Academy of Marketing Studies Journal (Print ISSN: 1095-6298; Online ISSN: 1528-2678)

Research Article: 2021 Vol: 25 Issue: 1

Emerging Dimensions of Women Leisure Traveler: A Review of Motivation and Psychographic Factors

Isha Singh, Shri Ramswaroop Memorial University

Devashish Das Gupta, Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow


Working woman tourism in the last few decades has become an important topic of study in context to Women Consumer decision making (WCDM). In current scenario, due to changes in the socio-demographics and working women psychographics this topic becomes significant. This study tries to map the changes in factors influencing working women decision-making regarding leisure travel. Findings show changes in women's personality traits, motivation, and decision-making regarding leisure travel. Based on this review it is evident that women’s travel behavior is also influenced by cultural identities. However, existing literature has also demonstrated that the men in the current era are supportive of their spouses in parenthood responsibilities. Thus, women today represent around half of both leisure and travel markets. They are no longer the family traveler despite being married and having kids. This paper provides a consolidate view from the industry as well as academia and also makes suggestions that would help to recognize who exactly these working women are showing interest in all sorts of traveling and becoming one of the important bunch of traveling customers who are not being so focused by the tourism industry.


Leisure Pursuits, Women Traveler, Working Women Traveler, Young Women Traveler, The Demography of Working Women.


Leisure is generally thought of as a category of activities that are nonproductive economically and which is typically done for their own sake (Larson et al., 1994). According to (Tinsley & Tinsley, 1986), leisure activity is the only source of satisfaction, where differences occur since different people have different leisure needs. Furthermore, not all leisure activities can satisfy all leisure needs at all points in an individual's life (Tinsley et al., 1977). Iso-Ahola (1980) discussed in their research work that people may choose specific leisure behavior to satisfy their needs. Further, they mentioned that needs change during different periods with changes in contexts and roles. As a result, individuals add and delete leisure behaviors from their leisure repertoire across the life span.

Engagement in leisure activities provides an alternative for regenerating and sustaining a sense of well-being and for satisfying psychological needs such as self-actualization, affiliation, power, altruism, and independence (Miller, 1991; Tinsley & Kass, 1978). Leisure is defined as free time which is defined as ‘time away from unpleasant obligation’. Stebbins (2001) distinguishes three types of leisure: serious leisure, casual leisure, and project-based leisure. Serious leisure can be classified into career volunteering, hobbyist activities, and amateur pursuits. Casual leisure is fleeting and offers no 'leisure career'. Project-based leisure is free time dedicated to a leisure project. This type of leisure is fixed in time, unlike a hobby. Leisure domain also includes a fourth domain and, that is leisure travel (i.e. tourism). Leisure travel takes place outside one's normal environment. It includes at least one overnight stay elsewhere (UNWTO & Council, 1995). In the past leisure and tourism were seen as rather distinct subjects. Leisure and Tourism have been conceptualized by (Moore et al., 1995) for getting a better grasp of the synthesized behavioral understanding of the two disciplines. Distinctions between Tourism and experiences in daily life have become less apparent due to introduction of similar experiential interventions in leisure. Thus, Tourism should be regarded as a specific type of leisure activity. Experiences that were once confined solely to tourism are now accessible in everyday life (Urry, 1994). As a result, tourism has very much become an integral part of life (Ek et al., 2008; McCabe, 2002).

Research about women and leisure for years has been in cultural, theoretical or methodological perspective. Leisure has long been framed within the notion of time and, the impact of time pressure on women’s lives was analyzed related to the pace of society. For example, (Henderson & Hickerson, 2007) also described the feelings of being out of time and its implications on the quality of women’s lives. Similarly, (Fullagar & Brown, 2003) in their secondary analysis about women and their health revealed how the temporal qualities of life influenced meanings and how leisure should be an opportunity to resist social time pressure. (Cartwright & Warner-Smith, 2003) found women were dissatisfied with the amount of time they had, resulted in health deterioration and that leisure could treat this problem. The social factor of technology also had implications on women's leisure. Due to the highly gendered nature of digital gaming, many females remained less likely to participate (Crawford, 2005). In a study of gambling, (Walker et al., 2005) found men identified with the rush while women gave primacy to emotions and escape from some of the demands in their lives. Over a period of time research on women and leisure has moved beyond gender differences.

