In recent years, more and more women have been bitten by the travel bug – and more specifically, the appeal of travelling alone. Thousands of women have been hitting the highway solo (along with their vacation dollars) and voyaging to all parts of the globe.
The increase in solo female travellers is substantial – for example, the online hostel booking service Hostelworld recorded that between 2015 and 2017, bookings by solo female travellers increased by 45 percent.
So – where are women travelling? We wanted to get a handle on which destinations currently hold the most appeal for women travelling solo, so we analysed a sample of Instagram posts tagged with the #WomenWhoTravel hashtag, along 6 other related hashtags (#travelgirlsgo, #shetravels, #solofemaletraveler, #damestravel, #citizenfemme, #solofemaletravel), to find out which places around the world women love travelling to the most. Then we created this interactive map to visualise the data.
To navigate the interactive map, zoom into an area of interest with your fingertips or mouse. You can hover over any of the travel hotspots to identify the city or state and the number of Instagram posts our research returned. Ready to explore? Dive in to find out where around the world women are travelling to!
The top destinations where women travelling solo have been:
- New York
- Los Angeles
Where are the most visited countries for female solo travel?
Looking at the data by country, the United States is the far-and-away winner with 135,185 hits. That comes as no surprise, considering the vast variety of climates, landscapes, and cultures that travellers have to choose from when heading state-side (the Statue of Liberty, Grand Canyon, California redwood forests, Mardi Gras and the Everglades are just a few that come to mind).
Solo women travellers are also flocking to countries like Italy and the UK. Italy is hailed as a mecca for sporty outdoor activities and its relative safety for female travellers, whereas London and other UK locales are lauded for their safety, friendly populace, and iconic landmarks like Big Ben. Likewise, travellers rated India and Spain as popular solo female destination spots.
Where are the most visited places in Australia for female solo travel?
Topping the list of favourite places in Australia to travel are the continent’s most populous cities, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth. Sydney comes as no surprise, as the city hosts 14.7 million visitors a year. It’s home to arguably Australia’s most iconic destination, the Sydney Opera House, which sits on the scenic Sydney Harbour.
Likewise, Melbourne offers a variety of museums and world-class restaurants for the solo traveller to peruse. In Brisbane, travellers can expect to find an eclectic arts scene, numerous neighbouring islands to explore, and gorgeous weather. Although not as popular as the other spots, Byron Bay in New South Wales also made the list, possibly for the destination’s beautiful beaches, scuba diving sites, and excellent humpback whale watching.
Where are the most visited places in America for female solo travel?
Over 16,000 counts were returned for New York City in our data gathering, making it the top spot in the US for women travelling solo, followed by LA, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Chicago. In the Big Apple, solo women travellers can bike around Central Park, visit the Grand Central Terminal in the heart of Midtown, ride a ferry to see the Statue of Liberty, and find some of the best dining in the world.
The City of Angels is home to the famous Hollywood sign and the bodybuilders of Venice Beach, along with unique landmarks like the Griffith Observatory, Getty Museum, and La Brea Tar Pits. San Francisco offers visitors the sweeping Golden Gate Bridge, historic neighbourhoods like Haight-Ashbury and Chinatown, along with exquisite seafood.
Where are the most visited places in the UK for female solo travel?
The UK boasts the most popular destination spot in the world for solo female travellers, with London’s Big Ben, the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace, and the bustle of Piccadilly Circus. But female travellers were also enticed to the cities of Edinburgh, Manchester, Oxford, and Brighton.
Scotland’s sweeping landscapes provide Edinburgh travellers with sites like St Giles’ Cathedral, the impressive Edinburgh Castle, and the National Museum. In Manchester, solo travellers can catch a show at the Lowry, or check out the free Manchester Art Gallery. Oxford offers the eponymous University of Oxford, along with Blenheim Palace, Christ Church Cathedral, and the History of Science Museum.
To help you choose your next vacation spot, we’ve put together this infographic of the top 50 destinations female travellers have been making solo trips to in recent years.
From London to Bangkok, and all points in between, female travellers are hitting the dusty trail, and more and more, they’re doing it solo. Where will your next solo adventure be?
Methodology & sources
To create this map, we analysed 1,426,053 Instagram posts tagged with #WomenWhoTravel and 6 other related hashtags (#travelgirlsgo, #shetravels, #solofemaletraveler, #damestravel, #citizenfemme, #solofemaletravel), to find out where in the world each post came from. Then we sorted the geo-location data extracted from 779,546 posts into country, city, state, region and province to create the visualizations you see today.
The data gathering was done in April 2020 and is available on bit.ly/WomenWhoTravelResearch.
Hostel World Group. (2018). Solo Travel Soars in Popularity. hostelworldgroup.com
Fab UK Magazine. (2018). Female Wanderlust Fuels Demand for Solo Adventures. fabukmagazine.com
Rich, K. (2020). The Solo Female Traveler’s Guide to London. theblondeabroad.com
This post was brought to you by Budget Direct Travel Insurance