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Wander Women Index: The Best Destinations for Solo Female Travellers

Wander Women Index: The Best Destinations for Solo Female Travellers

More and more women are taking the plunge and deciding to travel solo, ditching their friends, boyfriends, families you name it, and instead opting for a holiday decided specifically with them in mind. And why not? Travelling alone can be amazingly liberating: it can help improve your confidence, you’ll have amazing dinner party stories to tell, you’ll meet new people, and you get to explore the destinations you want to explore, without having to sacrifice your experience for anyone else.

Nearly two thirds of today’s travellers are women, and in 2017 Google searches for the phrase “solo female travel” hit an all-time peak of 100 million searches. Pinterest have also noted a 350% increase in women pinning solo travel ideas since 2014.

But knowing where to start can be daunting, especially given that there a lot of factors to consider when travelling alone that might not be at the forefront of your mind so much when travelling with others.

That’s where Ampersand’s newly launched Wander Women Index comes in. We have ranked countries from all over the world on a variety of factors in order to assess where in the world is best for solo travel for women. We look at factors that included safety, women’s rights, culture, scenery, adventure, and ‘Instagrammability’ – all factors that women claimed were important to them when they were considering travelling alone.

Coming out on top was Japan, which we were thrilled to see take the top spot, thanks to its low crime levels, its extensive collection of natural assets including Mount Fuji, the Takachiho Gorge, and Jigokudani (Hell Valley).

Our other popular destinations of Indonesia, Thailand and China also all ranked highly, taking the 5th, 13th and 19th spots respectively.

Click below to see the results:

 

                                        Credit: Header image provided by Freepik


The number one spot for the Wander Women Index was awarded to Japan.

Japan has over 30 national parks across its relatively small surface area, spanning various environments such as volcanoes, forests, beaches, and underwater marine habitats. The city of Nara, for instance, has become famous for its bowing deer: the Sika deer as revered as messengers of the gods, freely roaming the city, entering its temples, and bowing to tourists in order to get “deer biscuits”. They are the divine emissaries of the Kasuga Grand shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and have become a tourist destination in their own right.

Japan also scored highly thanks to incredibly low crime rate, which is always an important factor when travelling solo.

Following Japan, the top 10 countries are:

2. France
3. Spain
4. USA
5. Indonesia
6. Italy
7. Australia
8. Canada
9. Portugal
10. Philippines

France came second due to its high score for women’s rights, and the fact that it has closed almost 80% of its gender gap, placing it in the top 20 in the world. France also placed top 20 in the world for adventure, thanks to its pleasant climate, the natural beauty of the landscape, and how friendly the locals are.

We were delighted to see Indonesia place in 5th position, thanks to its large selection of scenic wonders, its high adventure score, as well as its Instagrammability. You only have to look at the Gunung Bromo to see why this makes sense.

Thailand and China also ranked highly, in the top 20, for a number of reasons: China ranks as one of the highest for safety and culture (due to the Great Wall of China, as well as the festive Chinese New Year that is celebrated all over the world, but obviously nowhere better than China itself). Thailand, on the other hand, comes in top for adventure and scenery; the country includes the beauty of the Phi Phi islands, the incredible architecture of Bangkok, and Khao Sok and Khao Yai National Parks, so this really isn’t surprising.

The results by continent are as below:

Best country for travel for those aged over 50 in Africa: South Africa
Best country for travel for those aged over 50 in Europe: France
Best country for travel for those aged over 50 in Asia: Japan
Best country for travel for those aged over 50 in North America: USA
Best country for travel for those aged over 50 in South America: Colombia
Best country for travel for those aged over 50 in Oceania: Australia

Methodology

In order to create our Wander Women Index, we used the following methodology. We analysed a variety of studies and surveys of solo female travellers, in order to find out what they deemed most important about a destination when travelling alone. The aspects we found to be important were:

- Safety
- Women’s Rights
- Culture
- Scenery
- Adventure
- Instagrammability
- Culinary Opportunities
- Volunteering

To identify what each destination had to offer we took the 2018 ranking of best destinations for solo travel and scored these against the above factors, utilising a variety of sources, including the official crime stats for each country, the gender gap report for 2017, the number of Instagram hashtags for each destination, and the culinary acclaim of each country. We also looked at the opportunities for volunteering in the country, as well as the number of oral and intangible heritage practises and expressions in order to gauge the cultural elements of the destination.  To assess the adventure element of each destination we used rankings from the 2018 Best Countries Ranking by US News.

