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As you can understand from my articles and posts on social media I do most of my trips with my kids. But last week, thanks to a platform I recently discovered I had the opportunity to FINALLY travel all alone. And it was so brilliant that I have to tell you about it (I also got you a discount so it’s worth reading until the end 🙂)! 

You already know that traveling with a local allows you to discover all the best places, especially in a city. It’s simply the ultimate way to discover the best restaurants and avoid tourist traps. That is exactly the experience I had on my trip to La Rochelle as I decided to use La Voyageuse, a travel platform where women host other women in their homes. I had an amazing host that helped me plan my trip and recommended many of the places I’m going to write about in the next few articles about La Rochelle and the surrounding islands. You can read about my personal experience using this platform at the end of the article.

So what is la Voyageuse?

La Voyageuse is a Bordeaux based start-up that connects female solo travelers to female hostesses. The hostesses are volunteers offering free accommodation in their house (could be a sofa or a room) simply out of their love of hosting and the desire to help other women on their solo traveling journey. The idea behind this startup is to provide female solo travelers a safe way to travel. The startup was founded last year and has been getting attention from the traveling industry (and even won some important prizes). 

hosts on La voyageuse platform
Almost 1400 hosts on their platform

A few weeks before we all went into lockdown I was contacted by Christina Boixière, the founder of La Voyageuse. Christina thought, rightly so, that many of my female readers are quite adventurous and enjoy discovering special places through the eyes of a local. Also, a lot of my readers travel alone, so providing a safer travel option is a great value I can give you gals. I must admit that this idea really resonated with my personal experience. In my early 20s, I used to solo travel quite a lot and I remember the hesitations and insecurity I felt when arriving alone at a hostel in a new city. Also, I feel that when you travel to a new place for just a few days you rarely have the opportunity to exchange with locals in the region. So this platform gives women a unique opportunity to travel safely and interact with local women who are very welcoming in their nature. 

How can you start using la Voyageuse

If you want to start using the platform as a traveler you need to purchase an annual pass for 119€ and you will have unlimited and free access to all the accommodations offered by the network of trusted female hostesses. The fee is used to finance the platform and

the verification process carried out by a dedicated team, to carefully review and validate all members. To support moms, this platform givers you the option to travel with one child under 12 yo. Currently, it’s being used by 2100 verified members of all ages, because let’s admit it, who doesn’t need a vacation after this long confinement period?

Now listen to the best news!!! I managed to get from Christina the founder of the company a special discount just for my readers and followers. So when you purchase it with my coupon code you get a 20€ discount!!! Awesome, right?! 

That’s how you purchase the pass:  You just go to the purchase page on their website and use my coupon code LOSTINBORDEAUX to get your discount. You can also buy it as a gift to someone else and get the same discount with my code. 

An advice from me – If you’re already planning your trip check the map of the hosts before purchasing just to make sure there are any ladies hosting in your destination. You don’t need a pass to be able to see all the hosts on the platform, you just have to open an account on the platform. Once you see that there are hosts in your destination, go ahead and purchase the pass. 

My personal experience with la Voyageuse

While I thought the idea was brilliant right away, I told Christina that I had to test La Voyageuse myself before writing about it on Lost in Bordeaux. That’s what I always do, I write only from my personal experience. So when we could finally go back to traveling in France again I decided that after three months with my kids at home this is the perfect time for a solo getaway (or mom vacation in my case 🙂 ). 

Oysters and wine in La rochelle market
Oysters and wine in 11am is the real mom-vacation 🙂

I’ve been planning a solo trip to La Rochelle for a while now and luckily there were several hosts in La Rochelle registered on the platform. I ended up contacting Sylvia – a Polish expat who has been living there for more than a decade. 

To be honest I didn’t know what to expect. I knew that I was going to someone else’s house and invade their life in a way so I wasn’t sure how comfortable I would feel. But all of that disappeared the minute I met Sylvia at the entrance to her warm and lovely house in La Rochelle. She made me feel at home the minute I stepped in, offering dinner and wine and plenty of funny stories about their family life in the region. She then asked me what my plans are for the rest of my trip and without hesitation brought all of her guide books and maps, giving me the most elaborated explanation of what to do and see in the region. I loved that it was advice coming from a local who actually tried all these experiences so you could feel when she was really excited about a place or when it was something not really worth your time. 

A voyageuse host preparing dinner
A homemade dinner and wine – perfect after a long day in La Rochelle

Then came the best part! At some point when I was trying to decide what to do the next day she said “let’s just go to Île de Ré now and you’ll see how amazing it is” – and just like that we spent an amazing evening discovering Île de Ré. 

During my days there, she texted me to see if I’m doing ok and it felt so nice that someone I just met thinks about my well being. There’s just no way I could have had such an amazing experience if I would’ve stayed in a hotel or even a standard Airbnb. A hotel has its benefits of course, but when you travel alone as a woman, feeling safe and welcomed by a verified local woman really upgrades your traveling experience. 

I do want to make it clear, that if you’re looking for an Airbnb kind of experience, this is not it. La Voyageuse focuses on the interaction between traveling and local women rather than just a way to find accommodation. You need to have that in mind when planning your trip. There’s a chance that there won’t be an available host at a specific town you’re going to or that they won’t be able to host you for more than two-three nights. So just be ready for that and try to contact the host as soon as possible. 

An evening stroll in Ile de Re
An evening stroll in Ile de Ré

So just to sum-up, why do I think this is a fantastic way for women to travel? Mostly because it’s a great opportunity to meet interesting women in France and other places where the platform is active. Not less important, it’s the safest way for female solo travelers to travel, and finally, it’s just way cheaper than staying in hotels. An annual pass that provides you unlimited accommodation will cost you less than two nights in a hotel in France.  

I know that this article was mostly for women, but if you’re a man and you got to this point just know that you can buy the pass as a gift to your girlfriend, wife, sister, or mom. I promise you all of them would love to do a bit of solo traveling right now 🙂 So go ahead and check out their platform to see all the amazing locations you can find a host at and don’t forget to use the LOSTINBORDEUX code when purchasing to get your 20€ discount.

Note: This article contains an affiliate link, meaning that if you buy a pass using my promo code I receive a small commission. So you get the 20€ discount, I get paid, and you will be supporting the work I do at Lost in Bordeaux. So thank you 🙂

You can also get plenty of tips on things to do in the Southwest of France via lost in Bordeaux’s social media accounts and email list, check them out here:

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