Going solo: Behold the lone woman traveller

Updated on Jul 07, 2022 06:31 PM IST

As the fascination for solo travel gets a boost in the post-pandemic world, increasing awareness, empowerment are encouraging more women to hit the road on their own

Kerala is one of the preferred destinations for solo women travellers (Photo: Shutterstock (For representational purposes only))
Kerala is one of the preferred destinations for solo women travellers (Photo: Shutterstock (For representational purposes only))
ByShruti Das

Gone are the days when women were told not to venture out alone, and travelling solo for them in a country like India was considered a brave feat. But with changing times, the trend of solo travel keeps getting bigger and better, especially in the post-pandemic world, thanks to the tourism and travel sector of our country, who are creating safer platforms for women.

Propelled by the pandemic

After two years of being confined to indoor spaces, solo travel is gaining momentum as people want to see the world and not wait for others. “The trend of women travelling solo in India has grown in recent years, and the pandemic encouraged it further. According to the survey we conducted a few months back, about 25% of women would like to go on a solo trip this year. In addition to this, as per our OYO Travelopedia Report 2022, most consumers have shared intent to head out on a solo trip this year as part of their 2022 bucket list this year,” shares an OYO spokesperson.

Chiming in, Aditya Gupta, senior vice president, Hotels & Holidays, Yatra.com, says, “In recent years, more women are looking to travel by themselves as it gives them a sense of empowerment.” And Rohit Khattar, founder, Ikigai: Your Travel Genie, a travel company which curates trips within and outside India, says, “I’ve been organising solo (group) trips for the last eight years, mostly for all-women groups. I’ve witnessed the number of women travelling solo increase exponentially over the years to the point that we have had to turn some women down as we were fully sold out.”

Rohit Khattar (extreme right) with a group of solo women travellers in Turkey
Rohit Khattar (extreme right) with a group of solo women travellers in Turkey

What are some of the places these women are sailing off to? “We, at Yatra.com, have seen an increase in demand for locations such as Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh and also destinations in the Northeastern part of the country like Assam, Meghalaya and Sikkim among others. We have additionally received queries for special tours to off-beat exotic destinations for women as well,” says Gupta.

In search of life-altering experiences

For Bengaluru-based Bhavya Chandrasekhar, it was the need to take a break from the monotony of her work life as an IT professional that led to travel solo. Being the mother of a seven-year-old never stopped her from chasing sunsets or backpacking with a group of strangers. “My husband has been pretty supportive of me because he knows I also need my time to have fun, go out and meet new people,” says Chandrashekar, who is currently pursuing interior designing and shares that travelling solo has helped her open up to new people.

Bhavya Chandrasekhar in Tso Moriri lake in Leh
Bhavya Chandrasekhar in Tso Moriri lake in Leh

Such life-altering experiences are often what these solo women travellers are in for with when they hit the road. When Delhi-based working professional Anindita Mukherjee set out on her first solo trip last month, little did she know that she would come back with a bag full of memories. “I was extremely burnt out because of my work, and also going through a heartbreak. So at that time, I literally felt like the mountains were calling,” says the 28-year-old, who chose Shimla, Himachal Pradesh for her first solo travel destination. “I connected with many strangers on this trip, and even made some friends,” she adds. Sharing a somewhat similar journey, 27-year-old journalist, Rituparna Sarkar from Delhi, too ventured into her first solo trip recently to come out of a low phase in her life. “I went to a small village, Dudhali, in Uttarakhand, and stayed at a very secluded locality -- which I got to know about from a friend. I was accompanied by a tour guide. I stayed there in a tent for a night. I did some trekking too, visited a temple, etc. The experience was out of this world.”

As a word of advice for fellow solo women travellers, Mukherjee says, “Carry pepper spray with you for safety. Also, keep hygiene products, medicines, sanitisers, etc. with you. It is advisable to have all your bookings done beforehand, and also check the reviews of the hotels or speak to the manager before you go. You can also book a local tour guide so that you don’t have to worry about your commute or sight-seeing within the city.”

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