You can view the data for each element in our table above. This data included our table relates to the following: 

- Safety (Crime rate)
- Women’s Rights (2017 Gender Gap Rate)
- Culture (Number of UNESCO intangible cultural heritage practices)
- Scenery (Travel and Tourism Competitiveness rating)
- Adventure (2018 Best Countries Ranking for Adventure)
- Instagrammability (Number of hashtags for country on Instagram)
- Culinary Opportunities (Number of cities included on 2017’s Best Cities for Food ranking)
- Volunteering (World Giving Index Volunteering Score)

For each of the above categories we used the above data to score each country from 1-5 (with 5 being the highest) and added these scores together in order to get our final Wander Women Index score, with a total of 40 being the highest available. We then ranked the countries based on their scores.

 

Sources:
https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/solo-travel-full-list
http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Crime/Crime-levels
http://reports.weforum.org/global-gender-gap-report-2017/results-and-analysis/
http://reports.weforum.org/travel-and-tourism-competitiveness-report-2017/ranking/#series=INTANGHERITAGE
http://reports.weforum.org/travel-and-tourism-competitiveness-report-2017/ranking/#series=EOSQ502
https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/adventure-full-list
https://www.caterwings.co.uk/caterers/best-cities-for-food-2017/
https://www.cafonline.org/docs/default-source/about-us-publications/cafworldgivingindex2017_2167a_web_210917.pdf



We had a wonderful holiday - everything was perfect. Thank you for helping us to make a thoughtful plan to enjoy and make most out of our trip. The places we visited, the guides, the transportation and driver, the hotels selected... Everything was great!
- Jaime Benitez, South India
I had a very lovely time and was looked after splendidly. My first visit to India could not have been better, save for being longer! But I shall return at some point and I shall look to you to make the arrangements.
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
Ampersand’s details preparation, attention to detail and interaction before and during our trip show exactly why good travel agents have a role in today’s internet/direct booking age. Shalmali was a delight to work with – before and during our trip.
- Mr David Wallace, North India
Everything you did for us whilst we were away was hugely appreciated, and Ampersand has been exemplary in every way. I'll always recommend you!
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
So many highlights to choose from! The hotels were amazing but Maya Villa was a highlight… I loved just hanging out in the hammock reading my book and watching the peacocks chase the cows!
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
We have been on expensive and luxurious holidays in the past, but the service and communication Ampersand has provided has far exceeded those offered by other agencies.
- Susan Ford, India
Without question, you put together the best trip I have ever taken. We were shown around like visiting dignitaries, the hotels were fantastic and the itinerary was just right. Everybody I know will hear about how amazing Ampersand is!
- Leslie Siben, India
Difficult to articulate just how good the service from you and your team really was. We know you will continue to do well and hope we have the chance to seek your assistance again before long.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India

From our Instagram

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Buddhism runs strong through the country’s veins - not only are 90% of the Burmese Buddhist, but many children are monks in training and call ancient monasteries home 🧘🏽‍♂️
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From mid May to mid October, The Ultimate Travelling Camp’s wonderful #ChambaCamp in #Thiksey (#Ladakh) will be open! 🏞
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Our specialists stayed at this one-of-a-kind luxury tented camp last year and adored it - we guarantee that you will too 🏕
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Set within an inviting oasis of elegant palms and eucalyptus trees, #Amanbagh stays true to its name 🍃(‘Peaceful garden’ in Sanskrit and Hindi) 🇮🇳
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✨Brand new blog post curated by one of our specialists: ‘5 Unmissable experiences in North India’✨
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Courtesy of the brilliant portrait photographer @rehahn_photography
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