Sights and Soul Travels is a boutique tour operator specializing in luxury tours and vacations for women, with destinations in Europe, South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia. The small group tours incorporate historical and cultural exploration, outdoor activities, fine dining, wine tastings, spas and luxury hotels, and cultural activities. The company is based in Germantown, Maryland, in the greater Washington, DC area. Sights and Soul Travels was founded in 2004, and currently has 6 full time employees who cooperate with several off-site partners and Tour Directors.
April, Emily, Sarah and Nicki in the Germantown office, Maryland, October 2018.
The story of Sights and Soul Travels
It’s been amazing! We have no other words to describe the past fourteen years. Even before the idea of a women-only tour company became a reality, we have been dreaming, planning and traveling to countries around the world, gathering ideas and information, making contacts and mental checklists. In 2004, we managed to turn our passion into reality and Sights and Soul Travels, Tours and Vacations for Women was born.
We started out with great hopes, very little money and no clients, but with lots of determination and a strong belief that there are women out there who will appreciate this approach to travel. The first year was challenging. Many people were puzzled by the idea of women-only travel. We did a lot of explaining.
Meanwhile, we were slowly laying out the groundwork for what was to become the most trusted women-only tour operator. Soon, the demand exceeded the spaces we had on our tours and we had to resist the temptation to add more tours, so that we could maintain the “friends traveling together” quality. But with time, we gathered a dedicated team of devoted travel professionals focused on building bridges between cultures and introducing more women to the wonders of world travel, and we could increase our offer. It’s this dream team, who puts together our tours and sets the stage for our tour directors, is what allows us to provide awesome experiences to more and more women. And yes, we are both very proud and very thankful… Today, Sights and Soul Travels runs over 50 tours a year, we have welcomed more than 4,000 guests, many of them several times and we made just as many friends. Our scale might have changed, but our original intention holds true: to share with other women the incredible experience of discovering the world, and to do so with heart and dedication, providing unique journeys and authentic experiences to each and every woman who trusts us with her dream.
All our tours are defined by high style and in-depth cultural exploration, and each is tailor-made to highlight the most captivating aspects of its destination, but also meticulously paced, so that we can savor every intriguing stop on our itinerary. Add in our inspiring guides, awesome tour directors, like-minded fellow travelers, truly fine dining, beautiful hotels and access to extraordinary places and special experiences, and you'll get a luxury, yet mind-expanding adventure like no other.
High quality experiences tend to attract high quality people. As we meet so many amazing women, we are grateful for and cherish each friendship and each connection we make. We are honored that you trust us with your vacation time and we love getting to know each woman who travels with us. We are thankful to those who share Sights and Soul with others, as we wouldn't be where we are today without your continued support. If you're only starting to get familiar with us, please know that we look forward to hearing from you. We answer each email within a day and answer each phone call in person. We love chatting about travel and helping you with turning your travel plans into reality.
What Others Are Saying about Us
Yolanta in the Germantown office, Maryland, October 2018
YOLANTA BARNES, Executive Director
Yolanta is the force behind Sights and Soul Travels. With traveling and passion for people having always been essential in her life, designing travel experiences for women is her dream job. As the Executive Director of Sights and Soul Travels, her responsibilities include destination research, tour development and itinerary implementation, marketing and customer relations. Yolanta’s background in the arts is ever present in her choices of destinations, authenticity, and informed attention to all details. The tours which she designs are infused with spirit for life and zest for exploration, and her focus is on experiences particularly appealing to women. As an experienced world traveler, she understands the needs of women-on-the-road and is committed to making the tours enjoyable, comfortable and fun. When not planning new adventures, Yolanta enjoys being home, gardening and re-reading the classics. She can also mix a mean martini.
Latest journey: Chile
Favorite destination: South Africa
Bucket list trips: South Korea, Mongolia, Bali
What travel means to me: In 2004, Sights and Soul Travels, a tour company geared solely for women travel, was founded and soon it took over my life and became my great passion. With the tremendous help of our office staff of Tour Managers and Tour Coordinators and our star quality Tour Directors, I create dream journeys for women. What could be better than the ability to make someone's dream come true? Because Sights and Soul Travels has become a part of my identity, I don't see travel in terms of personal journeys any more, but rather as a calling that allows me to make travel possible for other women. And I love every single day doing this. Because women travel differently then men do, designing tours for women is very different from scheduling typical tours. We like to get to the bottom of issues, take our time to discover and appreciate cultural differences and get to know the people, not only see the sights. We also like to relax and be pampered. So at Sights and Soul Travels, we combine cultural and historical explorations with activities which make travel a true vacation: spa visits, wine tours, walks along beaches and hikes in the mountains, leisurely dinners with good conversations, musical performances, cooking classes, and of course laughter, new friends and lifetime memories.
