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Solo Female Travel Experience: Risk Perception

Solo Female Travel Experience: Risk Perception
Author: Shaista Patel
1 Commentries

In response to the discussion around gender travel experiences this paper focuses on the solo female travel experience and risk perceptions. A discussion was formed on the topics of solo travel, solo female travel, risk and risk perceptions through research and 10 questionnaires using surveys.

Key words: risk, tourism, female solo travel, solo travel, risk perceptions.

The 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami, the 2010 Haiti Earthquake, the Bali bombings and the 911 terrorist attack in the USA are all examples of events that have negatively affected the tourism industry globally. These types of risk are perceived to threaten tourist safety. Which can in turn have an effect on their decision making process before and during travel.
Risk is a part of society and the awareness of risk is increasing continuously. Travelling is a common practice in today’s society which suggests that participating in travel can lead to increasing risk therefore risk perceptions are a part of the tourism experience. Therefore this study aims to find out the type of risk perceptions female solo travellers have and how these risk perceptions can influence the solo travel experience of females.

This study has been carried out to look at the solo female travel experience and how it is influenced by risk perception. Women are increasingly becoming active in the participation of travel. The solo female traveller is a growing market segment, research shows that there is an increasing number of females who are choosing to travel solo abroad (Bond, 1997).

The reason for the growth of the solo female market is can be changes in the society. Changes in society such as education and employment for women in particular have allowed females to engage in travel leading to female travel growing increasingly. Similarly solo travel is said to be increasing. The changes in society have allowed an increasing amount of individuals which take part in travel. Therefore the solo travel market and female solo travel market continues to grow and will continue to grow in the future. Which means that there is an importance in exploring their understanding of risk in relation to travel because risk can influence travel. The study focuses specifically on solo female travellers risk perceptions and risk reduction. The researcher considered both segments solo and female solo travellers for the purpose of this study the focus will be solely on female solo travel experiences and risk perception.

Socially in the past travel wasn’t encouraged or acceptable for women so those who did travel didn’t draw attention to it (Shrikant, 2019). The worlds earliest travel memory of a woman travelling was in 381 AD, a woman named Egeria climbed Mount Sinai on her pilgrimage. The lack of records of women travelling led to the assumption that women didn’t travel. But women like Egeria proved this wasn’t true (Shrikant, 2019).

During the 18th and 19th century the world was explored but the role of a traveller was given to a man. According to Wilson (2007) the role of exploring the world was masculine which resulted in women having to go against restrictions formed by society. The number of women travelling solo increased by the 19th century. Women were breaking the social boundaries as women travelling alone were not seen as appropriate by society (Wilson, 2007).

The solo female travel market grew rapidly. It is predicted that females in the travel market will grow and females will continue to stay single longer, pursue careers and education therefore increasing the travel of women further, in particular solo travel. As mentioned before solo travelling is increasing which suggest that female solo travel will also increase in the future. Women travelling solo does not necessarily mean that they enjoy their time travelling. There is little research which has explored the experiences of solo women travellers and the challenges they might face when travelling solo (Wilson, 2004). Their solo travel experience can be influenced by certain factors.

Overall the research carried out from this conference paper discovered that women are generally concerned about risks when travelling abroad solo. In particular women are concerned with personal safety risks. However although this concern exists women are taking steps to increase their level of personal safety when travelling abroad solo.


Beck, U. (1992). Risk Society. 1st ed. , Germany: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Walker, P. (2018). Solo travel is on the rise, and it's no longer defined by relationship status. [online] The Telegraph. Available at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/news/rise-of-solo-travel/ [Accessed 11 May 2019].

Wilson, E. and Little, D. (2011). The Solo Female Travel Experience: Exploring the ‘Geography of Women's Fear’. [online] Taylor & Francis. Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.2167/cit342.0#aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cudGFuZGZvbmxpbmUuY29tL2RvaS9wZGYvMTAuMjE2Ny9jaXQzNDIuMD9uZWVkQWNjZXNzPXRydWVAQEAw [Accessed 10 May 2019].

Solo female travel experience and risk perception
Author: Zane Lejniece
I have chosen to comment on this discussion paper because I have been a female solo traveller myself before and have chosen to occasionally still travel solo. Therefore, I find this paper quite amusing as there are still gaps in the tourism segment. However, the author had no embarrassment to acknowledge that there indeed are gaps in the market and show a great example of a woman named Egeria who attempted to fill in the gaps with personal experience to show that female solo travellers exist and that women do travel solo (Vox, 2019).

By reading this paper I can see that the author has focused on solo female travel experience and risk perceptions. It is clear that many things and how we look at female travellers has changed over the years. Solo travelling is not always as great as people may say they are and, as an independent traveller myself, I know, it can be rather scary to travel on your own somewhere you do not feel 100% safe. However, by still travelling solo and overcoming challenges, such as risk perception and fear, independent travel can be a vehicle for women to feel empowered and to take control of their lives. (Harris and Wilson, 2007)

The author has clearly stated that risk perception can be a part of a travelling experience and I would totally agree as it takes time for your body and mind to adapt around the area whether they think it is safe to be at the destination.

Even with female travel market growing rapidly, there are so much risk awareness advertised and discussed that risk perception becomes part of the travel experience, however the author has done a very good research on the changes in society and how females are being accepted when travelling alone. As women have been warned about risks they take whilst travelling solo, yet still choosing to travel, Erica Wilson & Donna E. Little (2008) also noted that many women observed the night as the most unsafe time for females to venture alone in tourist settings.

Overall, this paper presents that it is acceptable for females to travel solo, even with the research being limited and to extend this paper, the author could potentially highlight what are the risks that solo female travellers run into and what they do to overcome the fears of travelling solo.


Erica Wilson & Donna E. Little (2008) The Solo Female Travel Experience: Exploring the ‘Geography of Women's Fear’, Current Issues in Tourism, 11:2, 167-186

Harris, C. and Wilson, E. (2007) Travelling beyond the boundaries of constraint: Women, Travel and Empowerment. In: Pritchard, A., Morgan, N., Ateljevic, I. and Harris, C., Tourism & Gender: embodiment, sensuality and experience

Vox. (2019). Women travel alone more than men. Here’s why.. [online] Available at: https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2019/1/18/18188581/women-travel-alone-men [Accessed 11 May 2019].