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Solo Female Travel Survey: 73% of Women Worry About Safety, 23% Distrust Influencers

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Monday, February 15, 2021

The first of three instalments from the 2020 Solo Female Travel Trends Survey reveals that women travel solo for many reasons, indisputably worry about safety, trust others like them but distrust influencers. To address the safety challenge, Solo Female Travelers launched a women-only Safety Index and Empowerful, the first Solo Female Travel Safety, Wellness and Sexual Wellbeing Festival. To meet demand for small group travel, SheFari has created the first travel marketplace for women, offering a range of women-only adventures and retreats.

Run by Solo Female Travelers and SheFari, the 2020 Solo Female Travel Trends Survey  collected over 5,000 responses from more than 100 countries and is the largest, most comprehensive and only global research study conducted to date. The survey aims to normalize traveling solo as a woman and to provide the travel industry with data-driven insights.

“[The travel industry should] employ more women in executive roles so they actually know what it’s like to travel as a woman. Without a seat at the table, decisions are made about us, not with us,” says a Survey respondent.

The research reveals that 73% of women who travel solo worry about their personal safety, a figure that decreases only slightly to 64% for experienced solo travelers. Beyond affordability, safety is also the number one barrier for women who haven’t traveled solo yet.

“We knew that safety is a universal and unanimous concern for solo female travelers and this is why we built the Safety Index with the help of Jacobo Vilella,” says Mar Pages, Co-Founder of Solo Female Travelers.

The Solo Female Travel Safety Index ranks 210 destinations on the average of 7 variables gathered from official sources and from the first-hand experiences of other solo female travelers on issues such as risk of theft, scam and harassment, and the country’s attitudes towards women. “It is like a TripAdvisor for solo female travel safety,” adds Pages.

Christina Papavlasopoulos, co-founder of SheFari, notes that safety is a strong motivation for group travel, which coincides with the finding that 50% of women who haven’t traveled solo yet would be more likely to do so by joining a small group trip, especially with female cohorts. 

“Traveling in groups allows solo travelers to not only feel safer, but to connect, grow, and get inspired with like-minded women. At SheFari, we saw a need to create a single place where female travelers could find the best curated adventure getaways, group trips, retreats, and funky themed tours – all designed for and led by amazing women around the world,” said Papavlasopoulos.

Women look for unbiased travel advice from others like them; 73% of respondents trust online communities such as Solo Female Travelers, 66% trust travel blogs. Influencers and content creators are distrusted by 23% of solo female travelers, travel brands’ social media accounts by 16% and 40% of respondents distrust online and TV ads.

On a mission to empower women with expert advice to travel safely on their own terms, Solo Female Travelers has launched Empowerful, the first of its kind Solo Female Travel Safety, Wellness, and Sexual Wellbeing Festival.

“Empowerful brings together the best of the best; 35+ experts, doctors, therapists and martial artists into 30 sessions and 50h of content designed to equip women with the tools to travel alone safely and confidently,” says Solo Female Travelers Co-Founder Meg Jerrard.

But women are not letting fear and lack of company stop them from traveling. 57% of respondents choose solo travel for the Freedom and flexibility it affords, to Challenge themselves (38%), enjoy Me-time (23%) and to Meet new people (22%). 

Solo female travelers recommend Spain, Australia, Thailand, the UK, Italy and Japan as top destinations for a first solo trip, valuing the appeal of the destination, its safety, its tourism infrastructure and the easiness of meeting people.

The full report with data and key findings from the Solo Female Travel Trends Survey can be found here. Two additional reports are scheduled for release, the second on the 8th of March will focus on Purchasing behaviors of solo female travelers, and the third one on the 8th of April will deep dive into who the Solo Female Traveler is, what she cares about and what she spends money on.

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