To celebrate International Women’s Day , we’ve gathered some of our favourite female travellers throughout history. These inspiring women have paved the way for many female travellers today. Many on the list defied male expectations, and through their tenacity and determination were able to prove to the world just how capable they are. Here come the ‘wander women’.

Jeanne Baret (1740-1807)

Jeanne Baret was the first recorded woman to circumnavigate of the globe. She joined Louis Antonie de Bougainville’s expedition as a valet and assistant to naturalist Philibert Commercon. However, the French Navy at the time prohibited women on its ship, which meant that Baret had to disguise herself as a man while on the  three year journey. It is unknown when her gender was revealed, but when she eventually returned home to France, she was widely celebrated for her achievement.

Lady Hester Stanhope (1776-1839)

A British socialite and niece of William Pitt the Younger, Lady Hester Stanhope was bred to live the life amongst Britain’s elite. However, the tenacious woman craved for a more adventurous life, thus travelling to the Middle East to live and work as an archaeologist. She became the first European woman to cross the Syrian desert, and the first to conduct modern archaeology in Ashkelon in 1815, as part of the Holy Land archaeology.

Nellie Bly (1864-1922)

Elizabeth Cochran Seaman, otherwise known by her pseudonym, Nellie Bly, was an American journalist working for the New York World during the late 1800s. She pitched an idea to her editor to try and beat the fictional ‘world record’ set by the character, Phileas Fogg, from the famous novel, Around the world in 80 days. When the editor insisted on sending a man on the journey instead of her, she threatened to take the idea to another newspaper. Ultimately, he agreed to send her. Not only did Bly beat the record by completing her travels in 72 days, but became the first recorded female solo traveller to traverse the globe.

Bessie Coleman (1892-1926)

The first black woman pilot who helped to pave a way for many future pilots of colour. Despite being banned from attending pilot school in her home country of America, Bessie Coleman was determined to follow her dreams. After learning to speak French, Bessie travelled to one of France’s elite pilot school and earned herself a licence in 1921. Upon returning to America, Coleman hosted aerial shows where she was able to show off her flight tricks to the public. She also conducted lectures on the importance of raising funds for African American flying schools.

Amelia Earhart (1897 – 1937?)

No female traveller list would be complete without mentioning the infamous Amelia Earhart. While many may only remember the pilot for her mysterious disappearance in 1937, she too was an accomplished traveller who broke a distinguished record. In 1932, Earhart became the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic. She was also, literally, on her way to becoming the first to complete a circumnavigation around the globe, until she and her plane, vanished over the Pacific Ocean.

Junko Tabei (1939-2016)

In 1975, a group of female mountaineers made history as the first women to climb Mt. Everest. Among them was Junko Tabei, a Japanese mountaineer. Tabei was known to have loved climbing throughout her childhood, despite being frail and shy. She kept her passion going, and eventually became the first woman to climb all seven summits in 1992. Junko Tabei kept a quiet life after garnering media attention for her achievements up until her death in 2013.

Laura Dekker (1995 – )

In 2010, Dutch-born Laura Dekker became the youngest person ever to sail around the world. The teen set sail from Gibraltar, travelling to places such as the Canary Islands, Fiji, Bora Bora, South Africa, several islands around the Caribbean and many more. The entire trip itself lasted for about a year and five months, into which Dekker managed to fit time for her homework and flute practice in between island hopping.



Travelling can be a life-changing experience for many, which is why Kenwood Travel wants to be able to give everyone the opportunity to discover new horizons.

Be sure to visit our website or speak to one of our travel experts today on 020 7749 9220 to book your next adventure.


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