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Today's Modern Woman: Travel Needs and Worldwide Choices

Advice for a woman traveling alone. Important tips

 

The opportunities for women today have come a long way since I got out of graduate school and started a corporate career.

The glass ceiling has been broken, and women have moved into top management positions and the career choices are many. We have women running many Fortune 500 companies in various professions with substantial salary scales and bonuses.

Married women are able to run a home, family, career, and pay for help along the way. The hardest thing I found was to have a good balance and not let your career take all of your time. Not being able to balance your time plays a big part in many divorces today. It is a difficult thing to manage, no matter what your age is or in what profession. I always said that for a woman in top management, it was like swimming with sharks.

I had one vice president reporting to me at a Fortune 500 company who told me she was an accomplished housekeeper. I thought, "she does housework to get rid of stress." I found out she had been married seven times and each time she kept the house. Several months later I was home in England and took my Mum to church. When we got to the door to shake hands with the vicar, he said “you must be the daughter from California. We did enjoy the story of the accomplished housekeeper." My Mum apparently told half the parish.

What does a woman want when traveling in the corporate arena?

  • A hotel in a safe central location
  • Gym
  • Spa
  • Hair, nail salon
  • 24-hour room service
  • iPod dock in room
  • Wireless internet – in room
  • iPod and wireless internet in hotel public places
  • A room on a lower floor, near to the elevator
  • State of the art, high-tech facilities
  • A business center for help when needed
  • Transfers to and from the airport, especially overseas
  • A reliable car rental firm when necessary
  • Travel insurance
  • Restaurants nearby, with local flavor
  • A good concierge – ideas for close by tourist attractions, obtaining theater reservations, maps, etc.

NEVER book a room at a hotel or motel with an outside corridor, or rooms with access to people walking by, and no security.

Most important, she needs a good travel professional who is a destination specialist who can make travel as easy as possible, give her a list of restaurants, shops, museums, theaters, in case there is any spare time.

One very important piece of advice I give everyone is to plan ahead. You should fly to the destination a day or two ahead of the important meeting. There is nothing worse than being tired from jet lag and not being as alert as you should be in negotiations, especially with people using different accents so you have to listen carefully. I am amazed at the women who arrive in Europe at 6.30 a.m. then go into a meeting later that morning.

It is a proven fact that people are more productive if they take vacations, and they are in better health. Everyone needs a break from the stresses of modern life. In many parts of the world people get six to eight weeks vacation and they take them. I have always thought that America is behind the times with only two or three weeks. I used to have a policy in my corporate position as Vice President of Administration for a Fortune 500 company, that you must use your vacation time, or lose it. I felt this encouraged people to get away. Even if you enjoy your job, your brain needs a rest.

The opportunities for leisure travel destinations are endless.  Where does your fancy or your budget want to take you?  If I am dealing with a single woman, then I recommend a small group. It is far more enjoyable to be with people of perhaps similar interests, and we deal with several excellent companies  who have journeys to many foreign lands just for women travelers.  

I have led many groups of women and they come from all walks of life, and many ages. Some have remained friends and travel together on other trips. I have taken groups to everywhere from the Outback of Australia, to the New Mexico Balloon Festival, antique markets and shopping in London, skiing in Italy, and hiking in New Zealand. People may want Enrichment Journeys where they will learn something, perhaps food and wine, cooking classes in Italy, wine appreciation, or learn the tango in Argentina. I have often joked that I can't guarantee they will find a nice “bloke”  (British slang for man) on one of my trips.

I’ve found that many women who are wearing suits all week when it comes to vacations they like to be casual, and avoid the glitz. The Number One thing women like to do on a recent survey we conducted was shop. In foreign parts, we head for the local markets to find some bargains.  I took a mixed group to Italy on a Mediterranean  cruise and every time we reached a port, the ladies followed me to buy shoes and handbags.

Some of the modern-day adventure explorer cruises with emphasis on nature, marine biology, off the beaten path like the Galapagos, Antarctic, are also popular. Women want to visit places of historical value, explore their roots, or go to a resort to enjoy the beach.

Technology today makes life easier. It is possible for people to stay connected with Facebook and Twitter and text messaging. Whatever the future holds, modern technology will make our lives easier. 

Maureen is President of All Horizons Travel at 160 Main Street.  Members of her staff are experts in business travel, cruises, and all types of leisure. 

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Maureen Jones March 26, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Nice to hear from you. Appreciate your comment. I was not talking about "Board Level" appointments but rather a women getting to be Vice President of a major corporation. I was on the Board of Directors for a smaller corporation, when I was a Vice President, but it is very difficult to get a Board posting for a major corporation, no matter how many degrees you have. I havent seen the documentary you recommended but will try to do so. I left my Top Management position because I was working 80 hours a week and non stop overseas travel took its toll. Overseeing l7 cost centres was something which wore me out. I quit, played golf for a year, then went back to school to get a degree in travel management so I had the airline computer systems expertise, then bought five travel agencies and started my own company. Now, I travel where and when I want to. I write for 5 travel magazinees and share my expertise. I am on several boards, and enjoy what I do.
AJ March 26, 2012 at 10:40 PM
Very interesting post. What is the major difference between what women want and what men want when traveling in the corporate arena? Is it the same list minus the hair salon?
Maureen Jones March 27, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Having had corporate travel/meeting planning/incentives under me for several Fortune 500 companies, I have found that most men aren't fussy where they stay. They have accepted where the travel agent booked them and dont complain. They make do with what they get, and aren't as picky as a woman traveler.
Kekerun April 06, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Good information. Glad I don't have to travel much anymore!
Ann Krueger Spivack April 06, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Thank you Maureen for this thoughtful reply. I hope my original comment didn't come across as snarky. I love to travel, love your travel advice and your column so hope my words didn't sound discouraging.

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