True kindness is one of the wonderful traits women exhibit while traveling.  We see it even in women who were highly competitive in high school, merely friendly in college, and even those who wererarely known for being helpful in the work place.

Kindness might be due to being away from home. 
After all, daily irritations make us more brittle and it is harder to find our soft spots when in the middle of a plumbing disaster or job insecurity. 
Kindness when leisure travel might be due to the fact that we are on vacation or when on business travel that we are on our best behavior.

But there it is, women’s kindness manifests itself while on the road. Kindness means many different things: a gesture, a heartfelt compliment, a true helping hand or a personal commitment to global change.

Through my experience with The Women’s Travel Group, I have witnessed acts of kindness on many trips and would like to share some with you, along with some suggestions on how to insert kindness into your own travels.

The first instance that comes to mind happened with a group that was in Nepal on a tiger hunt in Tiger Tops Reserve in Nepal.

One woman had told us that she had macular degeneration and was taking the trip to see a tiger for the first and last time.

The guide worked endless extra hours, most of the women accompanied him as he searched for that tiger.  Yes, he found a tiger and the woman was able to see it. The kindness exhibited in the form of patience by the group was unforgettable. Their thrill, to be with this lady on such a significant sighting, was their unique gift.

Lesson to be learned: When traveling with a group, remember we are all different.

Some of us jog and some of us stroll. If you are slowed by the pace, use it to wave to a mother and her children.  Or admire the façade and details of a Greek temple. If you are hurried up, use the pace to remind yourself that more walking at home ‘might’ be a good idea.  Ask the guide if you can start ahead of the group. Pace on a trip is arranged for the average walker; patience will always fill your trip with serendipitous sightings.

As a second example, I recall a time when the group found out that a young member was a recent widow.

She had told a few and they quietly told others who they felt would be sympathetic. At several dinners, the woman left the table, unable to participate without tearing up. 

As the time went by, she began to confide in her new ‘friends’ . The new ‘instant friends’ as they called themselves, encouraged her to go shopping with them,  to try meditation, offered at the resort, then to go for longer walks / longer talks.  She learned to laugh again. 

When with a women’s travel group, you are never obligated to others’ needs more than to be punctual and considerate. 

However, you might find that reaching out is fulfilling, and that extending a hand to a stranger gives you a deep satisfaction.  Your memories of being kind will transcend those of a scene or a souvenir.

For my third example, let share a story about a woman who bought a trip for both herself and her best friend – and upgraded it to Business Class.

The friend had recently recovered from breast cancer and this trip was to be a celebration of friendship as well as a splurge.

The trip went well, with some fatigue, but happily both were able to travel overseas again.

Despite the fact that the ill friend died several years later, her trip companion will always know that her act of kindness lasted years — from the first flight until the end. What a beautiful gift of kindness!

Selecting the perfect gift for an ill friend who loves to travel, can be challenging, but here are a few good ideas:

  • Access to an airport lounge (usually $50-75) for the trip is meaningful and helps with fatigue.
  • More pricey might be a Longchamps travel purse; they are Parisian fashionable and light.  
  • Finally consider an upgrade to Business Class. If you can forfeit those miles, go for it. You will feel that extra legroom in your heart.

We hope these tips help you bring a dab of kindness to your next trip.

 

Phyllis Stoller, NABBW’s Group Travel Associate is founder of The Women’s Travel Group, a tour operator which specializes in smart vacations for smart women, was recently honored as one of the 14 most influential women in Group Travel by Group Travel Magazine. The Women’s Travel Group works with travel agents and is a strategic partner of SITA World Tours.

For solo women travelers who do not yet know her, Phyllis also founded The Women’s Travel Club. Both it and The Women’s Travel Group cater to women travelers, especially those traveling solo on group tours and cruises.
Phyllis will personally escort trips to Sicily and India in 2014.

Find more of Phyllis’ travel tips on her blog at and on Facebook at “toursforwomen,” where you can feel free to ask Phyllis your travel questions.

Phyllis Stoller, NABBW’s Group Travel Associate is founder of The Women’s Travel Group, a tour operator which specializes in smart vacations for smart women, was recently honored as one of the 14 most influential women in Group Travel by Group Travel Magazine. The Women’s Travel Group works with travel agents and is a strategic partner of SITA World Tours.