This empirical literature review is mainly based on exploring the profile of the female leisure travelers and their motivation to travel. For this study research studies from primary English language refereed journals have been surveyed, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Leisure Research, Annals of Leisure Research, Leisure Sciences, Annals of Tourism Research, Tourism Management, Tourism and Hospitality management, Tourism Review, International Journal of Tourism Research, Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Management, Journal of Vacation Marketing, Current issues in Tourism have been the major contributors.

Trends in Leisure Behavior

Since 90s women and leisure has been studied. More importantly there was the existence of gender differences in choices of leisure which was demonstrated by “one size doesn’t fill all” (Henderson, 1996). Emotions and Personality traits have been decisive variables in selection of leisure type amongst both the genders. Impact of culture could also be sensed in the type of leisure planning and execution in Asian countries (Schütte & Ciarlante, 2016). To explain about trends in leisure behavior, Table 1 explores the trends previously described by the authors.

Table 1 Trends in Leisure Behavior
S.No. Types of Leisure Leisure Motivation Demography Author & Journal
1. expressive–instrumental dimension-Dance, Literature &Writing, Shopping & Fashion, and Socializing was low and more valued by women as per LIQ (Leisure Interest Questionnaire) analysis active-passive dimension - Hunting & Fishing, Computer Activities, Building & Restoring, and Team Sports were usually physical, analytical, and instrumental was higher and more valued by men Regenerating and sustaining a sense of well-being and for satisfying psychological needs such as self- actualization, affiliation, power, altruism, and independence Origin: North American
Sample size: 407 Age: 16-44 years Gender: 50% Male, 50%
(Hansen &  Scullard, 2002) Journal of   Counseling Psychology
2. Asian: shopping, group cycling, traveling abroad for learning golf, scuba diving For Asia and Western: jet skiing, ice skating, bungee jumping For Confucian Asian Family: group engagements, learnings, status elevation or equalization
For Asia and Western
country – relaxation, escapism, fun/pleasure
Confucian Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Indonesia, etc) (Schütte &  Ciarlante, 1998) INSEAD Euro-Asia center
3. Hunting & Fishing, Computer Activities, Building & Restoring, and Team Sports are more valued by men Leisure, Relaxation, pleasure, fun, escapism Origin- Texas Sample size: 248 male, 242 female College students (Spence et al., 1975) Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
4. Team sports, electronics, chess, computers/hacking, repairing things, and computer or video games are endorsed by men. talking to friends, aerobics, sewing/knitting, dancing/going to clubs, and shopping
are endorsed by women
Relaxation, socializing, well being Women Origin: Canada (Twenge, 1999) Psychology of women quarterly
6. a)  Fatherhood typically results in significant increases in total work time and significant reductions in leisure time for men compared to what in the 1970s.
b) Men have higher levels of participation in sport and 7. physical activities.
c) In cultural participation and informal outdoor recreation, there is a less overall difference in participation levels between men and women.
d) When the frequency of participation is taken into account, men are shown to have a lower volume of activity of exercise, recreation and sport activities
than women.
Socializing, recreation and wellbeing for women
Relaxation, wellbeing, and escapism for men
Origin: Australia Age: 15-75 years (Veal, 2011) Annals of Leisure Research
7. Physical activity, traveling, recreation and sports Personality plays a strong role in predicting what individuals seek to derive from their free time Origin: North America
Sample: 2 major universities students
(Barnett, 2013) Journal of Leisure Research
8. Social and interactive activities followed by all eating activities are more likely to be planned and executed by females vs. men more likely plans and executes active activities. Women – social, self- actualization
Men – Individual identity
Origin: Spain Sample size: 165 Age: <30 -37.4%,
30-39 - 32.4%, 40-49 - 17.9%,
50-59 - 10.6%, >60 - 1.7%,
Gender: 49.1%, female and 50.9% male Qualification: 69.8% working, 24.6% studying Occupation:
(Ruiz & Habib, 2016) Transportation Research Part A
9. Physical activity
Recreational activity
Emotions and escape from life demands, self-determination Origin: American Sample: Integrative review on adult
Women from the year 2001-2005
(Henderson &  Hickerson, 2007) Journal of Leisure Research
10. Serious Leisure- Mountain climbing Commitment, identity development are constructs Personal rewards, social rewards, and financial returns are latent constructs 438 mountain climbers
70% were male
(Lee & Ewert, 2019) Annals of Leisure Research
    Intrinsic motivations - personal and social rewards.
Introjected motivation External motivation and Motivation

