking guide will ensure every detail is taken care of, from transportation and accommodations to expert commentary and insider tips.

Join us on our Women’s Group Tour to Greece and embark on a voyage that blends history, culture, and camaraderie. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or new to exploring, our tour promises an experience that celebrates the spirit of discovery and connection among women of all ages.

Visit our website for more details on this unforgettable adventure.

Note: Our Women’s Group Tours cater to women of all ages, making it a fantastic opportunity for solo female travellers as well as friends or sisters looking for a unique and enriching adventure together. Don’t miss out on the chance to explore Greece in the company of like-minded women.

Ready to make Greece your next unforgettable destination? Secure your spot on our tour today and be part of a journey that will leave you with cherished memories for a lifetime.

A photo of Santorini from above with the village and the coast in the frame during a women's only group tour of Greece An aerial view of a greek coastal village at dusk while on a women's only tour of Greece A greek coastal village at sunset during Womens Travel Networks group tour for women Stunning photo of clear blue waters and click rocks around in coastal Greece Sunset in Greece A photo of a coast side restaurant in a town in Greece

5 Reasons to Join Our Women’s Only Group Tour in Japan

5 Reasons to Join Our Women’s Only Group Tour in Japan

Yasaka Pagoda in Gion at sunset, Kyoto during a women's only group tour in japan Blossoms and a building in Japan during a womens travel network Geishas in Japan during womens travel network's all girls tour group






brightly lit city view in Japan on our women's only group tour City view in Japan while on a ladies group travel Blossoms and a bridge in Japan during a group tour for ladies





Are you ready for an unforgettable adventure that celebrates the spirit of women, culture, and exploration? We are thrilled to welcome you to our exclusive Women’s Only Group Tour to Japan for March 2024. Every moment is designed to cater to your desires, interests, and safety. Here are 5 compelling reasons why joining us on this incredible journey is an experience you won’t want to miss.

1. A Captivating Destination: Discover the Heart of Japan

Embark on a journey that will immerse you in the enchanting beauty and rich history of Japan. From the serene landscapes of Kyoto‘s traditional tea houses to the vibrant streets of Tokyo, you’ll explore iconic landmarks, tranquil gardens, and bustling markets that define Japan’s captivating culture.

2. Tailored Experiences for Women, by Women

Our Women’s Only Group Tours are meticulously crafted with you in mind. With 20 years of experience in curating exceptional travel experiences for women, our itinerary is a testament to the care and attention we invest in every detail. You’ll engage in activities that resonate with your interests, all while creating lifelong memories with like-minded women.

3. Create Connections and Lifelong Friendships

Traveling solo doesn’t mean you have to be alone. Our tours provide a welcoming environment for solo female travellers who want to connect with others, share stories, and forge friendships that can last a lifetime. With small groups of no more than 15 travellers, you’ll have the opportunity to bond with fellow explorers in an intimate setting.

4. Expert Guidance and Local Insights

Experience Japan’s wonders with the guidance of not one, but two exceptional people: our dedicated Canadian tour host there with you every step of the way and a local English-speaking expert guide. This unique blend of perspectives ensures you’ll gain deep insights into the culture, history, and traditions of each destination you visit.

5. Unparalleled Luxury and Comfort

Indulge in luxury as you stay in beautiful hotels and dine in amazing restaurants that showcase Japan’s culinary delights. Travel comfortably in modern coaches that make every journey a relaxing and enjoyable experience. From the moment you arrive, every detail is taken care of – tipping, taxes, and most all meals are included, leaving you free to savour every moment.

Whether you’re an avid traveler or a first-timer, our Women’s Only Group Tour to Japan offers a safe, enriching, and unforgettable adventure. Join us and be part of a community of curious, kind-hearted women who share a passion for exploring the world.

Ready to embark on this incredible journey with us? Reserve your spot today and become part of the legacy of empowered women travellers who have embraced the world together.

Visit our website for more details on this unforgettable adventure.

Note: Our Women’s Only Group Tours cater to women of all ages, our average traveler ranging from 50 to 70 years old. While our tours are popular among Canadian women, women from all corners of the world are warmly welcomed to join us.

Why you should join our women’s tour of Sicily!

Get ready to embark on a remarkable journey that promises to tantalize your taste buds and awaken your inner food enthusiast. Join us on an unforgettable women’s tour of Sicily, where the culinary scene is nothing short of a masterpiece. Here are just a few reasons why you should join our women’s tour of Sicily!

