Going It Alone – Exploring How Women Travel

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Last month, I announced a contest on my blog tied to a survey about how and why women around the world travel solo. The response to that post was fantastic — more than 130 comments! — and the response to the #WeGoSolo survey was even better. Over 1,000 people took the “Going It Alone” survey sponsored by Hostelbookers, and we've spent the past couple of weeks analyzing the results.

The verdict? Female travelers are pretty badass. They travel solo, stay in hostels, and live for the sense of freedom that comes along with it.

Check out this infographic detailing all the results of the survey:



I loved reading the responses ladies left on my original post about their dream solo destinations. They were so varied — from New Zealand to Spain to Central Asia to Iceland — and the outpouring of support for solo female travel was inspiring.

I'm also pleased to announce the winner from that post, chosen randomly to win 150 Euro worth of accommodation from Hostelbookers. That winner is:

Sofie @ Wonderful Wanderings

Congrats, Sofie! And a HUGE thanks to everyone who entered the contest and took our survey. Even if you didn't win, I hope you've been inspired to follow your solo travel dreams.


Also a big thanks to Hostelbookers for sponsoring the survey and contest, as well as my fellow #WeGoSolo ambassadors:

Mariellen Ward of BreatheDreamGo.com
Shivya of The-Shooting-Star.com
Sherry Ott of Ottsworld.com

Join us on Twitter on Wednesdays at 11 a.m. EST for the weekly #WeGoSolo chat, which encourages female solo travelers to travel safely, wisely, and well.


Do any of the survey results surprise you?



"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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44 Comments on “Going It Alone – Exploring How Women Travel

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  1. Such interesting results, though mostly I feel I fall into the norm category here! Altho, why don’t women want to travel to China alone? I’ve always wanted to go there!

    What an interesting and awesome post! I myself am a solo female traveler. I started traveling alone because I got tired of waiting for someone to backpack with me. I feel pretty similar to most of these stats except I enjoy couchsurfing!

      Good for you, Anna! We ladies should never have to wait for anyone; we rock on our own!

        Thank you! I look forward to checking out more of your site!

    Pressure from family? Never would have thought that would be up there but I guess everyone has different experiences

      Definitely. And I can say (from personal experience) that women tend to get a lot more crap from their parents when they declare that they want to travel solo. The whole being the “weaker sex” thing and always needing protecting…

    Well done Sofie!

    Thanks for publishing these Amanda, really interesting.

    I was really sad to see that women didn’t want to travel to Africa alone. I’ve spent a lot of time travelling in Africa on my own and it has been the best experience ever. But it’s not surprising considering the bad press Africa gets! This article even inspired me to write an article about it! Go Team Africa!

      You should definitely write about it, Helen! Africa is definitely “off the beaten path,” which makes it a challenge for a lot of people – even men!

        I have! 🙂

        Africa is not without risk – malaria, elephant stampedes, but that could happen whether you are in a group or not. But I think as a solo woman, if you take a few simple precautions, Africa can be a very safe and enjoyable place for a woman to travel. I’m not a massive fan of parts of South Africa, some of which do have a reputation for violence, especially against women, hovever this is most prevalent in the townships and not necessarily to tourists.

        But the rest of East and Southern Africa, I wouldn’t hesitate to go alone again.To me, Africa feels like a full on adventure! I hope more ladies will go!


    I’m surprised that China made the list of places women don’t want to travel to alone. I’ve lived in Shanghai for two years and do tons of stuff by myself. China is incredibly safe and I have never once felt threatened or uncomfortable, even when walking alone at night. I speak minimal Chinese, but it wouldn’t make a difference if I was fluent or spoke none at all. Foreigners are still a novelty in some parts of the country and locals will want to have their photo taken with you. You’ll get stared at a lot, but that’s about it. The wild Shanghai traffic poses the biggest safety threat, but that’s true in most of Asia. Women shouldn’t be scared to come to China!

      I would imagine the language barrier/fear of culture shock might be the biggest thing against China. I definitely don’t think of China as a “dangerous” place to go!

      I think your perception of China depends on where you live.
      Living in the US I had always wanted to visit and never thought it was dangerous either. But now that I’ve lived in Japan and Hong Kong, these places try to advertise China as a dangerous place and always warn people of visiting (esp in HK with their hatred of mainlanders)

      I really enjoyed visiting Shanghai…. but a few other parts of China def do have that other ‘dangerous’ feeling.

      Loved reading the survery– really glad I took part. Women rock 🙂

        First, congrats Sofie!