There is an overview of men and women as a participant in different leisure activities from dance, literature, shopping, and fashion to physical activities and recreational activities Table 1. It also presents that, in 20s fatherhood leads to a lack of leisure time for men compared to the 1970s. The women are expanding steadily in terms of choosing leisure activities. This project the observable growth of women's participation in recreational activities across the globe. The cultural aspects also play an important role in leisure participation. The difference exists in the choice of leisure amongst different country people due to cultural differences. There is a scope of some work on the impact of cultural differences amongst the two countries.

Leisure Pursuits of Working Women and Constraints of Leisure Pursuits

In the '80s and '90s Western culture girls and women have tended to be socialized to certain culturally acceptable roles such as homemakers and are expected to take most responsibility for childcare (Mitten, 1985; Summers, 1994). In a similar vein, (Warren, 2004) also noted that the outdoors is not automatically an egalitarian environment and women can struggle to find the outdoors accessible (financially, socially or personally), welcoming or matched to their learning preference. Most popular; leisure activities among the women in (United States, (2013) 48% - Reading 42% - watch TV, 23%- spending time with families and friends, 18% - Computer/ Internet, 11% - watching TV and going to the movies, 10% - walking, running, jogging, 10% - exercise/working out, 9% - gardening, 8% - playing video games and computers/internet games, 7% - sewing/needle/quilting (Haggard & Williams, 1992) observed in their survey that women expressed themselves by participating in recreational activities which reflects a specific set of character traits or self- images, for instance, backpacking, outdoor cooking, and kayaking were perceived to convey self-images such as fun-loving, adventurous, like scenic beauty, naturalist, outdoorsy and social. In a similar vein, (Nisbet et al., 2011) concluded that women may feel conflict of roles as they struggle to fulfill their socialization to be caring, nurturing, and compassionate, while also seeing a need to be aggressive, self-reliant and risk-taking when pursuing outdoor activities. In the words of (Bird, 2003) CEO of, work-life balance does not mean an equal balance between professional and personal life. It is a careful synchronization of an individual's varied pursuits that may include family, work, leisure, social obligations, health, career, and spirituality. While some of the pursuits need greater attention, others may require lesser focus. Working women leisure travel choices depends on their personality, attitudes, values, and lifestyle which incorporates new experience, meeting people, places, traditions, cultures. These are closely connected to psychology i.e. motivation for traveling, individual needs and satisfaction.

Women Leisure Travel

Demographic segmentation of a female traveler

An enhanced understanding of women as consumers of travel, or as ‘gendered tourists’ (Frederick & MacLeod, 1993; Gibson, 2001), is vital given estimates that today women represent around half of both the leisure and business travel markets, respectively (Chiang & Jogaratnam, 2006; Henderson & Hickerson, 2007). It is believed that since long women's leisure has been constrained, as it is intricately woven with family resources, time, obligations, childcare, men's power, and control. Now the 20th-century females are changing in their approach towards the tourism, Women of all ages traveling for leisure and business purposes have grown into an economic power to be reckoned with and comprise a significant segment of the tourism market (ĆURČIĆ et al., 2009). Furthermore, this trend of female travelers is only projected to grow (Li et al., 2016; Trauer & Ryan, 2005).