1. Amazing Sicilian Delicacies

Picture yourself strolling through bustling local markets, where the vibrant colours and fragrant aromas of fresh produce and artisanal cheeses will transport you to a gastronomic paradise. From the world-renowned cannoli, with its delicate pastry and luscious ricotta filling, to the savoury arancini, golden-fried rice balls that ooze with delectable surprises – every bite in Sicily tells a story of tradition and passion.

2. Warm & Welcoming Hospitality

Savour the heartwarming hospitality of Sicilian people as you share authentic meals prepared with generations-old recipes. Our journey will take us through charming villages and sun-kissed coastal towns, where the catch of the day finds its way from the sea to your plate, bursting with the essence of the Mediterranean.

3. Interactive activities

But that’s not all – immerse yourself in an interactive cooking class, where a local chef will unveil the secrets behind crafting Sicily’s signature dishes.

Are you ready to embark on a culinary adventure that will forever change the way you experience food? Come join us on our women’s tour of Sicily, where every meal is a celebration of life, love and the rich tapestry of Italian culture. Don’t miss out on this chance to explore Sicily’s gastronomic wonders – reserve your spot today and let your taste buds dance to the rhythm of Sicilian flavours!

Read More About Our Sicilian Tour

Sojourn in Sorrento

Sojourn in Sorrento

On the Amalfi coast everything seems set in a garden

By Gail M. Murray

Just two hours south of Naples, my mid-September tour to the Amalfi Coast of Italy revealed a friendly, walkable city perched on cliffs 30.5 metres (100 feet) above the sea. Known as a shoppers’ delight, Sorrento has charming shops selling leather goods, high fashion finds as well as all sorts of other goods embellished with lemons.

Lemons are gold in Sorrento

The Sorrento lemon, famous throughout Italy, gets its name from the town of Sorrento. Lemons were brought here by from Hesperia by Alexander the Great’s armies and then cultivated by the Moorish conquerors. Many gardens along the Amalfi Coast began as farms, terraced with macere (containment walls). “Citriculture” takes pride of place here as the famed limoncello liqueur attests. Don’t leave Sorrento without a visit to a lemon grove. Agruminato, the name of the citrus garden at Giardini di Cataldo is typical of those found on the Sorrento Peninsula. Located off the main street in the heart of Sorrento, this small family-run lemon grove offers divine tastings of limoncello liqueur. The trick is to use the freshest lemon peel and serve this liqueur at room temperature. Chilling increases the sweetness as well as the alcohol content.

Hotel Gardens of Sorrento

As a gardener and Toronto Botanical Garden tour guide, you know I had to visit the gardens. Hotel Bellevue Syrene and Hotel Excelsior Vittoria are both perched on the rugged cliffs offering stunning views of the Bay of Naples.

Hotel Bellevue Syrene is centrally located near the Villa Comunale Park and The Cloisters. An imposing entrance and long walk take you past luxurious palms and to the other worldly La Pergola balcony restaurant with its white wrought iron tables highlighted against the blue azure sky and the brilliant blue of the bay.

Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, near the main square, holds pride of place. Entering under an imposing arch, you take a very long paved driveway lined with tall umbrella pines, silver olive trees and luxurious gardens to the other side where classical Roman statues come into view. To enter the hotel itself, you pass through another long path with ivy cascading down brick walls and hedges of hibiscus.


A short ferry ride from Sorrento to the island of Capri takes you to the town of Anacapri, featuring Villa San Michele’s very special cliffside garden designed by Swedish doctor Axel Munthe. The outer path runs along the cliff on three sides of the home and is framed by layers of lush, terraced plantings and tumbling water channels that provide ambient sound. Here there is the blush of pink oleander and scarlet begonia and wisteria climb the pergola. As the path moves around the perimeter, it winds through marble columns giving way to towering umbrella pines that reach up to an azure sky and look down upon the sapphire of the Tyrrhenian Sea.


Ravello is high in the Lattari Mountains boasting two unique villa gardens: Villa Rufalo and Villa Cimbrone.

Villa Rufolo with its Moorish towers and expansive views, makes a stunning backdrop for the concerts that take place in this glorious garden in summer. On two levels, juxtaposed against the sea, umbrella pines reach skyward. The gardens take on a magical quality with profuse blooms, fountains and the medieval Church of Annunziata.

