Who Travel The World? Girls.
Jul 20, 2018 - 6 min read
As time goes on, consumer behaviors change, and the travel industry is no exception. Sometimes the “new trends” can really set you up for a bit of shock. Two major trends on the rise include a.) more female travelers, and b.) more solo travelers and a combination of the two? That’s right, more female solo travelers!
This might come as a surprise, as female solo traveling has always had negative connotations. Surely it’s dangerous for a woman to travel alone? Doesn’t she have a friend, family member, boyfriend, spouse, anyone to travel with? Besides, wouldn’t you want someone to experience these amazing things and places with you? It just seems so, lonely.
It seems that these common misconceptions are being debunked, and the advantages of traveling solo far outweigh the risks. More women are opting to travel alone than let’s say 10 years ago. This is something that travel industry professionals should take note of. In fact, regardless of who they travel with, who pays for the trip or where they go, 80% of all travel decisions are made by women. Even more surprising, women are MORE LIKELY to travel solo than men!
This means, the travel experience really ought to meet the needs of women more. So what is it that women want? Why is female solo traveling so appealing? Well, once you start thinking about it, it really doesn’t seem surprising at all. Many of us have encountered the roadblocks of trying to plan a group trip. You want to plan a trip, then you realize that nobody in your circle of friends has the time to go with you (because of work, family, finances or whatever situation). At some point you realize, if you don’t do it alone, you may never do it at all.
Even in the off chance that you manage to find one or more people to join you on your trip, at this point the situation becomes complicated in a different way. Now, every decision needs to be agreed upon by the group. You might like extreme sports or hiking in the mountains, while someone else in the group has knee problems or asthma and can’t climb up high altitudes. Clearly, you would have to forgo your wishes in order to reach some kind of compromise. They sacrifice a bit from what they would do, you sacrifice a bit from what you would do, and the whole ordeal of planning an itinerary that keeps everyone happy can be so stressful.
Aside from the clear advantages of being able to control your itinerary according to the experiences you want to have, and planning your budget according to your means, solo traveling gives you a whole new level of flexibility. You can make and change decisions during your trip without throwing the entire itinerary off for everyone else. Yet another unexpected twist to female solo traveling is the fact that it is a great confidence booster! Who would have thought that traveling alone would help women to feel more confident, outgoing and adventurous?
Here are the statistics according to Solo Travel Society to help summarize:
- 46% of women said they like to travel solo because of the freedom they have, the level of independence and the opportunity to do whatever they want whenever they want.
- 22% of women said they weren't willing to wait around for others to become available to travel with them.
- 15% of women said they travel solo in order to challenge themselves and gain confidence.
So whether it’s for flexibility, having more free time, being single or wanting to go mountain climbing, solo traveling is becoming more popular than ever before. OK. Now that we’ve gotten over the initial shock and have established the numbers, let’s talk about what women look for when traveling. Of course, there are some general conditions like the weather, costs, their own schedules and a personal activity (again be that hiking, food exploration, culture, retreat or a combination of this and more), but aside from that, the following should be taken into account:
Studies have shown for example, that when traveling for leisure, women tend to prefer finding lodging at Airbnb. The reasoning? Airbnb is all about freedom, flexibility and independence. Hosts are verified, and some people prefer being able to meet them so that they can get advice from locals and learn about the local culture, lifestyle, and really experience the place like you’re living there. That’s something that travelers all crave nowadays. And let’s not ignore the obvious, it’s a lot easier to find an affordable option with Airbnb than with hotels.
One of the biggest concerns for female solo travelers is, of course, safety. Experienced female travelers will tell you that they feel just as safe abroad as they would at home. The issue is being aware and smart about it. Travelers are advised to be aware of their surroundings, avoid shady areas or walking alone late at night, keep money concealed and safe, plan carefully and use your common sense. Plan for problems before they arise and decide how to manage those problems ahead of time. Doing a bit of research in advance really goes a long way, know if there is a certain dress code to stick to, check with government websites to see the safety ratings etc.
Another concern for solo travelers is, interestingly enough, eating alone. Luckily the travel industry has been ready to offer a number of great solutions. Some agencies offer to book a meal in the home of a local, some offer dinner cruises, others dinner shows, or even lessons where you can learn how to prepare a local meal and eating it with your fellow classmates. Once again, this not only takes away from the fear of being alone but gives a great opportunity to mingle with locals and other travelers alike and really get an authentic experience out of your travels.
There are many female solo traveler resources available online, from statistics to safety tips, to different forums where women share their stories and experiences and exchange valuable pieces of advice. 360Stories also provides a platform for travelers, male and female alike, to share their experiences and stories with anyone who is interested to learn. For the most part, there is a resounding group of women who say that the myths are wrong, they didn’t get kidnapped, they didn’t feel lonely, and they had a wonderful and enriching experience overall. Many claimed they really enjoy traveling alone more!