As the founder and CEO of Wanderful, Beth Santos has developed a sisterhood of more than 45,000 solo women travelers across the globe. Now, this changemaker has written a book to help more women see the world on their own.

Released in early March 2024, Santos is the author of “Wander Woman: How to Reclaim Your Space, Find Your Voice, and Travel the World, Solo.” Through her debut book, Santos is giving what’s seen as solo travel for women a second look. She not only provides applicable tips but also delves more into what today’s solo traveler should know.

“I see us now sort of re-examining what our own travels are based on what we think they should be or what they should have been,” said Santos. “In talking about redefining solo travel, I also wanted to challenge people to rethink the ways that they’ve been having their travel experiences.”

The book also provides tips on helping to handle solo travel scenarios such as dining alone, managing your money, meeting people or getting out of your comfort zone. It goes even further by addressing current travel topics such as sustainability, cultural awareness and responsible tourism.

While overall supporting women travelers, Santos also uses her book to acknowledge what BIPOC and LGBTQ+ travelers may encounter. Personal safety, often a major point, is addressed in its own chapter. Santos explained that women are simply told that traveling alone is not safe or internalize messages such as which destinations are the safest for them.

“A huge part of the reason for writing this book in the first place was [that] I don’t want somebody to scare me out of traveling somewhere and I don’t want to be told I should or should not go to certain places,” said Santos. “I think I should be able to make that decision for myself. And I think people are smart enough to make those decisions for themselves provided they have the right information, which we’re not serving them right now.”

Santos, a Boston resident, started Wanderful in 2006. It was then called “Go Girl”—the name was changed to its current one in 2013—and originated as a blog turned online magazine. First posting her own travel stories, Santos began placing ads on Craigslist seeking submissions from other female writers and later organized the network’s first event in Chicago.

Wanderful has expanded to more in-person meetups, the WITS Travel Creator Summit, and The Bessie Awards, honoring women and gender-diverse people of impact in travel.

“But at the end of the day, I will actually say I tell people sometimes that Wanderful not about travel at all,” said Santos. “It’s about creating community and sisterhood and women who lift each other up, and the context that we’re doing that under is travel. At the end of the day, it’s really about supporting one another and helping lift each other up—and it just so happens that that thing is always travel.”

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