A global pandemic might not seem like the most ideal time to go on vacation, but according to experts, solo female travel is on the rise. Witness the explosion in interest that Overseas Adventure Travel has seen from single travelers: More than 24,000 have booked trips for 2021, with women-only departures growing in popularity. According to the company, the increase is in large part due to the hearty appetite of Americans aged 50-plus—particularly women—for traveling solo. “We see solo women, in particular, with a passion to meet and bond with the local people. It’s life-changing,” says CEO and president Brian Fitzgerald.

And according to research by the travel company Cox & Kings, solo travel could be among the first segments to come back as the travel sector starts to recover. Around a quarter of the company’s recent bookings have come from those traveling alone, says Sue Livsey, senior manager, who says that their consumers have still retained their sense of adventure: “They want to travel, there’s a hunger there.”

Here’s another part of the appeal: There are deals galore right now and many companies are waiving the dreaded single supplements that plague solo travelers when they stay in a room that was intended for two people. For instance, Riviera River Cruises is running eight singles-only European cruises in 2021, which means you can get a room for two for the price of one, plus there will be half the number of passengers onboard (88 versus 169 passengers). “We’ve seen strong interest in our dedicated solo river cruises since we started offering them a few years ago, and that interest has continued through the pandemic with bookings for 2021,” says Marilyn Conroy, Riviera River Cruises’ Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing North America. “Women make up the majority of passengers on our solo departures—they tend to travel solo more than men.” 

AdventureWomen—which has also seen a burst of interest—is beefing up its offerings for domestic trips that allow guests to take in the great outdoors while maintaining appropriate social distance from other travelers. Adventures include rafting the Salmon River in Idaho; canyoneering through the desert landscapes of Utah; and a winter trip to Yellowstone. In addition, several of these trips will now offer single accommodations at no additional cost.

According to Aimee Kuge, cofounder of TravSolo, a planning app for solo travelers, solo travel continues to grow and grow every year and 25% of travelers say they will consider traveling solo in the next 12 months. “Solo travel is among the top two trips that travelers plan to choose, especially during and post-COVID-19,” says Kuge. “It is easier to practice social distancing and good hygiene guidelines.”

Lindsay Myers, a Los Angeles-based budget travel and lifestyle expert who has a solo travel series on KateSpade.com, says that she is starting to see many travelers heading to foreign places to live their nomadic lives—especially women, trekking alone. “Traveling has a new meaning now that we have been stuck at home for months,” says Myers. “We want freedom to explore and tap into that adventure again. One mustn’t be afraid to go at it alone. Solo traveling is such an experience that everyone should insert in their life: It really makes you dig down and find yourself in so many ways.”

So where are solo women going on these trips? Budget Direct Travel Insurance analyzed Instagram hashtags and geo-location data to uncover the most popular places around the world for women who travel solo. In its research, the company analyzed a sample of Instagram posts tagged with the #WomenWhoTravel hashtag, along with six other related hashtags (#travelgirlsgo, #shetravels, #solofemaletraveler, #damestravel, #citizenfemme, #solofemaletravel) to find out which places around the world women love traveling to the most. 

Looking at the data by country, the United States was the far-and-away winner. New York City made it the top spot in the U.S. for women traveling solo, followed by Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Chicago.

Read on for the top destinations in the U.S. for traveling solo, followed by the top destinations globally.

10 Top Destinations in the U.S. for Traveling Solo

  1. New York City
  2. Los Angeles
  3. San Francisco
  4. Las Vegas
  5. Chicago
  6. Honolulu
  7. San Diego
  8. Seattle
  9. Miami
  10. Washington, D.C.

50 Top Destinations in the World for Traveling Solo

  1. London, United Kingdom
  2. New York City
  3. Paris, France
  4. Singapore
  5. Rome, Italy
  6. Barcelona, Spain
  7. Los Angeles
  8. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  9. Gianyar, Indonesia
  10. Bangkok, Thailand
  11. Marrakesh, Morocco
  12. Lisbon, Portugal
  13. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  14. Budapest, Hungary
  15. Venice, Italy
  16. Istanbul, Turkey
  17. San Francisco
  18. Tokyo, Japan
  19. Badung Regency, Indonesia
  20. Prague, Czech Republic
  21. Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  22. Las Vegas
  23. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  24. Sydney, Australia
  25. Seoul, South Korea
  26. Tulum, Mexico
  27. Madrid, Spain
  28. Chicago
  29. Berlin, Germany
  30. Milan, Italy
  31. Vienna, Austria
  32. Jaipur, India
  33. Kyoto, Japan
  34. Florence, Italy
  35. Cape Town, South Africa
  36. Honolulu
  37. Klungkung Regency, Indonesia
  38. Chiang Mai, Thailand
  39. Athens, Greece
  40. San Diego
  41. Pak Nam, Thailand
  42. Denpasar City, Indonesia
  43. Toronto, Canada
  44. Delhi, India
  45. Seattle
  46. Miami
  47. Seville, Spain
  48. Mexico City, Mexico
  49. Porto, Portugal
  50. Seattle, Washington


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