Trends: Women Are Fastest Growing Segment of US Adventure Travel Industry

When you hear the words “adventure travel,” perhaps you think of Venetian merchant Marco Polo, the distinguished African explorer David Livingstone, or North Pole adventurer Robert Peary. Nowadays, it conjures up images of muscular guys mushing sled dogs to victory in Alaska’s Iditarod race, or tethered to bungee cords and jumping off bridges into canyons.


Of Related Interest

RAIL & SAIL 2012 - Country Travel DISCOVERIES Newsletter

RAIL & SAIL 2012 Travel Discoveries Newsletter Cover

We're pleased to introduce our inaugural paper and e-newsletter, Rail & Sail Discoveries, featuring locomotive and ship travel opportunities, our upcoming travel destinations for 2012, short travel advice and articles, real traveler letters, Discovery Director spotlight, and more!


MEN exploring and climbing, mushing and jumping.

But dozens of women have climbed Nepal’s Mount Everest, the world’s tallest peak. Others have mapped continents and commanded space flights. Two hundred or so years ago, it was a Native American woman who guided the explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their journey of discovery through the Pacific Northwest.

Just last year, British ocean rower Roz Savage became the first woman to cross the Pacific Ocean alone, in a rowboat.

In fact, women are the fastest-growing segment of America’s “adventure travel” industry. Books with titles such as Gutsy Women and travel organizations like “Woodswomen” serve the swelling interest in women-only canoe trips, backpacking expeditions, and other strenuous adventures.

Women are already used to the complexities of ordinary family travel. Now, many want something more invigorating. One of the lures of adventure travel is the opportunity to share it with their daughters or granddaughters. For others, it’s the chance to challenge themselves without worrying about the needs of kids or husbands or boyfriends for a change.

“There are many women who say, ‘I’m afraid I couldn’t keep up,’” one female adventure traveler told the Baltimore Sun. “I love watching women get over their self-imposed limitations.”

Older women already predominate on organized sightseeing tours. Now, women of all ages are getting off the bus and striding vigorously into remote, rugged, and remarkable places.


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This report originally appear on VoA News, where the full text, audio and illustrations may be found. 




There Was Gold in Them Thar Hills


Thousands sought it in the Klondike; few brought it home

Lots of Americans have heard of the Klondike because of a popular ice-cream bar named after the place.

It's in Canada, so we could call this essay Only in Canada. But the Klondike is right next to Alaska, and its moment in the sun is mostly an American story.


Alaska's White Pass & Yukon Railroad: A Civil Engineering Wonder

Original Date: 2002-04-27

It will be two months or more before the last of the snow disappears from the peaks rising up behind the small town of Skagway in southeast Alaska. But Skagway's famed White Pass & Yukon Railroad will begin summer operations May 1 anyway. After all, if eight or nine meters of snow could have stopped this gold rush era rail line, it would never have been constructed in the first place.

In 1994 the White Pass & Yukon line was named one of the world's Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks. It may not sound like an especially prestigious award, but it put this tiny railroad in some pretty illustrious company. The Panama Canal, the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty are all to be found among the award's 29 recipients.

On this morning, the Skagway docks are full. Four large and two small cruise ships tied up overnight. As the 15,000 tourists onboard awaken and venture down the gangway they find the rail cars of the White Pass & Yukon waiting for them right out on the dock. This historic line has been greeting seagoing vessels and passengers at the waterfront for just over one hundred years, beginning with the Klondike Gold Rush in the 1890s.

Leaving the waterfront and inching through town, a running commentary introduces train passengers to Skagway's beginnings as a gold rush boomtown. Steam ships out of San Francisco and Seattle began depositing wild-eyed prospectors by the thousands on the beach at Skagway in 1897. Gold had been discovered in the Canadian Yukon the year before and coastal mountain passes just north of Skagway offered the quickest route into the richest claims. However, many were so intimidated by Alaska's untamed wilderness, they returned home on the very same ship that brought them here.

Those who remained had to run Skagway's gauntlet of scam artists and thieves before they could challenge the wilderness. A play chronicling the short life of the town's best-known outlaw, a man with the unlikely name of Soapy Smith, has entertained summer visitors every year since the 1930s.

Ranger Carl Gurke with the Klondike Gold Rush National Park says Smith learned his trade during the Colorado gold strike then moved north. "So he came up here and he wanted to make himself the king of Skagway and he did that. He consolidated all of the criminal elements in town," he said. "He had his hands in gambling and prostitution. He also had a telegraph office that you could go in and send telegraphs to your loved ones back home. Unfortunately, the line didn't go anywhere, so your messages didn't go anywhere. But messages always came back saying, 'We love you, please send money.' And of course the messages themselves required some cash as well."

