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You Go, Girl: The Best Travel Destinations for Women

A woman wearing a hat and holding a camera

If every destination aims to be good for women who travel, then there are places that simply have a long way to go.

This is a sobering reality in 2024. According to the United Nations, one out of three women experience physical and sexual violence in their lifetime. And while this remains as an estimate, a number of them have actually experienced this and it happened in the midst of their journeys.

Just early this year, a Spanish-Brazilian tourist was gang raped by 7 men after she and her husband were attacked during a motorbike tour in India. That incident was just one of the many abuses women have endured in the country. And, it is an even smaller figure compared to the number of cases from all over the world that saw women at the receiving end of heinous crimes.

But while there are parts of the world that continue to fail women who travel, there are places that are doing a better. In these countries, women can rely on policies set in place to protect them; crime rates are better managed and the economy, as well as the the general mindset of the public, are not in states that encourage people to take advantage of others. But safety isn’t the only reason as to why these countries are visited.

Far from it.

ICELAND

In Iceland, the most popular saying is “Þetta reddast,” a phrase which more or less means “everything will work out.” And there are many reasons for this positivity.

Since the creation of the Global Peace Index—also known as GPI, that list which ranks countries by how peaceful they are—Iceland has been a common top placer. It has a low crime rate, a continuing disinterest in militarization and its people, in generally, are quite chill; an ironic truth given that they descended from the Vikings.

But Iceland has always been more than just a peaceful place. Because of its location, the country has been subjected to unique meteorological and geological conditions that created such an unusual set of tourist attractions. Here, we see the northern lights, halls of stone that seem deliberately cut by man, volcanos erupting in the midst of biting cold, glaciers still intact even as fears of global warming intensify and vast sprawls of land left to the hands of nature. Such sights has made the Iceland rich with unique experiences

Iceland isn’t flawless, however. Its winds can be harsh and its vastness can be isolating but considering all that it has working for it, “Þetta reddast.”

NEW ZEALAND

Online, there’s an anonymous quote which says that “sometimes, we’re tested not to show our weakness but to discover our strength.” The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was a test presented upon the world not too long ago and while it definitely unveiled the weaknesses of several countries, it also showcased the strength of others. New Zealand showed off more of the latter.

Due to the pandemic, the world became aware of New Zealand’s reality as a well-managed nation. Its bias toward scientifically backed policies and its dedication to responding to immediate threats allowed it to contain the virus and easily begin the recovery of its economy with losses quite minimal when compared to other, much older nations. Nowadays, its finer points are seen as it presents itself as a thriving tourist hub.

Because of its picturesque landscapes, its vibrant urban areas and its history as the setting for some iconic scenes in films, New Zealand is a popular vacation spot. And, that popularity is managed well by the country’s forward thinking decisions. Currently, it enjoys a low crime rate, high marks in the Global Peace Index and the influx of recommendations from travelers speaking to travelers. It also continues to advance gender equality through the implementation of various institutional mechanisms meant to achieve that goal.

COVID-19 can now more or less be treated like the common flu according to experts; the pandemic is over. But New Zealand’s popularity continues to remain high.

AUSTRIA

In The Sound of Music, we see the protagonists end the film by escaping to find a more peaceful life outside Austria but these days, people are coming to Austria to find peace. Known now as one of the idyllic nations in the globe, ranking five in the latest GPI, this European country has become a goal for travelers.   

Like the nearby country of Switzerland, Austria has a lot to offer by way of winter sports but its appeal can stretch all the way to warmer seasons due to its historic sites, stunning landscapes and scenic routes. The Sound of Music also plays a part in the country’s popularity. Tours related to the film are currently being conducted in Salzburg. And each of these attractions can be pursued with ease in one’s heart as the country is generally safe due to policies that keep it so.

The hills of Austria are alive because of “the Sound of Music” and because of the way it’s being managed, it’s hard for some to look at it and say “so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye.”

SINGAPORE

Singapore has one of the best airports in the world. It’s grand, quirky and camera friendly and it’s only one of the many interesting things one will find here.