With corridors of hydrangea, ivy-clad stone walls and arching wisteria, Villa Cimbrone features serene cloisters that radiate a spiritual feel. In the rose garden pale pink petals wax ethereal and a copy of Donatello’s David stands tall. The statuary reminds me I’m in a Renaissance Garden.

Cooking class a highlight

Not someone who likes to cook, I look forward to being with an Italian family in their home for a cooking class. There are 20 in our group, keen to learn the basics of southern Italian cooking—fresh local ingredients, herbs and a good heart. What you cook depends on the season.

We use lots of virgin olive oil, oregano, tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and ricotta. We prepare cucumber/tomato salad, baked potatoes and garlic, cheese stuffed meatballs, pasta stuffed with ricotta, lightly breaded zucchini flowers and lemon tiramisu, While everything cooks we learn about wine making. We dine on the pergola of their heavenly garden among fruit trees and hydrangea. This simple, yet glorious, experience is a highlight of the trip.

Everywhere on this adventure I’ve been aware of the luscious plant life, breathtaking landscape, old world architecture and warm, friendly people. That’s my Italy.

Female Travel Groups

Empower women to get out and see the world

Ladies, are you yearning to travel, yet hesitant to go solo? Perhaps you’re single, widowed, divorced, your girlfriends aren’t interested or can’t afford it, or your husband would rather play golf? You don’t want to feel like a fifth wheel among couples? Consider travel organizations that cater to women such as: Journeywoman, Wander Woman, Girls’ Guide to Paris & Beyond, Today’s Woman Traveller, and Womens Travel Network.

Although not the same as a specified garden tour, tours catering to women often include garden visits and nature destinations. I traveled with the Womens Travel Network on  this trip and was not disappointed.

Experienced travel professional, Debbie Ross, created this small company 20 years ago “to empower women to get out and see the world”.  All the planning is done for you; hosts ensure everything runs smoothly. Groups are small: from 10 to 16 people. Trips range from exotic locales such as Bali and Galapagos to Britain and Italy. I chose Amalfi based in Sorrento, Italy. Over a ZOOM call, Debbie introduces us to our fabulous host Deb K.; we meet fellow travelers as Debbie discusses all the trip details. So reassuring.

In the age of COVID, it is comforting to meet everyone at a relaxing airport lounge before flying across the pond. You are welcome to arrange your own flight but how bolstering to travel as a group. Once checked in at Hotel Plaza Sorrento, we gather on the rooftop, the Mediterranean sparkling in the distance, to savor a limoncello spritzer.

Our well-designed itinerary encompasses a variety of interests, a balance of scheduled excursions and free time to reflect or pursue personal interests. Without this group, I’d be on the couch with Netflix. I feel safe and secure. Drivers, local guides and restaurants are all preselected and vetted.

Our local guide, Roberta, meets us at the Naples airport, charming us with her genuine warmth. Throughout our holiday, she guides us through her city on a two-hour orientation, on the ferry to Capri, a minibus to Anacapri amid a myriad of tourists and a picturesque boat tour around the fabled isle. Her knowledge and passion bring ancient Pompeii to life.

It is relaxing to have dinner companions at a wide range of ristorantes. We share past travel adventures, shopping finds (elegant Capri watches) even re-entering the dating scene. It is a leap of faith for me to travel solo with people I have never met, yet here I am toasting and laughing like I‘m with my girlfriends back home! Our leader, Deb, is calm, responsible, fun and empathetic. She sets the tone.

Womens Travel

Airport Tips That Make Your Trip Smoother

Airports are bustling with activity and full of people doing their best to get from A to B as quickly and smoothly as possible. As much as we love traveling, it’s no secret that it can sometimes be be stressful. In order to help relieve your stress I’ve compiled a list of things you can do to make your journey smoother.

Packing something extra can make the difference between an awful flight and a great one. You might already have a great airport routine but considering some of these tips might make it better.

Bring your own headphones or earbuds.
You won’t have to wait till the stewardess hands them out and they will be more comfortable and won’t fall out of your ears. You can watch your downloaded shows and movies or listen to music while waiting.

When entering security head to the left checkpoint
Head left and to the furthest away from you on that side. Most people are right-handed so they head to the right side. By heading left you’ll likely get through faster.

