Girl Power: Inspiring Women Who Changed The World Of Travel

A white sign labelled int'l (international) women's day

4.29min read

Published 8 March 2022


Hooray! For women all over the world who celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March this year . Flight Centre takes this opportunity to recognise these strong and independent women who faced and continue to face sometimes overwhelming odds.

Solo female travel hasn’t always been the standard – the history books are often heavily weighted in favour of telling the tales of the male explorers who charted the world as we know it. Still, a considerable number of intrepid women have played a crucial role in circumnavigating land and sea, both past and present.These incredible women have blazed both literal and figurative trails, making it possible for women to experience the travel freedoms we have today. In honour of International Women's Day, we highlight the stories of some of the bravest women travellers, who against all odds, proved that they could so it too!

There are those who reached for the stars and there are others with their feet firmly planted on the ground. Both groups of women have changed the world, who have inspired others to do greater things and who, to put it simply, made a difference. From an all-female motorcycle club led by a 60-year-old woman in today’s fiercely patriarchal India, to Joan of Arc, fearless female astronauts,Cleopatra, the Queen of the Nile and Saray Khumalo; our lives have indeed been enriched by their achievements.


Young woman wearing a hat and backpack looking at the beach view

What is International Women’s Day all About?

International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality.The first International Women’s Day gathering took place in 1911 and was supported by over a million people.

Today, International Women’s Day belongs to all groups collectively everywhere and is neither country nor group nor organisation specific. This year's International Women's Day theme is 'breaking the biases and about working towards a world free of stereotypes and discrimination,one that is diverse, equitable and inclusive.

Inspiring Women Who Changed the World of Travel

Over the past decades, there have been many inspirational women who have graced the pages of our history books, some of whom have opened new chapters in travel, adventure, natural history and political history.
In this article, we will cover:
International Women’s Day
Tips for Girls on the Go
Destinations to make you feel free

Inspirational Women (in travel and otherwise) and explore, albeit only briefly, some of the women who changed the world, and the world of travel.

Flight Centre’s women stand 100% behind the International Women’s Day celebration of women’s accomplishments and this year’s theme. They have taken this opportunity to share their insights and wisdom in providing the following good advice for solo female travellers. 

Choose your destination with intent (or do your homework)
Plan your first night well
Visualize the necessities but no more
Pack light
Keep the location of your accommodation to yourself; do not share it with other travellers
Protect your documents, cards and cash
Meet/interact with other women travellers
Stay safe
Don’t be afraid to say NO
Take it easy

Our team of Travel Experts have researched ideal country destinations which make women “feel free” and as our gift to you we want to share some of our insights with you. In short, we’ve  listed them, in no particular order of preference below:

BaliIcelandNew Zealand

Who Are The Most Influential Women in The History of Travel?

Saray Khumalo – First Black African Woman to Summit Everest

She was the first black African woman to have conquered Mount Everest, and a Guinness World Record holder who provides world-class transformational coaching to entrepreneurs. She’s an inspiration as she is also known to have summited five mountains, including Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Aconcagua in Argentina and Mount Elbrus in Russia. Saray proves that nothing is impossible and to never give up as she attempted no less than three times to climb Everest before achieving her goal. You can read more about this phenomenal lady here.

Adriana Marais – Director of the Foundation for Space Development Africa

Adriana is currently a director at the Foundation for Space Development Africa, a scientific moderator on space resources with the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator and chair of space sciences at Tod’Aérs Aeronautics and Space Research. 

She is a member of the South African government advisory task team on the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR), the combination of hardware, software, and biology, with a focus on communication and connectivity. Her philosophy is summed up by her statement that the allure of the unknown is far more powerful than the comfort of the known.


Amelia Earhart – The First Woman to Fly Solo

She was an American aviator who set many flying records and championed the advancement of women in aviation. She became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

Jeanne Baret – The First Woman to Sail Around The World

This French citizen became the first woman (though disguised as a man!) to circumnavigate the world. This achievement took place in 1766 – 1769 and it is only recently that Baret’s story has become a more recognized part of history.

Bessie Coleman – First African American, Native American Female Pilot

Bessie Coleman’s place in history is that she was the first African-American woman and first Native American to hold a pilot license. Her goal in life was to encourage women and African Americans to reach their dreams.


Krystyna Chojnowska-Liskierwicz

Krystyna earned her place in the history book when she became the first woman to sail single-handed around the world from 1976 - to 1978. Within 401 days she had sailed from the Canary Islands and circled the globe. Sailing 31,166 nautical miles she returned to Poland, where she is still considered to be a hero of the travelling world.

Cassandra Depecol

From July 2015 to February 2017 Cassie travelled to every sovereign nation in the world. She has thus become the fastest to visit all sovereign nations as well as being the fastest to do it as a woman.

Jane Goodall

Her study of chimpanzees was ground-breaking in that she was the first person to witness these apes creating and making use of tools. Her discoveries shaped our understanding of what it is to be human. As recent generic studies have shown, chimpanzees have 98 per cent similar DNA to humans.

Valentina Tereshkova – Youngest woman in space
She is known for being the first and youngest woman in space, having flown a solo mission on the Vostok 6 on 16 June 1963. She orbited the Earth 48 times, spent almost three days in space, and remains the only woman to have been on a solo space mission.


Dian Fossey

She was an American primatologist and conservationist known for undertaking an extensive study of mountain gorilla groups from 1966 until she passed away in 1985. She studied them daily in the mountain forests of Rwanda, initially encouraged to work thereby paleoanthropologist Louis Leakey.

Nellie Bly

Nellie Bly (real name Elizabeth Cochran Seaman) was the most famous American woman reporter of the 19th century.

Her investigation (going undercover as an inmate in the facility) of conditions at an insane asylum sparked outrage, legal action, and improvements in the treatment of the mentally ill. Her trip around the world in 72 days brought her even more fame. 

So ladies, enjoy your travels. There is of course really no need to perform any of the extraordinary feats for which these legendary women are famous. All you have to do is to contact one of Flight Centre’s expert consultants, discuss a holiday that suits you, book a package that fits your pocket, hop on the next aeroplane (ship,train … whatever) and enjoy a vacation to remember.


Hooray for women indeed, let us start planning your next trip today!

Flight Centre

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