Sometimes it’s just about the girls….
The travel industry has caught on to the fact that women are traveling more. In fact, Forbes Magazine says they do 80% of all the travel planning for the family. What is even more interesting is a recent trend in HOW they are traveling.
• 65% travel without their significant others according to a report commissioned for Booking.com.
• Forbes predicts a 2017 travel trend to be the growth of solo female travelers who will be taking advantage of a surge in women-only retreats and travel companies.
Why the rise in this women’s travel?
We’ve always had “girls’ trips.” Back in the 1950’s and 60’s housewives might have considered chaperoning the Girl Scout camping trip to be a weekend away from household duties. Thelma and Louise, while an extreme example, opened the door in 1991 to female empowerment as they escaped their problems and bonded on an “over the top” road trip. But what are we seeing today?
Women are recognizing the difference in their travel preferenes vs those of men, and embracing the benefits of traveling with other females. While nobody likes to stereotype genders, we can all agree that there are differences in how men and women view leisure travel.
Here are some facts from Travel and Leisure Magazine based on data from 75,000 travelers:
• Woman prefer exploring small US cities like Santa Fe and Charleston, while men prefer larger metropolitan areas like New York City.
• When asked about bucket list trips, women choose Europe while men pick Asia or Australia.
Data collected from other travel resources:
• Women like to explore new destinations and adventures while men are comfortable with the standard golf resorts and the type of amenities they get during business travel.
• Women book more cultural trips than men.
• Women are looking for more unique and interesting places to travel as opposed to making repeat visits to the same destinations.
Girls’ trips don’t replace family travel; they have a different purpose
Families are still traveling and we are seeing even more travel on the smaller school break periods. However, we are seeing the rise of additional travel by women. For years men have taken all-male hunting and fishing trips to rejuvenate and spend time with others who have similar interests. Women are now more comfortable seeking the same kind of experience. They like the bonding and relaxation of a girls’ getaway, and many are even seeking self-growth and escape through a solo trip.
What is the science behind the benefits of a “girls’ trip?”
There are many studies linking enjoyment of a trip to the experiences you have with travel companions or people you are visiting. In this age where much of our interaction with friends and long distance family is over social media or a cell phone, personal contact can seem a luxury. Women seem to inherently know that texting, emails, and even phone calls aren’t the same as being present with your girlfriends. When you share news whether it’s good or bad, you want to see the reactions on your audience’s faces. What builds and maintains close relationships are personal contact and shared emotions. And don’t forget that experiences from a trip together build memories that strengthen ties with your travel companions.
There is also scientific evidence that women benefit from spending time with other women. While it’s long been known that stress triggers a cascade of hormones in the body, a landmark UCLA study identified that the chemical reaction for women is different from men. Rather than sending us into a “flight or fight” mode, the release of the hormone oxytocin causes women to tend to our children and gather with other women. Drs. Laura Klein and Shelly Taylor coined the phrase “tend and befriend” to explain how women’s reaction to stress enables them to stay grounded in crisis.
So, what is making it easier for women to make these trips?
Single, divorced, and widowed women, are finding more options for safe and comfortable travel. While many are traveling predominantly to see other family members, they are also taking advantage of several recent developments:
• the increasing number of agencies that deal in tours for women only
• using the power of women’s groups (church’s, Red Hat ladies, book clubs) to take advantage of group rates and amenities
• discovering more solo traveler accommodations and activities
On the local scene— “Ladies Who Travel”
At Expedia CruiseShipCenters, we recognize that there is a growing number of women in our area who would like to travel more and are looking for a way to make that happen. Many married women are finding that occasional travel without their spouse or children allows them to return home re-energized both physically and mentally. Other women have husbands who either don’t want to travel to the same places, or maybe can’t take any more time off work. In recent years, we’ve seen an increasing number of active women who live alone and want to travel but don’t have travel partners. For all these reasons, we have formed a group of “Ladies Who Travel.” We have gathered for dinners together at Bistro Byronz, created a newsletter and database of interested ladies, and started a Facebook page. At our first meeting, we asked the women to complete a survey to give us an idea of their travel preferences which included destinations, budget, length of trip, and mode of transportation. Currently we are looking at a trip to New York City but also have some other ideas in the works. Ladies Who Travel is an opportunity for local women to meet others with whom they might travel as well as take advantage of group travel planning and rates. There is no cost to join and no commitment of any kind. For more information contact our office at 317-2882.