All hail adventurous women: solo female travel is on the rise, according to new research.
Interest in these types of holidays has risen by 131 per cent over the past two years, according to Google Trends. Meanwhile, a Culture Trip survey of 10,500 respondents found that one-in-three women (34 per cent) said they’d be interested in flying solo in future, compared to just one in seven (14 per cent) who’d taken a trip on their own in the previous five years.
A British Airways study of almost 9,000 18 to 64-year-olds across the UK, US, France, India, Germany, Italy, Brazil and China in 2018 found that more than 50 per cent of women have taken a holiday by themselves, with 75 per cent of women planning a solo trip in the next few years.
Ahead of International Women’s Day 2019 (8 March), and on behalf of adventurous females everywhere, here are 10 of the best trips for SoWAs – Solo Women Adventurers.
Hike in Morocco
Intrepid Travel has launched new limited edition women’s expeditions, which are all about “breaking down barriers, fostering discussion and creating immersive local experiences for women that are ordinarily off limits on our regular group departures”.
Its Morocco Women’s Expedition is an off-map hiking adventure starting in Marrakech and going via the Bougmez Valley and the foothills of Azourki, before travellers get the chance to visit a women’s rug-weaving co-op in Talsanant. An eight-day tour costs £675pp, including seven nights’ B&B accommodation, four lunches, five dinners, transfers and a range of activities, from a local folklore workshop to a Berber makeup workshop.
Elle Voyage provides group tours for solo women who want to see the world. Founded by Dawn Simone, an intrepid traveller who was left frustrated by a lack of female travel companions, the company has a whole range of itineraries, from short breaks to long-haul adventures. Each trip includes no more than 12 women so tours feel personal.
The 10 night/11 day trip to Iceland runs from 9-19 July, taking in Reykjavik, Thingvellir National Park, Strokkur Geyser, Gullfoss’s double waterfall and Silfra Lagoon. The price of £2,899pp includes group transfers, B&B accommodation and five dinners.
On retreat in Bali
Bliss Sanctuary for Women in Ubud, Bali, is launching its third women’s retreat in April.
This luxury, female-only sanctuary is aimed at solo travellers, with all-inclusive retreats offering yoga, treatments, massages, food and excursions – all unlimited. There’s also a personal driver service, free pushbikes to borrow, and one flower or wellness bath per guest.
There are no itineraries, expectations or diets, “just pure relaxation”, according to Bliss. Seven nights cost £1,980pp for solo travellers, and includes airport transfers.
A 4WD course in Australia
Ever fancied mastering a four-wheel drive car? Head to Fraser Island in Queensland, Australia, for a women-only long weekend of driving on the purpose-built track at Kingfisher Bay Resort.
“It’s not all selfies and bubbly,” says Australian Offroad Academy of its Girls Got Grit Glamour package. “You will spend serious time learning skills which will give you the confidence to explore, and empower you to take control of your own offroading weekends and plans.”
The A$995 (£533) price tag includes three nights’ all-inclusive accommodation, transfers and a return barge to the island; all off-roading activities, one spa treatment and sunset drinks.
Cruise the Danube
Take in Vienna, Bratislava, Salzburg, Budapest and more on a cruise of the Danube aimed exclusively at solo travellers. Riviera Travel’s Blue Danube River Cruise for Solo Travellers charges no single supplements, so travellers can save their money for excursions and souvenirs (Mozart balls, anyone?).
It’s £1,699pp for an eight-day cruise, full-board, departing 4 November. Includes seven excursions, return flights and transfers.
Watch women’s cycling in Scotland
A brand new annual global female cycling event has chosen Scotland as the backdrop for its very first event. The Women’s Tour of Scotland will follow a 350km (217 mile) route across the country and promises to show off Scotland’s breathtaking scenery while promoting the importance of female cycling.
Taking place from 9-11 August, a mass participation event will also occur on the same three days, with 5,000 participants from across Scotland and beyond able to take part. More details to be announced soon.
Meet local women in Iran
Responsible Travel has a variety of women-only trips, offering a unique chance to experience a different side to destinations that wouldn’t be possible on a mixed-gender tour. Its Iran itinerary includes visits to some of the country’s most celebrated sights, such as the remains of ancient capital Persepolis, as well as opportunities to meet local women “in a truly authentic way”: travellers will visit a beauty salon, relax with a picnic in a women-only park, and use women-only carriages on the metro and train. They’ll also meet young female entrepreneurs and learn about Iranian food while cooking with local women in their home.
From £2,035 for 12 days, excluding flights.
SUP in Croatia
For active types, Gutsy Girls’ women-only trips have plenty of high-energy pursuits. Its SUP and Hike Croatia trip is a multi-centre holiday, with standup paddle boarding, hiking, cycling and rock climbing all on the menu during an action-packed week.
Split between the Zadar archipelago islands and Velebit mountain range, the seven-day trip costs £1,149pp, departing 4 May and and 24 July. Includes six nights’ full-board accommodation, transfers, and all activities and equipment.
Lodge-to-lodge trekking in Peru
Women-owned and women-run adventure travel company Adventure Women offers trips to 65 countries worldwide.
Its lodge-to-lodge trekking itinerary to Machu Picchu, Peru, is via the Salkantay trail – more challenging than the better-known Inca trail, but also more scenic.
Departing 13 October, the 10-day tour involves trips from Cusco to the famous citadel, via Urubamba and the Salkantay trail, staying in luxury accommodation with hot tubs and gourmet meals.
From $5,990 (£4,564), for nine nights’ accommodation, guides, entrance fees and most breakfast and lunches. Excludes flights.
Climb in Provence
“Women tend to climb differently to men,” says Rock & Sun, “because they generally can’t rely on brute force to get them up a route.” Its all-women climbing holidays have expert instructors who focus on maximising the strengths of women: flexibility, focus, creativity and inner strength.
Week-long holidays take place in Provence or the Costa Blanca and include seven nights’ self-catering accommodation, transfers, five days’ guided climbing with a female instructor, and technique and performance coaching especially for women. The next trips are slated to go ahead from 26 October to 2 November and cost £745pp.
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