By Claudia Gualdi, Baya Faure and Catherine Soltero
How solo travel empowers women
Travel can be one of the most empowering experiences for a woman. The sense of freedom and fearless independence has led a growing number of women to travel alone, constituting a driving force for the expansion of the global travel and tourism industries.
73 percent of travel agents say that women are more likely to travel alone than men, and women’s overall travel expenses are higher, especially between 25-39 years of age. Female solo travel also engages a massive audience on the internet, via backpacker’s travel journeys vlogs on YouTube, social media posts and blogs.
According to data, eight percent of millennials purchase a product or service after reading about it on a blog, especially within the 18-34 age range, making blogs one of the primary decision-making factors for booking a trip.
However, when it comes to women travelling alone for business purposes, as in other sectors, the gender discrepancy is apparent. In fact, only about one percent of women travelling for business purposes actually own a business, while 15 percent of male business travellers are also business owners.
How safe is it to travel as a woman in 2023?
Most of Western Europe and the Caribbean are considered some of the safest regions for solo female travellers. Whether they are experienced or booking their very first trip, women will find that destinations like Spain, Singapore, Ireland, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Portugal, Croatia, Canada, Anguilla, St Kitts and Nevis and Poland are, among others, very female solo travel-friendly. Outside these regions, yet still generally considered safe, are China and New Zealand, known for their accessibility and low crime levels.
While travel modernises and becomes more accessible for women around the world, there are still destinations with higher than average rates of sexual harassment and gender discrimination, where extra precautions and a further level of consideration before booking a trip are recommended to female solo travellers.
Travel to South Africa, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, India, Mexico, Morocco, and Türkiye, among other countries, certainly requires caution against going alone. As such, there are fewer chances to explore and take advantage of one’s destination.
Despite safety concerns, travelling to these countries also enables one to discover diverse cultures and social customs, in addition to unique landscapes and historical heritage. With the right precautions, it can be done. Solo female travellers who are set on journeying to one of these countries should not be completely deterred from making the trip but should make proper arrangements corresponding to the security situation specific to their destination, and also take into account their personal comfort levels when it comes to foreign cultures and customs.
Riskline’s 5 travel tips for female solo travel
1. Plan ahead
Taking some time prior to departure to research local customs and norms is not only interesting but important. The internet, as well as libraries, provide plenty of useful guides and sources for travellers to consult. Being aware can save you time and stress once you arrive at your destination.
Before departing, be sure to have all papers and travel documents in order, including visas and travel insurance. Be prepared but also allow for flexibility to be adventurous and spontaneous. Trust your gut and expect to have to adjust to the unexpected.
2. Be open-minded
Respecting the diversity you encounter while travelling is essential, particularly in countries where local traditions might differ greatly from those in your home country. If you identify in advance what makes you feel unsafe, you will know better how to assimilate. You will also find it easier to avoid dressing against local customs and displaying certain attitudes in public places that may be against the norm.
3. Don’t overshare
One of the positive aspects of travelling is that it enables one to connect with strangers and feel part of the same journey; however, always exercise caution when moving around alone, especially after sunset.
Do not overshare details about your family, financial or personal circumstances. Use private and traceable means of transport, when available. Be ready to face linguistic gaps, either by using a translator app or by learning some basics of the local language.
4. Network with other solo travellers
If you experience feelings of isolation while travelling alone, remember that you are not alone. Networking with other solo travellers is a quick and easy way to connect in the Internet era. Book hostels which offer all-female accommodations and consider participating in group excursions and experiences as part of your travel plans.
5. Trust technology to simplify your journey
Technology has been increasingly incorporated into tourism and travel products. There is a multitude of travel-related apps that you can rely on. Here are our best picks:
- Translators: Google Translate, DeepL
- Offline maps: Google Maps
- Networking and meeting: Tourlina, HeyVina
- Toilet finder: Flush
- Safety apps: Bsafe App