As discussed in Table 2. Where, it provides some inputs on demographic segmentation out of few of the latest research done on women traveler, which shows that the women today are independent well educated, well paid and free to think independently for their leisure travel that how, when and with whom they want to travel. (Chiang & Jogaratnam, 2006) has discussed the Asian solo traveler who is growing in terms of job profile and income to decide their leisure travel plan. Thus, this influences their leisure motivation scale based on lifestyle and values to lead by their socio-economic status. Globally women today are traveling with their family, friends, solo or with other women for leisure purposes. The demographic description shows that the women involved in leisure travel are generation X, Y and baby boomers. A list of travelers is married, educated and mostly employed.

Table 2 Demographic Factors and Their Relationship with the Type of Traveler
Researcher Demographic Factors Type of Women Leisure Traveler
(Barlés‐Arizón et al., 2010) Tourism Review Age & Marital Status: Married or living with a partner, 81% are between 31-60 years. Traveling with family
Education: 55% educated
Occupation: 87% working – 47.6% are employee, 3% businesswomen, 1% of professionals
Income: 59.6% has 1000-200 Euros
(Small, 2016)
Annals of Tourism Research
Age & Marital Status: women in their 20’s Traveling with friends and family
Education: tertiary educated
Income: middle – class
(Berdychevsky et al., 2016)
Tourism Management
No. of participants: 83 Traveling with other women, no matter the details.
Age & Marital status: 21-87 years
34 married; 23 were single; 13 widowed; 11 divorced
51 had at least one children
Education: 26 women completed PG;
18 completed high school; 31 has completed a college degree
Occupation: 35 fully employed, 27 were retired
(Chiang & Jogaratnam, 2006)
Journal of Vacation Marketing
No. of participants: 194 Solo women traveler
Age & Marital status: 18-36 years;
33- Married; 157- Unmarried
Education: 73 bachelor degree; 55 no bachelor degree; 64 master degree and higher
Occupation: 35 fully employed, 27 were retired
Income: 68.6 % of respondents earns
less than $ 30,000 annually
(McNamara & Prideaux, 2010) International Journal of Tourism Research No. of participants: 228 Solo women traveler
Age & Marital status: 20-65 years;
33- Married; 157- Unmarried
Education: 73 bachelor degree; 55 no bachelor degree; 64 master degree and higher
Occupation: 25.2% professionals;
21.7% students; 9.7% self-employed

Leisure Travel Motivation

Since motivation is starting point of the consumer decision process and an important construct for understanding tourist behavior, it became a widely investigated concept for many years by academics in the field of tourism and travel. The shifts of consumer motivation to tourist motivation as the study of (Pizam, 1999), who defined tourist motivation as

“A set of needs, which predispose a person to participate in a tourist activity”.

Another definition of motivation in the tourism and travel context was offered by (Dann, 1981):

"A meaningful state of mind which adequately disposes of an actor or group of actors to travel, and which is subsequently interpretable by others as a valid explanation for such a decision”.

The Beard and Ragheb Leisure Motivation Scale are derived from the work of (Maslow, 1970), and relate to similar work within recreation studies where recreation is concerned with re- creating and finding self (Baldwin & Tinsley, 1988; Smith & Godbey, 1991; Tinsley, 1986) are:

1. An intellectual motive: which "assesses the extent to which individuals are motivated to engage in leisure activities which involve, mental activities such as learning, exploring, discovering, thought or imagining"

2. Social component: "assesses the extent to which individuals engage in leisure activities for social reasons. This component includes two basic needs, the need for friendship and interpersonal relationships, while the second is the need for the esteem of others".

3. Competency – mastery component: in which individuals seek "to achieve, master, challenge, and compete".

4. Stimulus avoidance motives: which "assesses the drive to escape and get away from over- stimulating life situations”.

The Primary motivation for leisure travel is to escape and take a vacation from everyday life. Leisure travel is often characterized by staying in nice hotels or resorts, relaxing on beaches or in a room, or going on guided tours and experiencing local tourist attractions.

The Female Traveler and Their Motivation

As per our previous discussion on the Leisure motivation and the change in the women traveler socioeconomic status we are going to further discuss how these women comply with the leisure motivation scale which is being derived out of Maslow's (1970) work as discussed in Table 3.