Bring a portable charger.
We love our tech so keeping it charged is our trop priority. Travelling without a charged cell phone can be annoying as well as unsafe. Airports have plenty of charging stations but the chances of landing a seat next to one is unlikely.

Bring wet wipes and hand sanitizer.
Planes are rarely cleaned the way would expect and other people’s germs are a sure way of catching a bug. To be on the safe side use your hand sanitizer regularly and wipe down the surfaces in your personal space, arm rest, tray, infotainment screen.

If you don’t like turbulence, book an early morning flight.
Turbulence is a horrible part of flying that no one enjoys. A white-knuckle ride that lasts for hours isn’t pleasant. Most turbulence happens in the afternoon, so booking an early morning flight could mean a smoother ride.

Bring some Ziplock bags.
Even though you’ve packed all your liquids, you might buy something last minute at the airport or when you get to your destination. Having a zip lock will come in handy for these extras. If you plan on going to the beach, placing your electronics in a clear bag will protect them while you use them.

Check in online 24 hours prior.
That way you don’t have to stand in line while an agent checks you in. You can simply drop your bags off and head through to security with your electronic boarding pass. You can also print it at home to take with you.

Find the best seat on the plane.
Different airlines have different planes and different layouts so it can be difficult to know whether the seat you choose is going to be comfortable. That’s where SeatGuru comes in handy. You can use it to read reviews on your seat, so you’ll know if you made the right choice.

Bring an empty water bottle.
One of the major ways airports make money is selling people overpriced water.  Bring an empty bottle with you and fill it up after you clear security.

 Check your flight status before heading to the airport.
Getting to the airport early is wise but there are instances when you arrive, only to find out your flight is delayed. Instead of assuming that everything is running on time, check your flight status before heading to the airport. That way if your flight is delayed by many hours, you can relax at home rather than at the airport.

Avoid waiting in line to get your flight rebooked.
When something happens and your flight is cancelled, everyone rushes to the airport counter. It seems like it’s the only thing to do. Instead, call the airline and talk to someone there. The rep on the phone has the same abilities as the airport agent, so they will be able to sort out your problem. Plus, you’ll have more time to talk to the agent to discuss your financial options, too.

Store your laptop in an easy to access place. 
How often have you packed your laptop in your carry on then struggle to get it out mid-flight. The answer is simple; buy a laptop case. No more rummaging and struggling and it protects your laptop from damage if dropped.

Take a photo of your parking space.
Taking a photo of where you parked your car ensures you won’t forget where you parked.

Wear your extra luggage.
No one wants to pay for extra luggage when there are only a few essentials inside. Wear your bulkiest clothing items. It might be slightly uncomfortable, but you can always take it off when you get seated. This also works when you are travelling with hand luggage and concerned about the weight. Wear your heavy coat while you are going through checks, then stuff it inside your luggage later on.

Wrap your suitcase handle.
There are so many pieces of luggage that look like yours on the conveyor belt. The last thing you want to do is waste time looking for your luggage. There’s a handy trick that helps you get your baggage faster. Tie a brightly coloured scarf or a piece of material on your handle. You’ll be able to spot it from a mile away.

Pack your liquids at the top of your carry on.
If your liquids are in the appropriate bag on the top of your carry on it makes it faster and easier to access when going through security. These items must be placed in the bin separately for screening.

Check for free Wi-Fi.
One drawback of travelling is you won’t have a good Wi-Fi connection, without it costing a fortune. If you really need to make a call or check your email, it’s worth asking if the airport has free Wi-Fi. Many of them do, as well as the restaurants in the airport.

Get a portable weigh scale to avoid paying extra luggage fees.
Nothing is more aggravating than finding out your luggage is overweight. You can usually tell by lifting your case if it is going to be over the weight allowance. If it’s over, you can pay hefty luggage fees or you might have to take things out. Check your bag before heading to the airport to make sure it’s within the limit.

Don’t listen to your music. 
While waiting for your flight it’s tempting to put your earbuds in and listen to your music. However, there are benefits to turning off your music. Sometimes airlines make important announcements that you don’t want to miss. They can announce gate changes, flight delays and even offer a voucher to people who agree to take a later flight. Flight delays and gate changes are announcements you don’t want to miss.

Use an app to check your flight times.
Download your airlines app and stay informed.  The airline will send a text to your phone, keeping you informed of flight delays, gate changes or cancellations. The app also includes information about your inflight service, meals, entertainment options and more.

