Women still love to travel solo

Me, watching the sunrise on banks of Ganga near Aurovalley Ashram, India

Me and sunrise on banks of the Ganga (Ganges) River in North India

Despite negative media attention, new survey shows women still travelling solo

The WeGoSolo / Hostelbookers survey about female solo travel revealed that while women travellers balance their desire for freedom and adventure with a healthy sense of caution, they still love to go it alone.

In June, WeGoSolo — the online movement for female solo travellers that I founded in February of this year — launched a contest with Hostelbookers called Your Solo Dream Destination. To enter the contest, participants had to fill out a survey and leave a comment on this blog, stating their dream solo destination. Altogether, 157 people left comments and to pick a winner, I asked Twitter for a number. WeGoSolo regular Andrea Rees chose 63, so I counted down 63 comments and picked the winner: Jayme Job said she wanted to go to Tokyo, Japan. Good choice, as I have actually lived in Tokyo and know it to be an exciting city.

So congratulations to Jayme and thank you to everyone who entered and who took the time to full out the survey. For survey results and a neat infographic, read on.

Egypt, pyramids, contest winner

Dream Destination contest winner Jayme Job.

WeGoSolo and Hostelbookers announce contest winners and survey results

The survey results revealed that women travellers balance their desire for freedom and adventure with a healthy sense of caution.

  • Female solo travellers have a great sense of adventure. Many of them (65%) have travelled to another continent; and many (54%) have travelled alone for a month or more. Their number one take-away from travelling alone is a feeling of freedom. Number two is a sense of adventure. Number three is self-knowledge.
  • Female solo travellers are practical and cautious. Many have actually changed their behaviour, with safety in mind. They do things like deliberately project more confidence (54%), limit alcohol intake (46%), go home earlier at night (37%) and dress more conservatively (29%).
  • The respondents were about evenly divided on whether they let media reports about women coming to harm while travelling influence their decision to travel alone: 53% said no, and 47% said yes.

India is indeed a special destination

One of the most interesting results of the survey to me was that India appears on both the list of top dream solo destinations AND on the list of places where women are nervous to travel alone. This concurs with my feelings about India, that it is a challenging destination, but one that most adventurous travellers want to tackle, at least once in their lives. People who have travellers’ souls seem to instinctively understand that travel in India is magical; that it will be life-changing; and they they will never see the world or themselves in quite the same way again. You have to be ready for this.

WeGoSolo / Hostelbookers survey infographic

Thanks to Amanda of A Dangerous Business for creating a fun infographic that summarizes the survey findings. And thanks again to Hostelbookers for sponsoring and organizing this very worthwhile survey. As you can see from the infographic below, hostels are the favoured accommodation choice for female solo travellers — see  this page on Hostelbookers for high-design hostels and hotels!

WeGoSolo Female solo travellers infographic

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6 Responses to Women still love to travel solo

  1. Phyllis Rosenstein Stoller July 10, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

    Good information for those who want solo. As a tour operator for women’s trips, we also see many women signing up individually for tours, especially when the destination is far afield or has a lot of flights and moving around. There are several other considertaions when one does choose to travel alone: one is the undercurrent of angst about valuables and passport, another is eating alone and not always wanting to, and a third is getting great photos of oneself ( as silly as that sounds). Touring with a group is an alternative especially as you have only the obligation to be pleasant on the tour. Thanks for writing about ths subject.

  2. Kirsty Stuart July 11, 2013 at 4:16 am #

    This is really interesting. It’s funny how India appears on the top five list of places women want to travel to alone…and then again within the top list of places they DON’T want to travel to alone! This surely sums up our dilemma as women who to love travel – we DO want to go it alone and explore new pastures but safety fears and the like often cause us to doubt our decisions.

    Great post and I LOVE THIS blog – keep up the great work!
    Kirsty Stuart recently posted..How to Make Money Writing for Travel BlogsMy Profile

  3. Jerry July 11, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    Hi Mariellen,

    I appreciate the efforts you have taken to develop this website and the WeGoSolo campaign. I have seen India being termed as unsuitable for solo female travellers in many intenational forums but thanks to you now I have a great website to direct them to which may prove that after all india is not that bad ;-).


    Jerry recently posted..Darjeeling: A fresh Cup of Tea.My Profile

  4. Shalu Sharma July 14, 2013 at 7:31 am #

    WeGoSolo is a good venture. I use it when I have written something about safety concerns and find something interesting to share. Women do want to travel solo but as you say, safety is their biggest concern.
    Shalu Sharma recently posted..The calm blue vastness of Tarkarli BeachMy Profile

  5. SuzieD July 16, 2013 at 7:51 am #

    I think the important thing for a solo traveller is not where u go, but what options are available.

    I *really* recommend going on a trip with Exodus or Explore or one of those adventure companies. They are excellent and a great way to meet other people.

    However, I have also gone *full-solo*, so to speak. If u decide to do that my main tips would be…

    1. Stay in hostels, they are THE BEST place to meet other travelers.

    2. If there are no hostels, go on 1 or 2 day activity outings, e.g. diving, climbing, canyoning, etc. They are another great way to meet people.

    3. Carry your smartphone with you and join websites like Wandermates.com or AirBnB to help meet other people (like me http://www.wandermates.com/profileview.php?profileuserid=6 🙂 None of them are perfect, but they are useful.

    4. Go on a backpacker-type bus tour. They are brilliant also and a great way to hook w guys:)

  6. kebhari July 31, 2013 at 5:50 am #

    This is really interesting. It’s funny how India appears on the top five list of places women want to travel to alone…

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