No one travel habit is better than the other, it’s just in good fun to compare them. Sound off in the comments section below with your own thoughts and experiences on male and female travel habits.
Women typically care more about what they pack, pack ahead of time, plan their outfits, and bring more items, while men typically wait to the last minute to pack and bring less.
There are tons of statistics out there to prove it: A recent SpringHill Suites survey noted that 54 percent of men pack within 24 hours of a trip, compared to 46 percent of women. When it comes to business travel, women list packing as the first thing they do, compared to men who list booking a hotel as the number one priority. And according to a report in the U.K.’s Daily Mail 91 percent of women admit to not wearing all of the clothes they pack. Women bring on average 36 items for a one-week vacation while men bring only 18 items.
G Adventures broke down their tour styles by gender and found that more U.S. men than women book the tour provider’s “Active” style tours that include hiking, trekking, cycling, and kayaking, as well as “Marine” style tours which include sailing, river cruises, and polar expeditions. Alternatively, U.S. women book more “Yolo” G Adventure tours, which are geared towards 18 to 39-year-old travelers, as well as “Local Living” tours, which focus on cultural experiences.
And there are some statistics to back this up, the Travel Industry Association of America reports that three-quarters of women between the ages of 20 and 70 take nature, adventure, or cultural trips.
Group Travel vs. Solo Travel
Whether it’s for safety reasons or just to have a stress-free vacation, women are more likely to book group tours than men. I spoke to a few group tour companies, and all see higher margins in female bookings. Orange Sky Adventures says 68 percent of their bookings come from females. Women account for 70 percent of bookings of smarTours trips.
G Adventures’ data also mirrors these industry norms with 63 percent of their U.S. travelers being female. More women (65 percent) have made solo bookings on G’s group tours in the past five years, which supports a noted rise in the number of female solo travelers on group tours.
I personally enjoy traveling with a companion, but when I travel alone I prefer doing so with a group so I don’t have to do as much planning. It also affords the opportunity to meet new people.
While this category is also based more on personal preference, I wanted to see if there are any overarching differences in the types of destinations men and women choose. While there is no concrete data on this, I thought G Adventures’ findings were interesting: More American men book trips to Antarctica and South America, while more American women book trips to Europe.
While plenty of men travel to Europe, there is something to be said for female attraction to the continent, like Girls Guide to Paris for example. The site offers advice on tours, special deals, unusual places to visit, restaurant reviews, and other tips for Paris. According to Forbes, the site will be expanding to other European cities due to its popularity.
Vacation Planning and Decision Making
The general consensus is that women make the travel decisions well over half of the time. Forbes reports that in the tourism and travel industry, women make 80 percent of the decisions, which is why a lot of the travel industry focuses on catering towards women.
Women are also more likely to be driven by their relationships when it comes to making travel plans: 64 percent of women take trips to visit family or friends, compared to 57 percent of men. Women also plan to travel with their family more than men. In the American Express Spending & Saving tracker, 74 percent of women made plans to travel with their family this summer compared to 68 percent of men. Women are also traveling more without their family: AAA reports that one in four women have taken a “girls-only” trip at some point in their life and 39 percent plan to do so at some point in the next three years.
In terms of planning, women dominate when it comes to research, but if a man is planning the vacation, the SpringHill Suites study found that men spend a little more time doing so—5.2 hours for men versus 4.6 hours for women. But, women spend more time preparing once a vacation is planned: 31 percent of men do nothing special to prep before a vacation, while only 14 percent of women do nothing.
G Adventures found a similar lead time in trip bookings between genders at three to four months in advance. But, G also found that more men than women book last-minute international travel, making plans less than one month before departure.
According to the SpringHill Suites study, men get more vacation days: 44 percent get three works or more, compared to 30 percent of women. The same study found that a man’s ideal vacation is over two weeks (52 percent) while a woman’s ideal vacation is under one week (61 percent).
But, just having more vacation days doesn’t necessarily mean men travel more. On average, women vacation every 10 months, compared to men who vacation every 12 months. A study by George Washington University School of Business reports that close to two-thirds of travelers today are women.
In stereotypical fashion, women do spend more when it comes to travel. According to a survey by International Currency Exchange (ICE), 15 percent of women are more likely to spend over $263 USD per day, in comparison to just five percent of men. Men are also more likely to save more before a trip (81 percent compared to 72 percent of women) and women are 10 percent more likely to take out a loan for the sake of a vacation, while men are more likely to charge everything to a credit card (ICE).
The same survey found that women spend more on clothes and duty free products, while men spend more on food and drinks. The American Express Spending & Saving tracker found that women also spend more on tours, activities, and excursions than men. Women spend more of their vacation shopping (27 percent of travel agents believe shopping and sightseeing are the top activity for women while traveling) and they are more likely to shop for locally made goods (45 percent) compared to men (36 percent) as found in a study by Mandala Research.
Women also make up 54 percent of the affluent traveler bracket, making over $250,000 per year, which is a large increase from 2010 when they made up only 42 percent, according to MMGY Global. But, women are also more likely to feel guilty about spending money on vacation: the SpringHill Suites study reports that 64 percent of women feel guilty, but only 41 percent of men do.
Interestingly enough, G Adventures found that more U.S. women book budget-friendly trips (under $1,000 USD) while men book more expensive trips that are over $5,000 USD. They also found that men spend an average of $220 USD more on total booking costs (about $18 per day). I think this has to do with men wanting everything included in a tour if they choose to book travel with a tour company.
Email and Social Media Use
SpringHill Suites found that while almost half of Americans (47 percent) check their email while on vacation, men tend to check it more often—43 percent of men versus 28 percent of women.
When it comes to social media, women check their accounts more on vacation at 69 percent versus 53 percent. And, if given the opportunity, 37 percent of men said they would give up social media for six months for their dream vacation compared to just 24 percent of women.