Adventures In Good Company: Empowering Solo Women Travelers

Forbes March 10, 2024

Lifestyle

Adventures In Good Company: Empowering Solo Women Travelers

Solo adventure travel is booming, especially among women travelers. They are the core business of Adventures in Good Company (AGC), a women-only adventure travel company that’s been around for 25 years but has remained quietly under the radar for much of that time.

It offers trips like On the Camino Santiago, Tour du Mont Blanc Highlights, and Bulgaria’s Mountains and Monasteries. Closer to home, they have offerings like Hiking Lodge to Lodge in Shenandoah National Park and Slackpacking Georgia, which is hiking the Georgia section of the Appalachian Trail with daypacks, forsaking carrying a heavy pack and camping for the comforts of a comfortable bed, hot showers, and freshly prepared meals.

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Small groups, smart guides, intriguing itineraries, and a philosophy aimed at female travelers are the keys to its success. Founded by Marian Marbury, it was bought by Kelly Kimple in 2020, who came outside of the travel industry but had worked for decades in the nonprofit and education sectors. with a background in conservation biology.

“I recognized the opportunity it provided to further promote the mission and the belief that travel can be both personally enriching and beneficial for the places we visit,” Kimple says. “There are a multitude of benefits of traveling with a women-only group, but the biggest benefit, in my opinion, is the social connection and support. A small, supportive group of other women creates a safe environment to open up and share your dreams, fears, and perspectives. It also allows women to bond over shared experience, overcome challenges, and create opportunities to relate to one another.”

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Underlining it all is the critical message of AGC, which is to create a “purpose-driven journey,” which Kimple defines as “one that includes thoughtful preparation, the intention behind the places and activities of an itinerary, and being mindful of what's experienced along the way. At AGC, we carefully consider the experience design to ensure our trips weave in elements of connection, reflection, and challenge by choice.”

In other words, this is more than travel for travel's sake.

“I think the growth of female-centric travel reflects a broader societal shift towards personal growth and empowerment, and women recognizing the importance of self-care and self-discovery,” Kimple says. ”Our travelers tend to be at a point in their lives where they are ready to take time for themselves but don’t want a solo vacation. They are looking for a group of like-minded adventurers and seek the safety and security that comes from an organized, guided experience.”

AGC has a range of trip styles, including hiking, paddling, and horseback riding. Kimple says their hiking trips are the most popular, particularly Level 3 trips, which offer a moderate level of challenge without being overly strenuous. They also tend to be better in groups, especially unfamiliar places or cultures. The most popular trips include their trip to Minnesota’s Superior Hiking Trail, which “consistently sells out quickly and generates waiting lists for the current year. It is a less explored area and incredibly scenic at all times of the year with lovely lodging options along the shores of Lake Superior.”

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She also cites their hiking trips along sections of the iconic Appalachian Trail, including those in Vermont, Connecticut, and Virginia. AGC has an impressive repeat client rate of 79%, which Kimple credits to the company’s deliberately slow growth in the past quarter of a century, maintaining many of the same itineraries and guides and maintaining quality.

“We are small enough to get to know our travelers, and they can get to know us,” Kimple says. “This consistency has allowed us to continuously improve our offerings and develop confidence among our community in what they will get on an AGC adventure.”

Looking ahead to 2025 and beyond, Kimple says that AGC is collaborating with partners in Costa Rica, Peru, Portugal, and Italy to provide fresh perspectives on these familiar places.

“These new itineraries will focus on slow-travel and wellness-style experiences, which allow travelers to immerse themselves more deeply in the local culture and prioritize well-being. AGC is also bringing back some destinations we haven’t explored in a while, including Cuba, parts of Canada, and areas in the United States like the Pacific Northwest. We’ll see where the adventure takes us.”


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