As a country, this island nation is small. But do not let its size fool you. Compact and efficient, Singapore is filled with attractions and unique experiences reflective of its strong economy. These are also open for enjoyment in safety as Singapore is known for having well trained law enforcers that firmly uphold the countries laws to keep it one of the safest places in Asia.

It was the film Crazy Rich Asians that had the world marveling at Singapore. But in the film, Michelle Yeoh’s character said something about a big, happy family that can apply to this country as well: “These things don’t just happen.” Many factors came into play to make Singapore the country that it is now and those factors continue to keep it an attractive destination for the rest of the world.

CANADA

Sprawling beside the United States of America where healthcare can get expensive and gun violence happens on a regular basis, it’s easy to see Canada as a better place by comparison.

But Canada doesn’t need to be compared to be considered appealing. With a large land mass, the country is filled with numerous spots deemed interesting by tourists. It’s also a progressive country and such a climate leads it to be open to various influences. Its major cities, for example, is home to wide array of experiences appealing to many. This is multiculturalism capitalized. Adding to that is the long established reality that among its North American neighbors, Canada is considered to be one of the safest. It is such that Canadians are often stereotyped as the nice guys of the West; too good for their own good. It isn’t always the case, of course, but it is a positive stereotype difficult to shake off because of how generally polite Canadians can be.

Yes; Canada doesn’t need to be compared but when it is subjected to that, there are a number of reasons for it to stand out.

IRELAND

 The “luck of the Irish” is a belief that arose during the gold rush in America. At that time, a number of Irish miners were said to have been so successful that the phrase was coined.

The gold rush, of course, has long been over. But to some, the Irish can still be quite lucky—especially when one considers where they live. Found just off the coast of England, Ireland is a country of dramatic landscapes and picturesque views enriched by both mythology and history. And for those who are not a fan of these, the charming urban areas of the country have various offerings. Visitors can take tours of visually arresting sights and educational establishments before winding down for a pint.

Alcohol is often associated with rowdiness and to a certain extent the Irish can get quite lively. But never enough to ruin the country’s good reputation in the world stage. Currently, Ireland ranks at number 3 in the GPI, a number made even more impressive by the fact that the list includes 163 countries. The nation maintains this high ranking with a low crime rate and a generally peace atmosphere—more reasons for the Irish to feel lucky because of where they live.

PORTUGAL

When you live in Spain or France—two of the most visited places in the world—where do you go for a vacation out of your country? Sometimes, these two just swap foot traffic. But there are also times when they consider going somewhere different yet close. This is where Portugal comes in.

Located South of France, at the edge of the Iberian Peninsula it shares with much of Spain, Portugal combines natural beauty with historical richness to draw tourists in. The wealth of its culture which leads to the vitality and romance of its streets also adds to its appeal. Adding to that is the sheer fact that Portugal tends to be a lot cheaper than its more popular neighbors. Then there’s the country’s capacity for peace. 7–that is the rank Portugal takes in the recent GPI. It’s a much higher number than Spain (32) and France (67.)

It is easy for some to overlook Portugal because of the giants that stand next to it. But because of its massive appeal, even the giants can’t help but keep their eyes on it from time to time.

 WANDER, WOMAN

Traveling is a tough endeavor and it can be even more so for women who are—in many places—targets of abusive behavior. Still, there are a number of scientifically backed benefits to it. Some of them are featured by NBC News. According to an article by the organization, these include travel’s capacity to relieve stress, enhance one’s creativity, lowers one’s risks of depression and generally improve one’s health.

“According to a joint study from the Global Commission on Aging and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, in partnership with the U.S. Travel Association, traveling actually keeps you healthier,” the article written by Larry Alton. “The study found that women who vacation at least twice a year show a significantly lower risk of suffering a heart attack than those who only travel every six years or so.”

But there is a way to achieve these benefits without putting one’s self through too much risks. The destinations above are some of the safest places in the world but they are popular not just because of that aspect. In each of them lie traits essential for a country to attract the eyes of the world. They’re destinations in more ways than one: goal to aspire for to some; a place to get to for others—women especially.

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