The solo female travel experience: exploring the 'geography of women's fear'

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Publication details

Wilson, E & Little, DE 2008 'The solo female travel experience: exploring the 'geography of women's fear'', Current Issues in Tourism, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 167-186.

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Increasingly, it is recognised that the qualities of human experience are informed not only by the physical world, but also by our understandings of the social constructs that shape our realities. This broader way of thinking allows a conception of space as metaphorical and relational, rather than merely as a physical location or a singularly definable absolute. Drawing from leisure theory on constraints, feminist discourses on leisure/tourism, and the work of 'new' cultural geographers, this paper empirically explores Valentine's (1989) concept of the 'geography of women's fear', as it applies to solo international travel. In-depth interviews with a group of solo female travellers revealed that these women perceived travel fears relating to others' perceptions, a susceptibility to vulnerability, a sense of restricted access, and a feeling of conspicuousness.

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