Solo travel is on the rise, and in 2017, Google searches for the phrase “solo female travel” hit an all-time peak of 100 million searches.
More and more women are taking the plunge and deciding to travel solo, ditching their friends, boyfriends, families you name it, and instead opting for a holiday decided specifically with them in mind. And why not? Travelling alone can be amazingly liberating: it can help improve your confidence, you’ll have amazing dinner party stories to tell, you’ll meet new people, and you get to explore the destinations you want to explore, without having to sacrifice your experience for anyone else.
Ampersand recently released a report on the best countries for solo female travellers to visit. As of 2017, nearly two thirds of people travelling were female and the searches ‘solo female travel’ hit an all-time peak of 100 million.
But the idea of travelling alone – liberating though it sounds – is a daunting thing. Like it or not it is simply more dangerous for a woman to travel alone and there are lots of factors that we have to consider when choosing where to go and whether or not to go it alone. We have to consider many more scenarios when travelling alone that we wouldn’t have to if travelling with someone else.
Ampersand recognised this dilemma for female travellers and came up with the Wander Woman Index. This handy tool takes a variety of factors into account and ranks countries in terms of their suitability for female travellers. Some areas that they look into include safety, women’s rights, culture, scenery, adventure, and ‘Instagrammability’, something ranked as an important factor for many female travellers.
The top three options were:
Thanks to its super low rate of crime, Japan comes out on top here! Aside from being super safe, it is an absolutely stunning destination with tons to do. Not only is there urban buzz with the likes of bustling, colourful and futuristic Tokyo, but also stunning countryside to explore, bursting with picturesque national parks. The food is right up there, and the culture is deep and rich and ready to be discovered!
France came second due to its high score for women’s rights. And that’s before we even start to discuss the utterly mouth-watering cuisine. A food and wine heaven, it is every foodies dream destination. Sample the goods of each region, packing in the cosmopolitan culture of Paris, the traditional countryside of Brittany, go adventuring in the Dordogne and glam it up for Monte Carlo. Whatever kind of holiday you like to go on, there’s somewhere in France that can give you exactly what you’re looking for.
This one scored majorly in the adventure category and we have to agree! If you’re looking for something different, Spain is a fantastic choice. Also brimming with amazing cuisine – paella and sangria, anyone? - the country is the second most visited in the world and we can see why. Rimmed with a sparkling Mediterranean sea and boasting beautiful, vibrant cities, you’ll never be short of entertainment and stunning views.
Other popular destinations were Indonesia, Italy, the U.S, Canada and Australia, all with high women’s rights and safety scores. Trip Advisor recently posted top tips from adventurous female solo travellers who were well versed in going it alone:
Solo doesn’t mean solitary
‘Make sure you tell everyone you know where you’re going, and you’ll likely end up connecting with friends of friends in random destinations who you can tie up with while you’re there. I’ve made wonderful new friends around the world thanks to unexpected introductions and social media tips, and that’s often been a helpful entry point to exploring a city from a local context.’ – Sarah Khan
Have a point of contact on the ground
‘The best travel advice I have for solo travellers, especially women, is to know the emergency contact number of the countries you’re in. Also, communicate with your Airbnb host or someone in your hostel of your plan for the day. That way when something goes wrong, they know.’ – Ezinne Mgbeahuruike
Trust your instincts
‘Throughout your trip you will encounter people and places. Some of them will instantly feel welcoming and calming, others will have a whiff of discomfort to them. Go with that energy. If a street feels dodgy, get off of it and call an Uber on a well-lit street. If a certain person standing on the corner causes you anxiety, pop into a local restaurant or shop. What you feel in your gut is often right, so make choices that reflect that. Another boon to traveling alone is that your intuition organically sharpens with every trip.’ – Alia Akkam
Do your research — and have an open mind
‘It pays to be prepared and having an idea of what to expect is always helpful. But, it’s just as important to bring an open mind and a spirit of adventure; you don’t want to plan every little detail!’ – Emily Luxton
Don’t be shy
‘You will need to come out of your shell a bit if you’re going to meet locals and get to know fellow travellers. So don’t hide behind that phone or book. I struck up a friendship with someone on the road because I asked her where she bought the sandwich, she was eating on the steps of an art gallery.’ – Saman Shad
Embrace dining alone
‘Never be self-conscious while dining alone, and if you do feel self-conscious, embrace the ultimate luxury: eating the perfect meal in a luscious bathrobe alone in your lovely and private hotel room.’ – Alyssa Shelasky