Yes, it’s true that women do call the shots when it comes to making travel plans. This was revealed in a recent travel survey by TripAdvisor on how women in Asia plan their holidays, the factors that guide them, and the influence they have in decision making. The data is based on responses from over 2,800 female travellers across Asia, including Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, India and Japan.

Asian women certainly love to travel. They feel that travel has made a positive impact on their lives, with 68% saying that travel has helped them learn about the world, and 33% saying that travel has changed the way they think and how they live their lives. Forty six per cent of Chinese women feel liberated when they travel, while 42% of Japanese women say travel makes them feel bold and gives them a sense of adventure. Forty six percent of Indian women and 36% of Indonesian women say travel gives them more self-confidence, while 40% of Singaporean women say travel makes them appreciate home more.

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, Tokyo. Japan on the whole is a safe country for women travellers. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

So, who pays for the travel bills and books the trips? Four in five Asian female travellers contribute financially, while half of them call the shots when planning and booking trips, compared to 46% who include their significant other in the planning process. Eighty three percent contributed financially to their last personal trip, with 27% saying they funded the entire holiday, including paying for their travel companions, while 32% shared the cost with their spouse or partner. Only 13% let their significant other pay for their holiday. So, how’s that for equal rights?

Even though they seem to be financially independent, Asian women are real deal hunters when it comes to travel, and 78% would go for “great deals or low prices” while 69% are influenced by what others day through “reviews on sites like TripAdvisor”. Half of Malaysian women are influenced by promotional travel packages, while 42% of Japanese women are influenced by frequent flyer miles and loyalty programmes.

What do travelling Asian women look for? Nature, food and culture are top of the list, with 65% being influenced by “nature”, 61% being persuaded by “good food and restaurants”, 56% being driven by “arts, history and cultural attractions”, and 48% choosing “beautiful beaches and islands”. Only 30% selected “good shopping” as an important consideration.

As for the top destinations Asian women plan to travel to this year, they are all close to home, namely, Japan, Thailand and Australia, and for these countries, the most reviewed cities by female travellers on TripAdvisor are: Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka for Japan; Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Patong, Phuket for Thailand; and Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane for Australia. The top choice for long-haul travel is the United States.

Patong Beach.

Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand is popular with women travellers. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/William Cho

What about the Asian women who travel alone? Well, they like doing whatever they want but are cautious. Of the Asian women who travelled solo on their last trip, 73% say it gave them a sense of freedom, 43% say going alone made for a less stressful travel experience, and 34% say they liked the challenge of stepping out of their comfort zone. Women in Japan are the most independent with one in five or 20% travelling alone on their last trip.

Safety is an important factor for solo Asian female travellers with 69% saying they avoid going out late at night, 56% avoiding quiet streets; and 37% avoiding wearing expensive items. Forty-three per cent of Chinese women have a habit of messaging someone on their mobile phone to tell them where they are as a precaution.

Asian women travellers infographic.