Pack your most important things in your carry on.
This tip has been around long before the airlines started losing people’s luggage. Be sure to pack your most important items in your carry on. This includes medication, important documents, phone charger, a change of clothes, toothbrush and toothpaste and any valuables.

Bring a universal adaptor with USB ports.
It can be hard to find an outlet at the airport or your plug might require an adaptor. Bring a plug adaptor that allows you to plug in anywhere in the world.  Purchase one that has USB ports so you can charge multiple items at one time. Your phone, ear buds, tablet and laptop.

Sit at the front of the plane.
The best seats are near the front of the plane. It is quieter and the centre of pressure acts around a quarter of the way down the plane. This is better for people who suffer from air sickness or are sensitive to flying. Plus, you will be first off the plane which can speed up your exit of the airport.

Download an airport map.
Downloading an airport map is helpful if travelling to a large airport with multiple terminals. This can speed up your transfer from terminal to terminal and gate to gate.

Switch from contacts to glasses.
Flying with contacts dries them out, irritating your eyes. Unless you want to keep applying drops the entire time, do yourself a favour and switch to glasses.

Wear compression socks.
Even healthy people with no circulation issues can benefit from this tip. Compression socks help prevent blood from pooling in your feet, instead circulating back to your heart.  This tip is especially important for long flights, as the risk of developing blood clots increases with travel time. You can prevent swelling and even worse, deep vein thrombosis.

Board the plane last.
This tip means fewer people clogging the airline aisles. In addition to this social distancing tip, you also minimize the time you spend on the plane. Which is helpful for people that hate flying.

Pack snacks.
Snacks are expensive at the airport. To avoid paying high prices pack some snacks in your carry on. Solid food items can go through the security scanner and are permitted on the plane.

Book a bulkhead or emergency row seat. 
There is more legroom in these seats, which means you can stretch out your legs. This can be very comfortable when on a long flight. Exit rows on larger aircraft provide the most leg room. Also, kids aren’t allowed in exit rows, which will make your flight quieter. However, you must be able bodied and prepared to help out if something happens.

Exercise to prevent jetlag.
The symptoms of jetlag range from extreme tiredness, nausea or feeling under the weather. The Journal of Physiology revealed that if you exercise at certain times of the day, you can change your circadian rhythm. After you land and get settled, go for a brisk walk or a jog for half an hour. Exercise at the same time the next day. This will help you adjust to the new time

by Debbie Ross

Womens Travel

The New Rules of Travel

by Debbie Ross

When we travel, we leave a mark. Here’s how to make it a positive one.

Travel roared back in 2022 after a pandemic hiatus. We jumped back in with a vengeance to make up for lost time. Some called it revenge travel. I prefer to call it Bucket List travel. As a result of increased bookings, airlines and hotels struggled to keep up with the demand. Crowds returned to popular tourist destinations and bad behavior reared its ugly head.

This is a good reminder to reflect on our impact as travelers for the coming year. Whether we’re conscious of it or not, where and how we travel leaves a mark on the destination and the people, and it’s our responsibility to make the mark a positive one.

To hold ourselves accountable, here are 5 rules for being a more responsible traveler beyond basics like minimizing single-use plastic waste or boycotting unethical wildlife experiences.

  1. Protect the most popular places by visiting off season.

Rome’s Colosseum, Venice’s canals, or the charming towns of Santorini. Of course, you want to see them in your lifetime, but doing so at their busiest cannot only be miserable, it can be detrimental to the places. You can avoid adding to the immense strain busy season puts on to the places by visiting in off season.
If you can only travel during busy times (i.e., school breaks), consider comparable alternatives to tourist epicenters.

  2. Swap cars for walks and bikes.

If you’re flying to a destination, take public transportation to and from the airport.
Plan a trip to a place where you don’t need a car. Paris, Rome, and New York are walkable cities. Map what you’d like to do on your trip and book a place within walking or biking distance to most of your points of interest.

 3. Spend money with local businesses.

The pandemic hit small businesses and the hospitality industry very hard. Consider this your reminder to support the little guy: bed-and-breakfasts, boutique hotels, artists and crafts people, neighborhood restaurants, independent tour guides and family-run businesses. Skip big chains and support the locals.

