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 5 full time employees who cooperate with several off-site partners and Tour Directors.
The story of Sights and Soul Travels
It’s been amazing! We have no other words to describe the past eighteen 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 is this dream team, who puts together our tours and sets the stage for our tour directors, which allows us to provide awesome experiences to more and more women. We are both very proud and very thankful. Today, Sights and Soul Travels runs close to 60 tours a year, we have welcomed more than 8,000 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 travel dreams.
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. And as we meet 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 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 curates 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: Mexico
Favorite destination: South Africa
Bucket list trips: South Korea, Mongolia, Namibia
What travel means to me: In 2004, Sights and Soul Travels, a tour company geared solely for women, 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 aim to 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.
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).
TAYLOR CARTWRIGHT, Tour Coordinator
Latest journey: Colombia
Favorite destination: Ecuador
Bucket list trips: Greece, Croatia, Iceland
What travel means to me: I joined Sights and Soul Travels to be able to help create memorable experiences for women who take our tours across the world. Working here has given me a chance to learn and to embrace different cultures, landscapes and increase my awareness of the world we live in. I am constantly reminded of both the beauty and the complexities we are surrounded by. I love playing a part in empowering women to travel and create memories from some of the amazing experiences that the world has to offer.
MYIAH SEYMOUR, Operations Manager
Areas of expertise: Greece, Portugal, United Kingdom, Croatia, Ireland
Favorite destination: Costa Rica
Bucket list trips: Iceland, South Africa, Thailand
What travel means to me: Travel means the ability to bring joy and many happy memories for the years to come, and the happiest memories in my life come from the travels I have done. 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. I joined this team to be a part of the process, where we create travel memories that last a lifetime and construct these fantastic experiences for other women. 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.
KAITLYN HOWLAND, Tour Manager
Areas of expertise: Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, Iceland
Favorite destination: Italy
Bucket list trips: Japan, Ireland, Norway
What travel means to me: A baseline of travel is expanding our knowledge and understanding of others, through our cultures, our histories, and our meaningful connections. In a world where the pandemic has created a disconnect, travel is an opportunity to begin mending and rebuilding those connections, while introducing new passions and experiences. As a Tour Manager, I’m given the opportunity to introduce women to the world and it’s unknown, to expand their understanding and empathy of others, and to allow once-in-a-lifetime events that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
MELISSA SHORE, Tour Manager
Areas of expertise: Scotland, Ireland, Eastern Europe, Spain
Favorite destination: England
Bucket list trips: Greece, Spain, Sicily
What travel means to me: Travel to me means the wonderment of new places. I love the name “Sights and Soul” because it truly embodies the culmination of what our tours set out to do. With S&S, you can explore different parts of the world and have experiences that most people wait their whole lives for. I have done some traveling, and I look forward to visiting more places in the future. What I find to be the biggest takeaway from exploring a new place has not just been the incredible sights and experiences, but rather the small windows into worlds entirely different from my own that I am allowed to peer through. I feel that it is a privilege working for S&S, as it allows me to help our tour guests find their own adventures and see new worlds.
KASIA SLABOSZ, Web and Graphic Designer
Kasia 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. But it was her background in ethnography and world cultures that inspired her to share her passion for travel with other women.
Latest journey: The Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia), Bali (Indonesia), Portugal, Switzerland
Favorite destination: Peru
Bucket list trips: London, Venice, Paris
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, paying 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' 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