Wanderlust Women: Explore these 3 solo travel destinations

Wanderlust Women: Explore these 3 solo travel destinations

Data shows that women make most major decisions about travel, and now a growing trend is emerging: women travelling solo
07 November 23
Solo Travel Destinations for Women

Did you know that women are the true travel influencers?

As well as representing 70% of all hotel website visits, they make most travel bookings for themselves, their families, parents, colleagues, and friends. Additionally, searches for the term “solo female travel” increased sixfold during the four years preceding the pandemic and recovered in 2022. Compiled by Solo Female Travelers, a tour company with a social impact mission, this is just a fraction of the statistics that prove one thing – travelling unaccompanied is the best thing a woman can do for herself.

“People who've never travelled on their own often think that women are doing so because they don't have somebody to go with – it's this ‘oh, poor you’ assumption. And that's why they don't grasp the benefits,” Mar Pages, co-founder of Solo Female Travelers, says. “But we know it's not like that at all. In fact, we see that empowerment is the number one benefit. It's the self- fulfilment that comes from doing something successfully on your own, that too in a foreign country. Then there's the freedom and flexibility of solo travel, which applies to women in particular. We have to care for a lot of other people in our day-to-day lives and generally don't have the flexibility of spending our time doing whatever we want. But on a solo trip, we can stay in bed until 2pm or wake up at 5am to go see the sunrise – it's our call.”

But it's not just young, busy professionals who are exploring the world with the help of Solo Female Travelers. Life-changing events such as retirement or losing a spouse, says Pages, also prompt women to take the plunge, joining the company's small, highly curated group trips to the likes of Tanzania, Iceland, Cuba, and beyond.

As for those looking to go it alone entirely?

She recommends making use of the many resources on the Solo Female Travelers website, which spans everything from in-depth travel tips and a 300,000-member community of like-minded women to an extensive section on all things safety. Incidentally, it's the latter that gives most women pause when they consider travelling alone.

“Between 60 and 75% of women worry about safety,” Pages reveals. “That's a very high number. And it doesn't really decrease much with experience. What we’ve observed is that women are concerned about the unknown. We always fear the unknown, right? And I find this interesting for people who come from countries that are, according to statistics, considered dangerous. Certain cities in the US, for example, have a very high crime rate, so the every day environment of Americans who live there is more dangerous than where they're headed. They may be travelling to the Middle East, where crime is very low – for the purpose of travel, at least – but there's still an element of stranger danger.”

While a lot of this fear stems from racial stereotypes and negative media representation, Pages advises to err on the side of caution, and that begins with making travel plans.

Here, she shares her picks of three destinations ideally suited to first-time solo female travellers:

Barcelona, Spain

“Spain is a very easy place for women to explore on their own, Barcelona in particular. In fact, it's usually among the three most recommended destinations for solo female travellers. Again, there's a lot to look forward to: great food, good weather all year round, and a very strong infrastructure for tourism. And there's just so much to see and do. If you go to the south, you'll feel like you are back in the Middle East – there's a very strong Arabian influence from the time when the Moors ruled over Spain for 800 years. The Great Mosque of Córdoba, which is UNESCO-inscribed, is beautiful.”

Stay: Casa Bonay, Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, Barcelona 08010
See: Park Güell and other whimsical creations by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí
Do: Walk along the pedestrian-only La Rambla to soak up the city's charm


Dubai, United Arab Emirates

“For those looking to test the waters, I'd recommend a long weekend getaway to Dubai. It's organised, there's lots to do, and taxis are readily available. And because of its diversity, there are expats and tourists from all over the world, which means no one – you included – will stand out. One of the biggest concerns of first-time solo travellers is the prospect of eating out alone, but in Dubai, there are countless cafés and food halls where solo diners are the norm. And of course, there are attractions to suit every need – leading shopping malls for retail therapy and beautiful spas for self-care.”

Stay: 25hours Hotel Dubai One Central, Trade Centre 2
See: How traditional oils and local ingredients are used to make Arabian scents at Perfume House
Do: Catch one of the theatrical productions at Dubai Opera

@25hourshoteldubai @dubaiopera

London, England

“London is another great destination for female travellers. The obvious aside (it's safe, everyone speaks English), the city has so much history to uncover. The food scene is great, too. I would advise taking precautions to avoid pickpockets, but I'd say that about anywhere in Europe as well. And because the pound has devalued so much, the time to visit is now – it's suddenly 20% cheaper than it was two years ago. Those trying to get their bearings should start with one of the Big Bus Tours that range from one to three hours, 30 minutes in duration, and cover London's key attractions.”

Stay: Andaz London Liverpool Street - a Concept by Hyatt, London EC2M 7QN
See: The city from the 72nd floor of The Shard, the tallest building in the UK
Do: Make it to as many art, history, science, and fashion museums as possible