The pandemic may have slowed things down, but backpacking and hostel-style solo travel is once again on the increase especially among women.
Travel like a woman!
What is driving more and more women to travel on their own? Two Excelia Professors, Joëlle Lagier, Emeritus Professor of Marketing, and Nathalie Montargot, Associate Professor and Head of the Tourism Management area of research, worked with Magali Trelohan, a research-active Faculty member at South Champagne Business School, to provide an answer to this question.
The pandemic may have slowed things down, but backpacking and hostel-style solo travel is once again on the increase, according to the World Tourism Organization. And of those who choose this minimalist form of authentic meaningful travel, more than a third are women, with their numbers having doubled between 2014 and 2017. This rise in the number of female backpackers intrigued our researchers, who set out to understand why.
It so happens that online communities are contributing to this increase in empowerment, i.e. female autonomy and belief in their own abilities, through the creation of specific groups on Facebook and other forums. One such discussion forum is Voyager au féminin, on which a total of 2,268 messages were posted in a mere 6 weeks, between 15th September and 27th October 2019.
This empowerment takes several forms... intellectual, experiential and identity-based. Before and during the trip, with the support of the online community, female travellers can acquire a great deal of information to help them plan ahead and anticipate any risks faced specifically by women. Then, during the trip itself, based on everything they have learned, they can draw on their resources to act accordingly, taking control of the situation and finding solutions to any difficulties they encounter. This personal development continues even after the trip through the recounting of their experiences and how they benefitted from their travels, generating a kind of peer recognition of their new identity as a seasoned globetrotter.
By helping to break down gender stereotypes and fears, sorority is encouraging women to spread their wings!