Year after year (at least for the last 3 years) travel experts have been predicting that solo travel, especially among females, is one of the top travel trends.
This year is no different.
In India, over half of the domestic solo travellers are women, in China there are more women than men who have done more than 10 solo trips abroad solo. One of the leading travel guides, Lonely Planet, reported that 67% of solo travellers are women while Cleartrip said, 75% of the bookings made by women are for solo travel. And according to, Bajaj Finserve “There is a steady increase in the number of women predominantly from the millennial and +50 years age group who are actively engaging in solo globetrotting.”
Whichever way you look at it, one thing is certain: Regardless of age, race or nationality, females are travelling and they are waiting for no one.
And if you think that women are only travelling on the Eat, Pray, Love trail of finding pasta in Italy, the Dalai Lama in India and a love story to tell from Indonesia, think again.
Women have moved on to adventure travel, slackpacking, staycations, off the beaten path destinations and they’re not ashamed to explore a place in their own unique way.
This growing independence is shaking the world into the realistion that women are strong, capable and a force to be reckoned with but of course, female travellers who choose to travel alone are often still misunderstood and find themselves in situations where they have to justify their choice to go solo with a sad story of introspection, divorce or a life changing event.
Fact: Solo travel is not a consequence, it is a choice.
Tour operators, Acacia Africa, is celebrating International Women’s Day this year by giving you a 15% discount on the normal tour price on select camping overland trips and select small group safaris taken in 2019 (trips should be booked directly with Acacia Africa).
Have a look at their website, and if a tour catches your eye, use the booking code for a 15% discount: AAWGS15
Here are 8 things you should know about the solo female traveller.
She is not necessarily travelling to find herself
Yes, she may have read the book, watched the movie and found the story inspiring but if you think that every single solo female traveller is just another copy of the movie Eat, Pray, Love, think again. While some women are on a journey of self-discovery or one of healing, others are travelling to learn a new language, indulge in local art, cuisine, heritage and culture, meet new people or to discover sites, tick items off a bucket list and live a life filled with adventure. She may have ‘found herself’ already but she also see no harm in finding herself again.
“You are the one that possesses the keys to your being. You carry the passport to your own happiness.” – Diane von Furstenberg
Read about the time I travelled solo in Lesotho > click here.
She might be a bit older than other solo female travellers
Gone are the days when the typical solo female traveller was a 20-something fresh out of university or high school, sporting baggy elephant pants, Asian whiskey buckets and a backpack covered in tiny little flags from the Banana Pancake Trail. The same survey of Solitair Holidays showed that more than 84% of people who go solo on holiday are between the ages of 51 and 70 and only 4% are under 30. Yes, older woman can travel alone as well, whether they’re single or married, wearing baggy elephant pants or designer jeans, going away for a week or a year. Did you hear about the South African woman who travelled in her Toyota Conquest through Africa to London? She’s a granny, 80 years old and did it all by herself. Now that’s awesome!
“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand
Read about my solo journey in Sri Lanka > click here.
She is strong
The woman who travels alone is a tough cookie; she will haul a heavy backpack across the world, wheel her suitcase from hotel to hotel, stand her ground, stand up for something she feels passionate about, tackle any situation with resilience and confidence, plus on top of that, she – just like a lot of women out there – is not afraid to chase after her goals and dreams.
“Don’t ever accept anyone else’s preconceived limitations. If there’s something you want to do, there isn’t any reason you can’t do it.” – Amy Dodson
I spent a month travelling alone in Nepal > click here.
She is wise
She’s travel smart and street smart; it might have taken a few trips and hits and misses to learn but she knows how to be her own travel agent and tour guide, she knows how to haggle, when to bend the truth a little bit, where to go, when to stay and when to ask for help.
“I learned my strengths and my weaknesses. I experienced the exhilaration of the ups and the despairs of the lows and most of the feelings in between… I learned courage and I learned it myself.” – Ann Stirk
I ventured down into Gamkaskloof on my own > click here.
She is not lonely
Just because she travels solo does not mean she has no friends to travel with her; she willingly chooses to travel all by herself and for her, being alone does not translate to being lonely. Sometimes you’ll find her in a quiet corner reading a book, other times she mingles with travellers she has met along the way. She might call home and miss her family and friends, but at the same time she finds comfort in being alone.
“The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.” – Albert Einstein
Read the post I wrote about 18 things that are okay when travelling solo > click here.
She can be an extrovert AND an introvert
Surprise, surprise, not all solo travellers are extroverts with the ability to turn strangers into travel buddies. Believe it or not, some are introverts and extremely shy yet they still thrive off the energy of discovering a new and exciting place, exploring new cultures and – gasp – yes, meet people.
“I hope the fathers and mothers of little girls will look at them and say ‘yes, women can.’” – Dilma Rousseff
Read about the time when I really sucked at solo camping > click here.
She’s not doing it for flings and holiday romances
Pass, move along and dunk your catcalling in a river of respect; solo female travellers are not looking for attention and she is definitely not after anyone’s creepy remarks or jerk-like behaviour. When she sits alone on a beach she is not holding out a sign saying, please come harass me. When she sits alone in a restaurant she is not asking for company when she is reading a book. When she walks down the street she is not yours to be judged. And when she is looking for a holiday romance, she is also not yours to be judged.
“This journey has always been about reaching your own other shore no matter what it is, and that dream continues.” – Diana Nyad
Read about the time my one holiday romance ended up in marriage > click to read.
She’s travelling solo but might change her mind
Maybe she is travelling solo now, maybe it is the best, most invigorating thing she has ever experienced in her life and she can’t stop talking about what it means to her to be able to go alone to a new city or country with confidence. But maybe she will change her mind, maybe next month or next year she’ll travel with a group of friends, find someone special or do family trips and tell you what it means to her to be able to experience a new city or country with loved ones. Maybe she will change her mind.
“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand and melting like a snowflake.” – Marie Beyon Ray
This post was adapted from an article I originally wrote for Traveller24.