For female solo travelers in particular, there is a renewed appeal of organized adventures and this sector of the travel industry is back and better than ever. It is quickly becoming a popular alternative to all-inclusive resorts, ocean cruises and overcoming the stigma often associated with group tours.
Solo travelers are the strongest segment for TourRadar, a leading sustainable travel and adventure booking platform, and top destinations include Egypt, Asia, India and Indonesia with Vietnam, Thailand and Japan on the rise. In addition, TourRadar’s list of trips organized by female guides feature 98 female-led adventures ranging in duration from one to 28 days, featuring travel through many unique destinations including Kathmandu and Pokhara.
TourRadar co-founder and CEO Travis Pittman recently offered some insight into the company.
What type of demand is there for female-led tours?
Overall, 68% of our customers are women, and the percentage is exponentially higher when you consider that women are the primary travel decision makers. However, women are disproportionately represented in operator management and ownership and leadership. To help balance the scales, TourRadar is a proud supporter of wmnsWORK whose mission is to increase the economic ownership of women and non-binary leaders in our sector. In addition, many of our operators offer women-only adventures. For example, Intrepid Travel launched Women’s Expeditions and Insight Vacations launched its Wander Women tours, created by all-female teams and featuring women in key roles. We currently offer 98 female-led adventures through many unique destinations, including Kathmandu and Pokhara.
What prompted you to start TourRadar?
My brother and I left Queensland, Australia to live and work in London, UK. Our experience opened our eyes to the power of travel. We first founded Bugbitten, a pre-Facebook social networking platform for travelers to share travel photos together. The business enjoyed a small success and inspired a greater purpose in the journey. The idea for TourRadar was born out of a problem we faced. When trying to book a week-long Croatia sailing tour online through a US-based company, the process is incredibly cumbersome and risky. We had to spend ages searching websites, brochures and magazines, wire money to a company (that we weren’t even sure existed), find transport to and from the airport and drive around a foreign city to find the small office of the operator. Then we realized there might be a better, safer solution for this and decided to create TourRadar.
What are the benefits of booking with TourRadar?
Our adventure booking platform offers the largest selection of multi-day organized adventures around the world, helping people take advantage of and enjoy every opportunity that travel has to offer. TourRadar’s intuitive online platform seamlessly connects travelers and travel agents with 2,500+ operators, offering 50,000+ organized adventures in more than 160 countries worldwide. With 24/7 customer service, flexible booking terms and extensive insurance options, TourRadar gives travelers peace of mind. And the company’s Best Price Guarantee ensures passengers get the best travel experiences at the best prices. Committed to both our travelers and our environment, TourRadar has signed the Glasgow Declaration in an effort to promote positive change in the travel industry. We empower all travelers to see and offset the carbon impact of their adventures, and we work tirelessly with local operators to protect and strengthen the communities that benefit from adventure tourism.
Donnie Bellow, founder of A Girl’s Guide to the World, says requests for solo travel by women have increased tenfold since 2019. “I think the pent-up demand has always been there, but historically there have been very few opportunities for solo female travelers,” she explains. “The big travel companies either ignored it or thought that women’s travel was too niche. It takes companies like ours, who believe women should be empowered to see the world, even if they don’t have the perfect companion, to create compelling journeys just for women. Now that it’s successful, it seems like an obvious market. After all, 50% of all adult women in the US are single. Also, every day we hear from married women who want to travel but their husbands can’t or won’t.”
Belau divides the most popular destinations for solo female travelers into two main categories: iconic destinations such as Paris, the Amalfi Coast, the Greek Islands or Amsterdam, and dream destinations such as Morocco, Egypt, Japan and Bali.
According to Debra Asbury, president and founder of Women traveling together, travel options for solo female travelers continue to grow exponentially, primarily in the female-only tour niche market. This growth has paralleled the increasing financial independence of women who have come to realize that a travel partner is no longer a prerequisite for travel. The solo female traveler can prioritize her own interests, knowing that the other women she meets on tour will be like-minded, engaging, and have similar expectations.
She adds: “An under-appreciated segment of the solo female market is the over-50s looking for age-appropriate active travel. The active element for the 50+ solo female traveler puts less emphasis on hiking, biking and kayaking and more on things like learning how to make paella, dancing the tango, meeting a shaman or holding a baby alligator. Things that also engage the mind and move the heart and soul.”
A Women Traveling Together customer summed up this sentiment succinctly in response to a post on the company’s Facebook page.
“That’s why I chose Women Traveling Together to start, 80% self-joining part. I saw this statistic and it greatly influenced my decision. I didn’t want to travel with a group where the majority or even many already knew each other or came in pairs. If that were the case, it would be as if I were traveling alone; just more 3rd wheel experiences that aren’t fun in general, let alone on vacation. On both of my trips with Women Traveling Together, I met amazing women, some of whom I still keep in touch with. This wouldn’t have happened if I had gone in pairs or if many others had.’
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