  1. Carry cash to tip.

Tipping is one of the best ways to show gratitude and support the locals. In an increasingly cashless world, most of us use cards to pay for everything. Don’t forget about the little guy. Tip sidewalk performers and musicians, housekeeping, porters, waiters, tour guides or an unexpected helping hand.

  1. Rethink Taking Travel Photos.

It’s become our instinct to take photos and videos of everything we encounter on a trip. But what happens to those photos? Do you put them in a photo album? Share them on social media? Will they never be looked at again? Our need to get as much travel content as possible can overshadow the actual travel experience. We can benefit greatly by unplugging more when we travel.
You can still take travel photos, but think about how the process impacts your experience, plus what you’re photographing and why.
When practicing Ethical Photography, you can make a photograph versus taking one. That means learning about local cultures before arriving and asking permission to shoot a stranger’s photo before you take it.

Before picking up your camera, get to know the people you are photographing. Having a conversation with them will result in a more compelling photo and a more memorable experience.

Learn more about Ethical Photography, watch our latest Travel Webinar.  

Womens Travel


Carry On Luggage Tips

Long check in and customs lineups, cancelled flights and lost baggage and delays and additional fees. Travelling light, including only packing a carry-on is becoming quite popular these days.

With this is mind, the travel experts at Airport Parking Reservations have compiled the ultimate guide to packing and travelling with a carry-on, with a helpful list of dos and don’ts.

Carry-on do’s

• Put all liquids in a clear zip bag: You will need to transfer your liquids into the airport-provided bags once at security, so make sure your toiletries are at the top of your bag and easily accessible. That way, you won’t be rummaging around your neatly packed bag to find items like your lipgloss, medications, or hand sanitizer. Grab a couple of extra clear bags for next time too! IMPORTANT: Only 1 bag is permitted per traveller

 Double check weight and size restrictions: We’re always triple checking the weight of our hold luggage to avoid extra fees, but some airlines weigh and measure your carry-on. The standard weight and size limits for international flights are about 7kg or 15.5lbs and 56cm x 36cm x 23cm or 22” x 5.5” x 9”. To maximize space, choose a softshell bag with multiple compartments and pockets, or invest if you’ve not already got one.

• Be the first on the plane: If you are near the end of the queue when it comes to boarding, your carry-on bag may not fit in the overhead compartment meaning you will have to store it under your seat or it could be put into checked luggage. This could result in endless waiting at the other end to retrieve your bag. Consider buying priority boarding ahead of time to make sure you’ll be first on the plane and save time.

• Roll your clothes: To fold or to roll is the age-old question, but we find that rolling is the best space-saving method. Clothes stack much easier when rolled, and if rolled tightly, creases are also avoidable. An alternative here would be to invest in packing cubes. They help you keep items separated and compact.

• Charge all your electronics fully: The last thing you want to be doing after spending hours packing your bag as tight and neat as possible is rummaging around for a charger. Avoid this hassle by ensuring all devices are at 100% before departing. It is also wise to pack electronics such as straighteners and laptops at the top of the case as you may need to get these out at security.

• Wear your largest items while travelling: We’re talking winter coats, big boots, hats, and even an extra pair of underwear.

• Pack versatile items: Make sure to pack things that can have multiple uses, for example, a scarf could be used as a blanket or an accessory.

• Buy things when you get there: Many everyday essentials, such as sun cream, sunglasses, and sunhats, will be available at your destination. So why not save space, and consider purchasing these out there?

• Go digital: Make the most of any available switches to digital devices such as ebooks, digital boarding passes, and any other important documents. This way they are easily accessible and won’t take up extra room in your bag.

Carry-on don’ts:

• Pack liquids above 100 ml: Even if you only have half of a 200 ml product remaining, you still cannot carry this in your hand luggage. Liquids must be contained in containers of 100 ml or less. Make sure liquids are kept at the top of the bag or in an easily accessible pocket so that you’re not holding up the queue at security.

• Pack meat, fruit, or other agricultural items: If you are wanting to bring any similar items, make sure to declare them to avoid potential prosecution.

• Pack any sports equipment: Even if it’s just a tennis racket, most sports equipment cannot be taken on as carry-on luggage. If you are planning on participating in any sports while away, plan ahead and hire some equipment out there.

• Pack powders more than 350 ml: First liquids, now powders? Yes, we now have to be wary of how much powder we’re bringing onto the plane – things like baby powder and dry shampoo. Women should double-check makeup bags before flying.