Last updated on January 25th, 2023
Featured image: What are women looking for in solo travel? Here are the latest trends | Photo by halfpoint on Envato
The Latest Female Solo Travel Statistics and Data
As the world’s original publication for solo female travel established in 1994, we regularly execute and publish solo travel studies and provide data to help provide a better understanding of the needs of female solo travelers. We also review third-party research and share data that we believe is credible and authoritative, noting that JourneyWoman CEO Carolyn Ray has an extensive background in data analytics from her 25+ years in professional services at firms such as Interbrand). Not all data published on the Internet meets our standards.
This information serves both our global readership but also our network of women-friendly tour operators in our Women’s Travel Directory, which is the largest resource for women’s tours in the world, connecting solo women to safe, affordable travel experiences, from tours to retreats.
Solo Travel Surveys and Information
2022: In 2022, we published a pulse study in partnership with the Tour Operators in our Women’s Travel Directory to evaluate changes in booking trends, destinations and barriers to travel. This study revealed that solo women travellers over 55 drove 77% of all bookings in 2022.
In December 2022, we published “The Influence and Affluence of Solo Women 50+ in Travel”, which looks at the influence of Women Over 50 (Baby Boomers and GenX) in the solo travel market, based on over 1,000 respondents.
2021: In 2021, we published five studies on topics including Solo Safety, Budget Travel, Once-in-a-Lifetime Travel, and Solo Travel Trends. Throughout the pandemic, we surveyed our 60,000+ readers on travel readiness, intended destinations, issues and challenges to guide our editorial and work with our partners in travel. All of these studies are publicly available on our Media page.
2020: In August 2020, we published our landmark “Embracing the Unknown: The Risk and Reward of Travel” survey, which invited over 1,500 solo travelers age 50+ to share their views on post-pandemic travel, trust in the travel industry and travel preferences.
Women as Influencers in Travel
- Women make 80 to 85 percent of travel decisions and comprise two-thirds of all travellers. Our impact is significant – and it goes well beyond our role as travel consumers.
- According to the most recent Global Report on Women in Tourism, published by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in November 2019, 54 per cent of people employed globally in tourism are women.
- Tourism also affects the lives of women living in tourism destinations, empowering women as we work toward gender equality. Tourism contributes to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal Number 5: “To achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.”
- Pre-pandemic, tourism was one of the fastest-growing and most important economic sectors in the world, benefitting destinations and communities worldwide, representing an estimated 10 per cent of the world’s GDP and 1 in 10 jobs globally.
Who Solo Women Trust
- When it comes to sources of information, women place their trust in medical professionals, public healthcare authorities and healthcare organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO). Canadians were found to be more trusting of government while Americans are more likely to trust social media.
- Most respondents believe that travel-related businesses have not done a good job of managing reputation during COVID-19. When asked who has done a poor, acceptable or good job managing reputation, only hotels ranked as net positive. Airlines and insurance companies were seen to have done a poor job overall.
- Handling of COVID-19 by states/ provinces are viewed as neutral for Canadians but are considerably negative for Americans.
- Download the full PDF here.
Our global study validates the importance of women 50+ in travel
Our 2022 global study, “The Influence and Affluence of Solo Women 50+ in Travel”, demonstrates the vital role of women over 50 in travel. Over 1,000 experienced female travellers, 87% over age 55, participated in the global study. Of these, 96% make travel decisions in their household. Fueled by a desire to explore new, less-travelled destinations, women over 50 are actively planning travel in 2023, with the UK, Europe and Scandinavia at the top of their bucket list.
Women over 50 are not ‘old’, but experienced. Not sedentary but adventurous. Not dependent but independent. Not alone but powerful. Not behind the industry, but ahead of it. These are women who challenge convention, follow their own path and wait for the rest of the world to catch up.
Women’s Solo Travel Post-Pandemic Trends
Future Travel Plans
Solo travelers plan to:
- Go somewhere completely new
- Travel for longer periods of time
- Seek out places that need tourism dollars
- Look for eco-friendly accommodations
- Choose ethical animal experiences
- Travel with a group or tour
- Allocate more disposable income to travel
- Embrace Indigenous travel experiences
Solo Travel Safety Statistics
JourneyWoman Solo Travel Safety Study (April 2021)
- 12% of women have been physically attacked or threatened while travelling. Of these, 38% were able to defend themselves; 16% had help from another person and 13% were not able to defend themselves;
- 88% of women say they were somewhat threatened or felt unsafe while travelling;
- 97% do not feel they have the physical skills to defend themselves; and many more raised concerns about feeling increasingly vulnerable due to their age or mobility
- Most women fear being attacked on a street at night, on a street in the daytime, while in transit (airplane, taxi, train, bus), or at a hotel.