        Second, China. I have not lived in huge cities, more off the beaten track with few foreigners for 2 years. *touch wood* I have never felt unsafe in all this time. I went to Ho Chi Minh City for a week and was so glad to get back home to China!

        I knew no Chinese before I came but as Heather says too, I know enough to get by and have friends I can call on if there’s something serious I need help with.

        Overall, China has been one of the best decisions of my life.

          That’s great to hear, Bennett. I wouldn’t necessarily consider China “dangerous,” either, but I guess people have different reasons for not wanting to go somewhere. The language barrier and culture shock would be my guess in regards to China. That, and the pollution.

        Women do indeed rock! Interesting about China being viewed as dangerous in other Asian cultures! I’ve only been to Beijing and Shanghai (and both only briefly), but I wouldn’t characterize either as any more or less dangerous than other big cities I’ve been to.

    I’ve noticed it’s the guys who tend to run in packs. That’s not always the case, obviously, and it also depends on the country and the type of hostel (party hostels always attract large herds), but I’d like to see how this compares to solo men. I think girls more often go seeking adventure, and being alone is a big part of that, whereas guys think of it as a good time, and that’s what buddies are for. Rampant speculation, admittedly, but I’d bet a beer on it. Cheap beer, though.

      Very interesting! I think I would probably agree with your speculations, though – boys do usually tend to travel in small groups with their mates. I would be interested to survey solo male travelers, too!

    This is awesome! So glad I took part in it. Love all the visuals for the results 🙂
    Congrats to Sofie!

      Thanks, Lauren! I had fun making the infographic and I’m glad to hear you like it!

    Yaaaay, I won!!!
    Party… at a HostelBookers hostel, of course:-)

    I was really surprised that only 18% of the participants hadn’t traveled solo yet.
    I know that the women who participated are likely women who travel more than average and are interested in these kinds of surveys, but still… only 18%!
    We kick ass.

      We do kick ass!

      I do think this survey was weighted towards women who already travel solo, though. It was sponsored by Hostelbookers and advertised on 4 blogs run by females who tend to travel solo. So automatically I think the main audience was a bit biased! But still. Even a week-long solo trip counts!

    This is really interesting data! I am surprised by how many have solo traveled to how many have not. I solo travel myself, just started officially last year and I had the most amazing time. I took two trips last year and have already planned a trip this year. It was so liberating and I learned a lot about myself. People ask me all the time why I would go alone and I always say “so I can have the best time”

      Definitely some interesting results! But most women who travel solo say the same thing you do – that it’s liberating!

    I still can remember when my wife used to visit me when I was in Canada, all the baggage of her was stolen at a metro station. I was totally worried about her, I promised I’ll never let her travel alone. I think women shouldn’t take the risk to travel alone in dangerous countries/places…

      It’s true that women do need to take extra care in some destinations. But as long as they have common sense and are aware of their surroundings, I fully support women traveling alone. It doesn’t have to be scary or dangerous!

    Fascinating! I’m going on my first “really real” solo trip to Myanmar next month! I’m a little nervous but super excited! <3

      Totally normal feelings, Karisa. I’m leaving on a big solo trip next week and feel the same way! I hope you have a great time!

    Interesting findings! It looks like I fit the trend pretty well having travelled solo to South America and NZ/Oz. I did go to Africa on my own too, but I was staying at the same hostel and volunteering the whole time, which made it less scary!

      Nothing wrong with that, though! I think the majority of women have traveled solo in Europe or Australia/NZ if they’ve traveled solo anywhere.

    Really? No one else stays in furnished apartments?

      That may not have been an option on the survey. But, I think that a lot of travelers probably don’t even know that the option exists!

    I was thinking the same thing as Lucie – so interesting to see India on both lists – and really surprised to see it on the “want to go” list considering all of the negative publicity it has gotten lately.

    Also interesting that less than 30% dress more conservatively when they travel – I think there are a lot of places out that really call for more conservative dress and it’s a matter not only of safety, but simply respect, to do so when visiting those countries.

      Agree on the India point!

      And good point regarding the conservative dress – it really is about respect in a lot of places.

    Funny how India is both on the “want to go” and “don’t want to go” list! I guess that makes it a country that leaves nobody indifferent.

      Yes, I found that interesting, too! But India is one of those countries that you either love or hate – there doesn’t seem to be much in-between!

        I think it also has to do with the ‘security’ situation over there. I’m guessing a lot of female travelers want to go because of the beauty the country holds, but a lot will also be afraid of traveling there alone because of all of the recent events, and more so, the media attention given to these events.

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