As the train picks up speed for the long climb into White Pass, passengers can peer out their windows and clearly discern the narrow trail used by the prospectors prior to the railroad's completion. Ranger Gurke describes the trail as the world's longest museum, noting that it's littered with millions of artifacts."There are hundreds of thousands of tin cans because that's where they got most of their food," he said. "Lots of fragments of shoes, because they probably wore out a lot of shoes going back and forth. Newspaper fragments from February 1898, still in good shape at the top of the pass."

Of Related Interest

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RAIL & SAIL 2012 - Country Travel DISCOVERIES Newsletter

RAIL & SAIL 2012 Travel Discoveries Newsletter Cover

We're pleased to introduce our inaugural paper and e-newsletter, Rail & Sail Discoveries, featuring locomotive and ship travel opportunities, our upcoming travel destinations for 2012, Traveling at High Altitudes, real traveler letters, Discovery Director spotlight, and more!



The National Park Service is working hard to collect and preserve these artifacts before the wilderness reclaims the land. But what looks like trash along the trail doesn't keep passengers from enjoying Alaska's raw beauty. Thirty year veteran White Pass & Yukon Train Conductor Dan Law says passengers are often overwhelmed by the spectacular scenery and especially enjoy the wildlife glimpsed during the trip.

"Moose, bear, goats, porcupines, wolverines. We chased a moose up the tracks once," he said. "He turned around and wanted to charge us. He got to a bridge and realized he couldn't cross the bridge and he turned around and he was really scared. We crept up closer and closer to him and got about ten feet from him. His eyes were the size of saucers and I really felt bad for the guy. He finally turned around and jumped down underneath the bridge and went down about thirty feet and ran off into the woods."

Construction of the White Pass & Yukon line began just two years after the discovery of gold and was completed in an amazing 27 months. Remarkably, miners cleared most of the rail bed using only hand tools and explosive black powder. The climb to the White Pass rises 900 meters in just 32 kilometers, making it one of the steepest rail inclines in the world.

Although more than 100,000 prospectors converged on the Yukon during the Klondike Gold Rush, only about a half dozen actually walked away with any significant wealth. The gold claims were quickly consolidated into a few large companies and commercial mining replaced prospecting. In the years that followed, millions of tons of gold, as well as copper, silver and lead ore left the Klondike by rail and were loaded aboard southbound ships at Skagway.

Today, the railroad is operated exclusively for tourists and carries more than 300,000 passengers between the first of May and the end of September.

As the train pulls back into Skagway, passenger Prabu Valen reflects on what he's learned about Alaska gold rush history, The White Pass & Yukon line, and what it must have been like for prospectors hiking along the trail he's enjoyed from the comfort of his rail car.

Valen: "It's nice to get a feel for the kind of experience people had and kind of the troubles and tribulations people had to build this railroad and everything else."

Osborne: "Kind of hard to imagine walking up that with all that weight on your back."

Valen: "That's insane! I'm like, 'I'm staying - gold's not that important I'm saying home!' I would have been one of those guys that turned around and got back on the boat and went back home."


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This report originally appear on VoA News, where the full text, audio and illustrations may be found. 





Travel Protect: When “Seize the Day” Turns into “Save the Day”

As the saying goes, “Carpe Diem “or, “seize the day.” And if making the most of a day was a problem for any couple, it certainly wasn't for Charlotte and John M. of Brooklyn, New York, who loved to explore the world, one continent at a time.

Travel Insurance Information from Country Travel DISCOVERIES

Travel is fun, but also a deviation from routine. Even the best prepared traveler can meet with up the unexpected. That's why Country Travel DISCOVERIES has partnered with Travel Guard to offer Travel Protection Plan insurance.  Protect your travel investment against unexpected losses or damages and keep your piece-of-mind. Travelers may enroll in the insurance plan at any time up until final trip payments are made and you depart on your trip.  Ask our friendly Discoveries Reservation Specialists for more detail or click here.

Their most recent excursion was no exception as the couple’s travel plans started with sightseeing in Barcelona and progressed to a cruise aboard the “Nieuw Amsterdam” to explore ports in Italy, Monte Carlo, Greek Islands, Dubrovnik, Croatia and Venice.

“John and I love to cruise,” said Charlotte. “We traveled extensively in South America and Northern Europe, to the Black Sea, as well as the Caribbean. We wanted to start to explore the Mediterranean so we planned a cruise to that area over a time span of two years by researching every port and hotel down to the last detail.”

And explore they did. The itinerary was extraordinary. The couple reveled in wonder as they walked the narrow streets of Barcelona complete with beautiful cathedrals, amazing shops, quaint downtown squares and delightful restaurants.


