Travelling solo takes bravery, belief, and plenty of self-reliance. So, it might come as a surprise that increasingly, more and more people – women in particular – are choosing it as their preferred way to see the world. To find out more about these boundary-breaking solo female travellers, we partnered with Journey Woman to conduct a survey on their movements and motivations. And, now the results are in, we can reveal that not only are women leading the way, they’re doing it with an ever-increasing appetite for adventure.
Female travellers are doing it for themselves
In general, solo travel is gaining in popularity across the board. Google trend data shows that searches for ‘solo travel’ have risen by 761 percent in the last two years. After a pandemic, we couldn’t put our travel dreams on hold any longer to wait on others’ schedules. So, embracing our independence, we took the leap and decided to go where we want, when we want.
What’s really interesting about this rising solo travel trend is that it’s mostly women who are taking the leap (85%). This marks a stark change in attitude over the last 30 years, as shown by the Journey Woman’s About us page, for starters:
‘In 1994, the late Evelyn Hannon – the Original JourneyWoman – started writing about solo travel, bringing it into the mainstream at a time when many women did not travel alone, when men controlled the travel narrative.’
It’s inspiring to see how much times have changed, and for the better. It is now predominantly women who are exploring the world alone – and it’s not just the younger generations that are pushing the boundaries, either. While gap-year-taking millennials make up are large portion of the female solo traveller demographic, it was great to see older female travellers represented in this survey, too. Over 87% of respondents were over 55, showing that they too are taking the adventurous leap into travelling solo.
RELATED CONTENT: 5 reasons to travel solo, told by Trafalgar guests
Not only are many older female travellers looking to strike out solo, but they are seeking out more adventurous, life-affirming experiences while they do so. 50% of those surveyed said that, post-COVID, they now really want to experience a ‘bucket list’ destination. From taking in Tuscan hilltop towns in Italy, to exploring glaciers and volcanoes in Iceland – now is the time to make those travel dreams a reality.
As well as bucket-list trips, 44% of those surveyed said that they are looking for ‘once in a lifetime’ experiences, like seeing the Northern Lights, while 28% stated that ‘adventure’ (challenging oneself and overcoming fears) is the primary reason they travel. There’s no doubt that there’s an increase in appetite for adventure among solo female travellers, despite the perceived risks.
The bold and the brave
While we now know that women are doing the most solo travelling, it’s not without care and consideration. This article from the Telegraph puts forward specialist research that finds ‘the solo holidaymaker’s biggest fears are eating alone, staying safe, and not having company for sightseeing.’ So, not only are women making up the bulk of the numbers for the solo travel sector, but they’re doing so despite the hurdles that inarguably affect them more than men.
There are aspects to travelling alone as a woman that men have less of a statistical basis to be concerned with. So, how do they overcome those concerns or hesitations? It seems that at least part of the answer is knowing who to trust. One of the Journey Woman survey questions asked ‘When you are making (travel) decisions, who are you most likely to listen to and trust for accurate information?’. An overwhelming 73.35% answered ‘Other women who travel (such as travel groups)’.
RELATED CONTENT: Solo traveller, Joanne, on why travelling solo as a woman doesn’t have to be scary
Why Trafalgar’s female-only tours are perfect for female solo travellers
Thanks to the results of the latest Journey Woman survey, we’ve learnt a lot about the budding solo female traveller. She wants to set out on a thrilling adventure, but is faced with safety concerns and the need for some form of companionship. When it comes to recommendations and advice, she puts her faith in the community of fellow female travellers.
We believe our women-only tours hold the perfect answer to these needs. Our tours connect you with other like-minded women who share the same passion for travel and adventure.
You’ll journey through new lands, exploring iconic sights, sharing meals and stories in the company of new friends and companions. Not only will you feel safe in a group of your peers, many of whom will be solo travelling themselves, but you’ll also enjoy the security of having a knowledgeable Travel Director with your throughout your trip. For anything else, you’ll have a dedicated 24/7 support team on-hand if you ever need them. You get all the independence and adventure of a solo trip, with all the comfort, company and companionship of travelling in a group.
One last stat from the Journey Woman survey: 42.84% of those women surveyed said that they felt ‘the travel industry ignores solo or older female travellers’ – we’re determined to change that.
Inspired by those fearless female solo travellers out there? Browse through Trafalgar’s women-only tours.
Thinking about your first solo travel experience? Tell us where you’d like to go in the comments…