Solo Travel Accommodations
Where do Solo Women Feel Safe (April 2021)
- Solo women prefer to stay with friends and family, small boutiques, Bed and Breakfasts, where travelers have greater control over their environment. Interestingly, Canadians are more negative towards large hotels versus Americans.
- Large cruises did not perform well, with the vast majority (82%) not considering cruises. Forty per cent said they will not stay at large resorts.
- 65% of solo women prefer a small boutique hotel
- 37% prefer a homestay (eg Airbnb, VRBO)
Preferred Destinations for Solo Women
Where do Solo Women Feel Safe
The UN reports that since the outbreak of COVID-19, all types of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, has intensified. BBC reports that ‘Covid hate crimes’ against Asian Americans are on the rise.
In our survey, most women agreed that safety is more about a mindset, and less about the destination. Recognizing that safety is subjective, women did recommend the countries below as more or less ‘safe’, based on their own personal experience. (April 2021)
- “Safer” destinations include: The United Kingdom and Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, Iceland, Netherlands.
- “Less” safe destinations include: India, Mexico, Morocco, Egypt, Turkey
- Download the PDF here
- The Northern Lights
- The Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage Route
- The Canadian Rockies
- Safari in Africa
- Antarctic Expedition
- Machu Picchu
Jane Christmas’s funny memoir of her 780-kilometre trek across Spain on the Camino de Santiago to celebrate her 50th birthday and midlife.
Located in French Polynesia, Bora Bora is a magical ocean paradise well worth the trip, even for women in their 80s.
For women with mobility concerns, Karen Gershowitz wants you to know you can fulfill your travel bucket list, even to Antarctica.
Where Solo Women Spend on Travel
Solo women are looking for ways to save but expect to be treated the same as any other traveller – and safety, value and experience top their list of requirements.
- 44% plan to spend more on travel than in the past.
- The single supplement is the top pet peeve about travel, at 62%, followed by high airfare cost and extra baggage fees.
- 73% will pay more to feel safe when they travel
- Over 71% of women typically purchase travel insurance, with comprehensive insurance the most popular. Americans are more likely to take no insurance or just trip cancellation insurance, whereas Canadians are more likely to take just medical insurance.
- Download the full PDF here.
How do solo women want to save on travel and where do they splurge?
- Women want to save the most on airfare and accommodation
- 46% will pay more to have their own room, and 43% will pay more to have their desired experience
- Download the full PDF here.
Solo Women and Travel Insurance
- Over 71% of women typically purchase travel insurance, with comprehensive insurance the most popular. Americans are more likely to take no insurance or just trip cancellation insurance, whereas Canadians are more likely to take just medical insurance. (‘Embracing the Unknown,” August 2020)
- As a result of the pandemic, solo women are more likely to purchase comprehensive travel insurance (Source: Download the full PDF here. )
Women’s Tour Operators Are Positive about 2023
- Read the full article, “Solo Women Travellers Over 55 Drive 77% of all Tour Bookings” here.
- In 2022, tour operators reported that over 77% of all women’s tour bookings in 2022 came from female solo travellers age 55+ (as of August 2022)
- Respondents noted that 73% of guests were experienced solo travellers and 53% were first-time solo travellers
- Gen X and Baby Boomers are making booking decisions in a 4-6 month window, with 60% of bookings made between two and six months
- Reputation was cited by 87% of operators as the top sales driver, followed by destination. Safety ranked just behind destination at 53%, ahead of cost
- The majority of tour operators (96%) feel very or moderately optimistic about growth, noting that they have fulfilled pre-pandemic demand and turning their attention to the recruitment of new clients.
- Tour operators report that (unpaid) social media, word of mouth and email marketing are significantly more effective than paid advertising to generate sales.
Is expedition cruising right for you? Join our free December 5 webinar with Swan Hellenic and find out about this hot trend for women.
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