More women traveling solo, statistics show

And the trend doesn't seem to be ending anytime soon

For those who have seen the movie or read the book "Eat, Pray, Love," it might have inspired them to tour the world alone. Julia Roberts starred in the movie version, which shows the Hollywood actress traveling to Italy to learn more about taste, to India to learn more about spirituality and then to Bali where she found love and romance.

The concept of women traveling alone certainly isn't new, but according to the Travel Industry Association, it has gotten kind of trendy.

"It's the new trend in travel and, really, it's a no-brainer," said Ruth Yunker, who often travels alone and is author of "Paris, I've Grown Accustomed to Your Ways."

"Women hold the purse strings, so to speak, and we don't necessarily want to see and experience our travel destinations in the same ways men do," she said.

Undiluted experience

Evelyn Hannon, who's the publisher and editor of JourneyWoman.com, told NBC News that she loves to travel alone because she gets to do exactly what she wants to do.

"I don't pay too much attention to the people who say 'Ah, women should never go [by themselves],' " Hannon said.

"I can go where and when I want to. I don't have to worry about what someone else is interested in. My experiences are never diluted so it's a perfect situation for someone who thrives on potent travel adventures."

Here are some statistics that may explain why more women are traveling alone these days:

One major demographic that's growing within the United States is the number of women who are 35 years of age and older. According to the U.S. Census Bureau there are currently 28 million women who fall within this age group, which means more women in this age group are traveling as well.

Another reason more women are traveling alone is that 28% of married women made more than their husbands in 2011, which is a 17.8% increase from 1987. And salaries for women who graduated from college increased by 31% and salaries for men have only increased by 16%, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Larger chains

Based on advice from the travel website TRIP, lone female travelers should stick with the larger hotel chains instead of the smaller independently owned hotels. 

The creators of the site say larger chain hotels are often safer and have better security. Furthermore, many of them are better equipped with around the clock assistance to help you decide where to go and where to stay away from.

If you do decide to go with an independently owned hotel or a motel, be sure to select a room with an interior hallway, instead of a room that has doors that open to a parking lot or outside. It'll be safer.

Other experts say that you shouldn't travel to a particular destination at night. And wherever you're going or whatever you're planning to do, you should do it before night hits. 

The folks at SmarterTravel.com have some good travel safety tips too. Like never getting in an unlicensed cab and never taking food or drink from a stranger, no matter how friendly he or she might seem.

Solo travel expert and blogger Janice Waugh, wrote that women should be careful of other women while traveling. Not just men.

"Women often feel safer with other women. And when it comes to small-time danger, we probably are," she writes. "But there are also dangerous women who are just as capable of luring you into bad situations as men."

It's safe to assume that Waugh doesn't want women to be scared of every stranger; you just have to be extra careful when traveling since it's easy to let your guard down when you're having a good time.

Perfection not necessary

Yunker has some good tips as well.

She says the first step in traveling alone is simply getting the ticket and not worrying about the details. Sometimes, worrying about the perfect date, the perfect price and buying a non-refundable ticket will keep you from traveling to that place you always wanted to go.

Buy your ticket now and worry about everything else later on, she says.

And bring some currency from your destination country with you, says Yunker. This will keep you from scrambling around the airport looking for a currency exchange booth. When traveling alone it's best to get off the plane, grab your bags and head to your destination, she says.

And no need to buy a bunch of new clothes for your trip, says Yunker. It'll only make things more hectic for you.

"A suitcase packed with new clothes is a trip doomed to tears, trust me. The old clothes fit you now. You know without thinking how to look pulled together. The new clothes are uncomfortable. They don't go with anything yet. And they scream brand new traveler." 

Story provided by ConsumerAffairs.
Consumer Affairs

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