My mother, then a naive 26 year old, tripped on an escalator in Berlin and was helped up by a kindly local who offered to get her cleaned up back at his apartment. She went. Nothing untoward happened and, after getting access to his first aid kit and a glass of water, Mum bid him goodbye and was on her way. It was the sixties and times were different she says. And yes, I was stupid, she says.
Still, the world my mother travelled alone was a different one to that which I travel. Distances are bridged by faster planes and video calls so that travel may seem not as lonely or as scary as it once was.
According to online hostel-booking platform Hostelworld, solo bookings by Australian travellers jumped by 31% between 2015 and 2017, with bookings by males up by 27% and females 36%.
The increase in female solo travel is not limited to Australia only, Hostelworld revealing bookings by female solo travellers up 45% since 2015 in comparison to a 40% increase for males.
“Seeing more Australian female solo travellers exploring the globe every year is very positive and we hope it will encourage more women looking for an adventure to put their backpacks on,” Hostelworld director of product Breffni Horgan said.
Looking at the top 10 destinations in 2017, Israel, Nicaragua and Macedonia were Australian women’s favourite, while Cuba, South Africa and also Nicaragua won Australian men’s hearts.
Australia remains a top destination for solo travellers, with a +18% increase in solo bookings in 2017. Interestingly, solo traveller bookings have increased in the most remote areas of Australia, namely Nimbin (+83%), Magnetic Island (+53%), Broome (+43%), Surfers’ Paradise (+32%), Byron Bay (+28%), Torquay (27%), and Margaret River (27%).
“From the best beaches to the sprawling national parks to the wide range of flora and fauna on show, it’s no surprise solo travellers are flocking to Australia to see the natural beauty it has to offer. Most people that travel solo do so to branch out and meet like-minded people from all cultures and walks of life, and Australian society is one big melting pot of rich diversities of cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious backgrounds.”
Hostelworld’s Top 10 travel destinations for female solo travellers in 2017*:
1. Israel (87% YoY growth)
2. Nicaragua (85% YoY growth)
3. Macedonia (54% YoY growth)
4. Sri Lanka (59% YoY growth)
5. South Africa (55% YoY growth)
6. Bulgaria (55% YoY growth)
7. Albania (51% YoY growth)
8. Guatemala (50% YoY growth)
9. Philippines (43% YoY growth)
10. Portugal (35% YoY growth)
Hostelworld’s Top 10 travel destinations for male solo travellers in 2017*:
1. Cuba (276% YoY growth)
2. South Africa (101% YoY growth)
3. Nicaragua (72% YoY growth)
4. Guatemala (61% YoY growth)
5. Albania (58% YoY growth)
6. Egypt (57% YoY growth)
7. Israel (57% YoY growth)
8. Georgia (46% YoY growth)
9. Philippines (45% YoY growth)
10. Jordan (44% YoY growth)
*based on YoY growth in number of bookings.