The idea of rafting the Colorado River captured my imagination as a young girl and never left me. I had many opportunities to go rafting as I grew older but not on the Colorado. I made several attempts to organize a Colorado River trip but l could never find anyone I knew who wanted to go. As I approached 40, I began to worry I would never realize my dream.
A chance conversation in the mid-1990s was the true catalyst for creating Women Traveling Together. Another woman shared with me her frustration finding a travel companion for a trip she wanted to take—making me realize I wasn't the only woman with this problem. I then asked other women if they faced similar struggles finding a travel companion. The answer was a resounding “yes!” Women of all ages, married and single had put their travel dreams on hold because they didn’t know someone who shared their interest in their dream destination. I realized if I could bring together women who shared similar interests, I could help them (and me) fulfill their travel dreams.
I began Women Traveling Together in 1997 with one mission—to help women fulfill their travel dreams by bringing together women who shared a common passion for travel. In our first year we offered three tours. Today we offer more than 60 tour destinations a year, all over the world and across the USA and Canada.
I have now rafted the Colorado River—three times at last count—and each time it was everything I had hoped... thrilling, scenic, and thoroughly enjoyable. But it was the camaraderie of my fellow travelers—sharing the laughter and fun—that was by far the most lasting and rewarding part of the experience.
Looking back, I can see WTT has accomplished much more than just bringing together women to travel; the life of every woman who has traveled with us has been enriched in ways I never imagined, and countless new friendships have been made along the way. For all our success, this is the part of our company story of which I am most proud.
I want to thank all the women who have put their trust in WTT and continue to travel with us again and again—giving us one of the highest repeat traveler rates in the business. If you are just learning about us, we hope you will travel with us soon.
President and Founder, Women Traveling Together
Debra knew from experience hiring good people would be critical to WTT’s success. In February 1999 she asked her mother, Hazel Cannon, to put her years of customer service to work for the new company. Time has proven it one of the best decisions Debra ever made and Hazel still handles all of the trip reservations and membership services. In WTT’s early years, Debra acted as tour leader for every trip as well as handling all the planning, logistics and promotion.
Today, Debra still occasionally leads a tour but there are now many women (and a few behind-the-scenes men) who are a part of the WTT team. All of them share a singleness of purpose in helping women fulfill their travel dreams. Debra feels her role today is to ensure Women Traveling Together continues to deliver the same personal warmth, friendliness, and attention to detail that has been the company’s hallmark.
We are often asked how one becomes a WTT tour leader. We hold Tour Leader Training classes periodically when we need additional tour leaders, announcing and posting the dates on our website. Acceptance into Tour Leader Training is based on prior travel and leadership experience. In January of 2011 WTT added nine tour leaders, bringing our tour leader staff to 19.
It's difficult to explain just how important the role our tour leader plays until you take a tour with us. The tour leader "is" Women Traveling Together as far as her travelers are concerned. She has a profound effect on the quality of the individual traveler’s and the group’s experience. That’s why our tour leaders are not only trained in tour management, but also they get additional training in group dynamics, safety, security, and other women specific topics.
A WTT tour leader handles more than just the logistics. With the group 24/7 during a trip, our tour leaders become part of the group and ensuring everyone’s travel experience is a good one. She is there to assist you when needed, but gives you space when you want it. We firmly believe the exceptional women who are our tour leaders are a key ingredient in the success of Women Traveling Together.