As girls' trips have increasingly evolved from spa getaways to the adventurous, travel companies are increasingly offering unique women's empowerment itineraries focused on the luxury of exploration.
One of the newest comes from Natural Habitat Adventures, the travel arm of the World Wildlife Fund, offering women an exclusive chance to learn about the female explorers who braved the Canadian Arctic.
The seven-day NorthernLights and Arctic Cultures was designed by naturalist explorer Annie Van Dinther and will be offered in February in Churchill, Manitoba, an 18th century fur-trading post with a history of human existence that dates back 4,000 years.
"We wanted to create a space for women who are ready for the next big adventure of their lives, where they can feel empowered to be themselves in one of the wildest places on the planet," said Van Dinther, a veteran expedition leader for the company. "This trip is all about learning what it took for women to survive the Canadian Arctic, it's about expanding our knowledge of natural history and science, and most importantly, it's about discovering what we're capable of alongside like-minded individuals. Put simply, it's the trip the women expedition leaders of Nat Hab have always wanted to take themselves!"
The trip will look at centuries of contributions made by women of the north with workshops focused on traditional skills such as snowshoeing, igloo-building and dog-sledding.
The itinerary also includes an introduction to field research at the Churchill Northern Studies Center along with tales of life on the tundra from Katie deMeulles, who will share the stories of her mother, Myrtle deMeulles, a respected Elder and storyteller who grew up on a trap line and went on to receive the Order of the Metis Nation for her art.
Evenings, of course, will be spent in search of the northern lights. Churchill's frequent clear winter nights and location directly beneath Earth's auroral offer some of the best viewing opportunities on the planet. Travelers will view the aurora at four different private locations well away from the lights of town: from a glass Aurora Pod, inside heated Aurora Domes with 360 views, from an isolated cabin deep in the boreal forest and at an illuminated tepee warmed by a campfire at a dog musher's camp.
With departures Feb. 4 and Feb. 24, the seven-day trips start at $5,995 per person and includes accommodation, all excursions and activities, meals, most gratuities, round-trip private charter flights from Winnipeg to Churchill, airport transfers and the use of cold-weather gear such as parkas, boots, mittens, fleeces jackets and waterproof pants.