Three Sisters Adventure Travel. Hike the Himalayas with one of the first women trekking guides in Nepal. Trained as an expert by Empowering Women of Nepal, she will explain (in English) just everything you want to know about geology, flowers, animals, and the cultures of the mountain inhabitants… in fact, she grew up in these mountains herself. Three Sisters Adventure Travel funds the training program, so your vacation will contribute to improving rural Nepalese women’s opportunities and their families’ lives---and all you have to do is enjoy trekking in these fabulously beautiful mountains! Sign up to go
Palazzo dal Carlo. Roberta dal Carlo has restored her 18th Century family home, Palazzo dal Carlo, on a peaceful canal in Venice, with a panoramic view from the jasmine-planted roof garden. Departures Magazine wrote, “The pleasant but modest sleeping quarters are such a joy because of Roberta herself. Friendly but discreet, well connected but entirely without airs, she’s our favorite Venetian landlady.” Learn more
Travel bookstores are becoming rare. One of my favorites (run by a woman) offers the biggest, best selections of books, maps and tapes imaginable. Elaine Petrocelli's Book Passage (Corte Madera and San Francisco California) also have great author events.
Journeywoman.com is indispensable if you're a woman who travels for business or pleasure. The website is a treasure trove of information about where to shop world- wide, how to travel with tots, what to wear where, Ms. Biz Travel Tips (Solo Dining--Make it Fun), women-friendly travel opportunities, top spas and more. Check it out
Casto Travel. For international travel, agents are invaluable. The one Paola always works with for her books is Liz Spander of Casto Travel, San Francisco. She not only made flawless arrangements in destinations far off the beaten path, she tailored an international network of travel professionals, interpreters and guides who were experts in local history and culture. Find out more
Tourism Concern. Founded by Alison Stanclife, this London-based organization which is run today by Tricia Barnett, Director, and Stroma Cole, Board Chair. They work with communities in countries that are tourist destinations to reduce social and environmental problems caused by tourism, to coordinate with local people who offer tours or lodgings, and teach travelers to impact local people positively (e.g., how to negotiate prices; whether to go to Burma). Their website includes an excellent world map of the issues.
Inner India Tours can whisk you off the beaten tourist path to meet women and their families in their own environments: craft villages, tribal villages, desert villages. Babu Mohapatra, an economist and scholar, will be your interpreter and guide, as he was for Paola when she was photographing for her book Celebrating Women. Learn more
Nihiwatu. Petra Graves co-founded this beautiful, prize-winning resort on Sumba Island in Indonesia. The resort and its guests have raised more than $2 million for its Sumba Foundation, which preserves the traditional culture and provides local villagers with healthcare and education.
Distinctive Honeymoons is a registry program that allows couples to plan their trip and have friends and family buy elements of it as a wedding gift. The service is available from Protravel international, which was founded by Priscilla Alexander. Learn more
Ethical Traveler. Although Paola is devoted to projects by women, Ethical Traveler is a worthy exception. The brainchild of travel writer Jeff Greenwald, this website is a grassroots collaboration between adventurers, tourists, travel agencies, and outfitters who feel that travelers can be freelance ambassadors. The site’s important campaigns leverage travelers’ economic power to protect the environment and strengthen human rights, including fighting child sex ttrafficking in Cambodia.
Uma Ubud. Christina Ong’s five star hotel and spa, Uma Ubud, is located on the island of Bali, Indonesia. There are rooms, villas and suites with infinity plunge pools, garden terraces. The décor is elegant and simple (local woods, thatched roofs); the restaurant food is Asian and organic. The Shambala spa offers women - only yoga retreats led by world-renowned teachers. (Note: The beautiful Uma Paro, a sister hotel is located in Bhutan).
Reading Nevada Wier's book, Adventure Travel Photography is second only to taking one of her photo expeditions to Asia which are exceptional. (Adventure Travel Photography: How to Shoot Great Pictures Off the Beaten Track, Nevada Wier, Amphoto Books, 1992)
International Living. Kathleen Peddicord, publisher of International Living, will happily send you an email every Day (“your daily escape”) about a house for sale in another country, how to become a travel writer, how run a business--or retire-- abroad.
Three wonderful books about women traveling internationally are Tales of a Female Nomad; Women of Discovery: a Celebration of Intrepid Women Who Explored the World; A Woman's World (also Marybeth Bond’s other books in the Traveler's Tales series). Find out more on the book page