The Women’s Travel Fest is coming up March 3-5 in New Orleans. This unique event is in its 4th year and features 20 speakers and a multitude of vendors. It also seeks to provide important opportunities for connection and networking between women in the travel community. It has sold out every year so far, aiming to bring valuable information and skills to solo women travellers, who may face distinct challenges as they journey.
Founder Kelly Lewis began publishing her women-specific guidebooks Go! Girl Guides after an experience she had during a 4 month-long stay in South America. “I was in Buenos Aires arguing with a girlfriend of mine because she wouldn’t let me borrow a tampon. Her mother had specially sent them to her because you can’t buy tampons in Argentina. I figured that was something I would have really liked to have known before I went.” As she crossed the country on a book tour, she met more and more women who wanted to travel but didn’t know where to start. The idea for a women’s travel festival was born. “Many of these women just wanted basic information. ‘How do I afford to travel?’ ‘Is it safe to travel alone?’ ‘What do I bring?’ These conversations made me realize how much interest was out there, and how much information women could provide for each other.” One aspect that she says is vital to the conference is bringing together die-hard travel veterans with those who are only just beginning to dream of escape. “We share stories and mentor each other. I’ve seen people’s lives change.”
Ms. Lewis says the conference gives women a chance to learn travel skills, gain new insight and ideas, and address common fears. “Health and safety abroad and protection against assault are areas where women can be more vulnerable. Learning some basic guidelines and hearing from women with greater experience helps participants feel more secure.” She says that many of these fears never come to pass. “Once you get out on the road, you realize that the world is mostly safe, and that people are mostly good.” She considers the festival a community event, helping women see the world as smaller and more accessible.
Keynote speakers at this year’s event include Cassie de Pecol, the first documented woman to journey to every country in the world and the fastest person to do so, and Pauline Frommer, who hosts a weekly radio show and has won several Lowell Thomas medals from the American Society of Travel Writers. Many of the presenters are well-known industry influencers, giving festival goers a look into how to make a career from adventure. From famous blogger Alyssa Ramos to luxury brand consultant Scott Eddy, participants who want to delve more deeply into the travel market have a choice of qualified instructors.
The Women’s Travel Fest is a great opportunity for hopeful overlanders, journeyers, and wise adventurers alike to network, learn, and be inspired. Don’t forget to hit up a few great jazz bars while you’re in the Big Easy! womenstravelfest.com