As years fly by, friendships often dwindle. That’s why Sue Barenholtz of Phoenix started creating businesses 10 years ago to help women make new friends.

A group of women on the inaugural Boomer Women Travel trip to Italy, held in 2012, pick grapes at a vineyard in Tuscany (photo courtesy of Sue Barenholtz).

Along the way, she noticed two poignant facts: a lot of women want to travel but don’t; and women who travel together forge the strongest friendships. That’s what spurred her newest venture, Boomer Women Travel.

“Many women love to travel but they never have anyone to go with or they hate the idea of planning a trip,” said Barenholtz, whose travel club designs and plans “girlfriend trips of a lifetime” for small groups.

“If you’re coming by yourself, you can room alone or we can help match you with a roommate,” she said. “By the first night, you’ll have a room full of new girlfriends, and before you know it, you’ll be laughing and sharing stories about lifelong travel memories.”

Barenholtz focuses on catering to women over 40. She emphasizes sisterhood with lots of activities geared towards women’s interests, making friends worldwide, and meeting up with sister charities in other countries.

The club’s next trip is to Italy in May; the $300 deposit is due by Feb. 15. Barenholtz will guide the group along the Amalfi Coast, take them on a daylong culinary cooking tour, a private cruise to the isle of Capri, and a tour of Pompeii.

Women do not have to be members to travel with the club. Benefits of membership, which is $35 a year, include a $50 discount on each trip, advance trip notification, discounts on travel wear, and other discounts featured on the club website. For more information, visit or contact Barenholtz at 602-677-1953 or e-mail her at

With an internationally recognized culture, Mexico remains one of the strongest and most enticing tourist destinations for Americans. Just ask North Central resident Virginia Ramos Foster, Ph.D., who is leading her annual Spanish Study Program in Cuernavaca, Mexico this summer.

It is the 30th anniversary of the program, which takes place June 15-30 and is open to all students and members of the Phoenix Metro community. Students study at the Universidad Internacional Center of Multicultural Studies, where they are totally immersed in the study of Spanish language and culture. Students are not only taught by Mexican university professors, they also live with pre-screened Mexican families in a safe community.

Other classes include music, art, dance and literature.

Families with children are welcome on the trip, which also attracts Phoenix-area business people, doctors, educators and other professionals each year.

Students fly on their own to Mexico City and then take a bus to Cuernavaca. Costs vary. For more information, contact Foster at or 602-549-4327.


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