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Wilson, E & Little, DE 2005, 'A ‘relative escape’? The impact of constraints on women who travel solo', Tourism Review International, no. 9, pp. 155-175.

The abstract and pdf of the published article reproduced in ePublications@SCU with the permission of Tourism Review International

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Women in contemporary Western society have increased options, resources, and opportunities to access a greater array of tourism and leisure choices. Yet the freedoms women have to consume these choices, and to access satisfying leisure and travel experiences, may be constrained by their social and gendered location as females. Leisure-based research has shown that women tend to be more highly and intensely constrained in their leisure pursuits, particularly when these activities are undertaken out of the home or in the outdoors. Little research, however, has explored how constraints impact on women's experiences in a tourism context, especially when they travel “solo.” This article presents results of a qualitative, exploratory study of 40 Australian women's experiences of solo travel. In-depth interviews with these women reveal that constraints do exist and exert influence on their lives and travel experiences in a myriad of ways. Four interlinking categories of constraint were identified through a grounded approach to data analysis: sociocultural, personal, practical, and spatial. Further definition of these categories evolved, depending on where the women were situated in their travel experience (i.e., “pretravel” or “during travel”). The women's solo travel constraints will be presented and defined in this article, and practical implications for the tourism industry will also be discussed.

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