"Hopeful Honeymooners" and a Word About the Unexpected

We've said it before and we'll say it again:

Travel is fun, but also a deviation from routine. Even the best prepared traveler can meet with up the unexpected. That's why Country Travel DISCOVERIES has partnered with Travel Guard to offer a Travel Protection Plan insurance.  It's not just another product for us -- or a matter of trying to sell people something they don't want. (For more detail, click here.)

From our many decades of experience, we understand that the cost of your travel experience with us is a real investment.  Like any investment, it should be protected against unexpected losses or damages and keep your piece-of-mind.  We make it easy as possible for travelers to enroll in this partner's insurance plan at any time up until final trip payments are made and you depart on your trip. 

But we're not in the insurance business.  So, we asked Travel Guard for permission to share on our site and in newsletters some of the real-life anecdotes they've collected over time about some of the ways that even the best planned travel has sometimes unfortunately been marred by circumstances.

We wanted to share one here, both as food for thought and, frankly, as worthwhile for the sake of its happy ending.  This poor couple managed to finish and get the most of out of what could have been a disastrous honeymoon.  An excellent sign for the strength of their relationship in the years to come!  More power to them!

If you have anecdotes you'd like to share with us for future posts, we'd love to hear from you!


Hopeful Honeymooners

Guest Post by Travel Guard

Engaged and excited to plan our honeymoon, my husband, Scott and I went into our local travel agency to determine where to go. Our agent helped us decide to travel to St. Lucia. That's when our agent encouraged us to get a travel insurance plan. We debated for a while, whether it was worth it, and shared a couple testimonials of clients that bought Travel Guard. We decided to purchase a travel insurance plan.

Fast forward to our honeymoon... as we were snorkeling in St. Lucia, Scott suddenly pulled back from me in the water. When we came to the surface, he said his knee locked up. He was in a lot of pain. When we got back to shore, it took two men to help him off the boat. After we were assisted by the medical staff, the only crutches available for my 6'4'' husband were for someone 5'10''. We sat in our room and didn't know what to do. If we couldn't find crutches to fit him, we would have to go home. It was only the fourth day of our ten-day honeymoon. Could this really be happening?


Travel More, Save More

TMSM-IconEscalating Discounts on Multiple Tours in a Calendar Year

One of the many ways Country Travel DISCOVERIES says "Thanks" to our loyal, repeat travelers is through our popular Travel More, Save More program.

Frequent Travelers: We want to make it easier for you to plan, afford and enjoy multiple vacations throughout the year—whether back-to-back or spread out seasonally. Now, enjoy escalating discounts to help you see more and do more this year!

BOOK 1 TOUR: Save $200.00 per couple ($100.00 per person)

BOOK 2 TOURS: Save $300.00 per couple ($150.00 per person) on 2nd tour

BOOK 3 TOURS: Save $400.00 per couple ($200.00 per person) on 3rd tour

Just mention code TMSM17 when booking a 2017 discovery tour to save.

(This deal may be combined with Travel Friends Thanks Bonus. Offer may not be combined with other promotions, except where otherwise noted. Offer is only good for travel within a calendar year and may not be "carried over" or combined with programs from the next calendar year.)


Refer-a-Friend Thanks Bonus

Past & Current CTD Travelers: Tell a Friend and Accept Our Thanks

Travel with Friends!Refer a friend who has never traveled with World Wide Country Tours or Country Travel DISCOVERIES, and you can BOTH enjoy a $100.00 bonus.

How to Get Your Bonus

1) If needed, request that a free copy of our Catalog be sent on your behalf to your friend.

2) Give our Reservations Team your friend's name and your referral code (if none, use code GIF17A) while reserving or paying for any tour you want to take.

3) Have your friend do the same!

When your friend makes a reservation, you will each receive a one-time $100 credit toward any trip with us.


Refer-a-Group Thanks Bonus

Group in Munich by Eva Endlich

New Reward Program for Private Group Tour Referral

For years, we’ve offered a Refer-a-Friend Thanks Bonus to travelers who refer a new, first-time customer to CTD.

Then, a long-time customer mentioned to her pastor how relaxing and well-organized she found our trips. One thing led to another, and a volunteer trip organizer from her church contacted us. In addition to our regular public tours, we love helping group leaders create very special private travel programs, have decades of expertise in it, and were thrilled to collaborate on what became a great private tour with her church group.

To show our appreciation, we were pleased to introduce our new Refer-a-Group Thanks Bonus.  We know that the best "advertisement" is the good word of folks who have personally experienced traveling the CTD way.  If you enjoyed your travel experience with us, we’d be honored if you would consider passing on our contact information with your recommendation to your group contact who organizes trips—whether for a club, school, church, activity center, reunion, destination event or other organization. Should your recommendation materialize into a travel group of 10 or more, we will share a $200.00 cash bonus with you—even if you don’t travel with the group.



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