KASIA SLABOSZ, Director of Operations
Kasia leads the Operations Department of Sights and Soul Travels, oversees the planning and execution of the tours' logistics, while also heading our European office in Krakow, Poland. She also manages the continuous development of the company web site. Over the last 20 years, Kasia’s passion for world cultures and ethnography, combined with her love of photography, has taken her to almost 50 countries around the world. As a world traveler and a European, she has an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the differences in world’s cultures and national dynamics which she applies in her work at Sights and Soul Travels. But it was her background in ethnography and world cultures that inspired her to share her passion for travel with other women. She realizes that in a world that changes more quickly with each passing year, it is important to slow down and take time to remember what connects us all. Her work with Sights and Soul Travels allows her to apply the principles of creative energy and order to extraordinary experiences that she plans for women travelers.
Latest journey: The Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia) and St. Petersburg, Russia
Favorite destination: Peru
Bucket list trips: Chile, Antarctica, South Korea
What travel means to me: Traveling teaches us to expand our minds and appreciate the natural environment and the world cultures. During my travels, I’m always looking for things that connect us with other cultures, as I pay special attention to local people and their creations - I enjoy exploring each destination’s folklore, tales and legends, customs, music and dance. And of course, I love photographing every minute detail of what I see! Yet what transcends my surface excitement of experiencing a new destination is always the careful study of the places I see, seeing them from the perspective of our guests and figuring out how we can fit this thing or that thing into an already full itinerary. It’s always a challenge!
Sights and Soul Travels' Team
Passion has always been at the core of our business adventure. Our expert team combines an appreciation for travel with an insider’s knowledge of destinations and experiences and we love to share the best of the world with you. How do we help you have better trips? By practicing what we preach. Yolanta has traveled to 9 countries this year, and the rest of our staff is crazy about travel as well (having collectively traveled to 10 countries this year).
APRIL LI, Tour Coordinator
Latest journey: New Zealand
Favorite destination: Iceland
Bucket list trips: Croatia, Australia, Morocco
What travel means to me: To peek into the lens of other realities around the world continuously reminds me of the beauty we are surrounded by, the never-ending lessons we can learn from, and that the act of love and kindness can take us places. I joined Sights and Soul Travels to play a role in making the experience of a journey possible for others, so that they too, may find beauty that blossoms around the world.
EMILY KAYOKO WALCH, Tour Manager
Areas of expertise: France, the Netherlands, England, Ireland, Italy, South America, East Asia, South Africa
Favorite destinations: Japan and Rome!
Bucket list trips: New Zealand, Iceland, Morocco
What travel means to me: Realizing that no matter where you’re from or where you’re going, there is so much more that unites us than divides us. Working for Sights and Soul has given me the opportunity to connect amazing people with fantastic places - there’s no better satisfaction than putting together a tour and then having someone tell you “that was the best trip of my life.”
NICKI GIBBONS, Tour Manager
Areas of expertise: Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, Greece, Spain, Portugal, North Africa
Favorite destination: Greece
Bucket list trips: Portugal, Brazil and India
What travel means to me: Working with Sights and Soul Travels has taught me so much about so many countries in such a friendly manner, that I could not have had the opportunity to acquire this knowledge anywhere else; from the very beginning it has been a pleasure assisting in the construction of these fantastic experiences for others all over the world. I find it fascinating to discover the history, culture and food native to each destination, and it is my never ending curiosity that keeps me traveling to new places every year.
SARAH SCHWAB, Tour Manager
Areas of expertise: Norway, UK, Italy, Ecuador, New Zealand, Australia and Iceland
Favorite destination: Israel
Bucket list trips: Democratic Republic of Congo
What travel means to me: Working at Sights and Soul Travels, we have the opportunity to empower women to travel, encourage them to be adventurous, see new places, experience new cultures, and try new things. When we travel, it opens our eyes in new ways, allows us to be someone new, and creates memories that live in our hearts forever. My favorite moment when visiting somewhere new, is taking that first step outside the doors of the airport. The first time you breathe the air, feel the breeze, take in the smells and noises all around you, and begin your journey in a new and exciting place is the absolute best!
Sights and Soul Travels' Tour Directors
Tour Directors' Meeting in Cancun, Mexico, November 2017
In addition to local guides, who share with the group their in-depth knowledge about the place where each tour takes us, each Sights and Soul Travels’ tour is accompanied by a Tour Director. These incredible women are there to assure that all the logistics during the tour run smoothly, they take care of all the details, and assure that everyone is enjoying the experience. Our Tour Directors are from the US, France, Poland, Germany, Iceland and Italy, speak several languages, are trained in first aid, and many of them have been working with Sights and Soul Travels for many years, so they treat the women who travel with us as extended family. Our Tour Directors are the one feature that makes our journeys uniquely special. Chosen for their charisma, expertise and affability, these women are the secret ingredient that turns a fine tour into an unforgettable experience. Their enthusiasm is contagious, their guidance consistently brings depth, excitement and substance to all the women who join them on our tours. We're proud to introduce you to our stars:
SIGHTS AND SOUL TRAVELS' TOUR DIRECTORS