Table 3 Motivational Factors for Being a Type of Traveler
S. No. Type of Traveler Motivation
1. Traveling with family As per (Barlés-Arizón et al., 2013) Women travel with family for the following reasons: as a vital support system for missionary work immigration imperial adventures diplomatic support, or civilizing the frontier
2. Traveling with Girlfriends To have fun, play games, act stupid and to “be silly, giggly, and girly” (Berdychevsky et al., 2016).
3. Traveling with other women no matter with details The reason for joining other women are: protects female travelers from feeling conspicuous, excluded, and isolated in the couple- and family-oriented holiday spaces (Heimtun, 2010; Heimtun & Jordan, 2011)
4. Solo travelers 5 motivational dimension has been derived by (Chiang & Jogaratnam, 2006) are: Experience Escape Relax Social Self-esteem
5. Backpackers Motivational dimension is: 1. Emancipation
2. Existential
3. Authenticity
4. self-making (Obenour, 2005)
6. Business Traveler The reason for their being traveler are: 1. comfort and relaxation
2. being valued
3. empowerment associated with a sense of independence
4. wellbeing (Brownell, 2011)

An Intellectual Motive

There are women, especially young employed, single females, whose leisure interests and concerns are not home-based nor less active than their male counterpart (Deem, 1986). Women are more likely to be searching for cultural and educational experiences with security being a priority (Mieczkowski, 1990). A woman is more likely to travel on a package tour or visit a destination for shopping or to visit friends and relatives (Uysal et al., 1996). As (Bond, 1997) argued, solo women travelers are in search of adventure, learning, new experiences, and self-awareness. They represent a growing and influential market segment. Women think of a solo trip for leisure purposes "Experience" motivation should be important because it can allow them to explore the world and learn new things (Chiang & Jogaratnam, 2006).

A Social Component

The girlfriend getaway market represents a significant amount of money – 4% all U.S. travel spending, which is almost $200 million a year. 24 percent of American women have taken a girlfriend getaway in the past three years, and 39 percent of American women plan on taking one in the next three years. Source: AAA Girlfriend Travel Research Project #070005. Moreover, today women are building activities: spa, wine, dine, and shop, - “have fun, play games, act stupid” and to “be silly, giggly, and girly” (Berdychevsky et al., 2016).

A Competence-Mastery Component

Women today are competent in travel choices like, western women report more freedom to select among various lifestyles (as opposed to settling into the default “caregiver” role) and, thus, the increasing numbers of affluent, well-educated, discerning, adventurous, and confident female travelers require recognition as important customers (Brownell, 2011; Li et al., 2016; Ryan & Trauer, 2005). As per Gibson et al. (2012), not only do all-female trips represent a cultural shift but women's aspiration for adventure, challenge, excitement, and independence in their tourist experiences is a noticeable trend. The heuristic theme behind solo women traveler motivations is to extend oneself through challenge and independence.

A Stimulus Avoidance Motive

Today women are working and single or married and having a family they are highly occupied, thus there is stimulus avoiding motives arising into them like: Some women feel more reserved around their husbands and families than around their female friends and they feel like they can relax, let their hair down, and act silly on all-female trips (Berdychevsky et al., 2016). Research suggests that women’s motivations for independent travel relate to the desire to challenge themselves, find a sense of autonomy and self-determination, meet new people and/or extend themselves ‘out of their comfort zone’ (Loker-Murphy & Pearce, 1995; Jordan & Gibson, 2005; Wilson & Little, 2005). Thus, this helps us to identify how women have grown in getting motivated in her choices of leisure travel and how they have grown to be in the list of different types of travelers with their more or less similar reasons.


The lack of research on comparison analysis amongst women travelers to identify who are these travelers forms the stimulus of this review, which intents to provide an overview of the contemporary travel experiences of women across the globe. Women have challenged the gender stereotype in which women are often seen as lacking independence and more inclined to travel in groups due to safety concerns. These accounts suggest that tourism space is more than a physical construction; it is a site for power negotiation (Aitchison, 2000). Thus the literature provides the demographic segmentation of women travelers based on age, marital status, education, occupation, and income. Furthermore, what motivates a woman to be any type of traveler is being articulated. Regarding types of women travelers five classifications were found:

1. Traveling with family

2. Traveling with friends

3. Solo traveler

4. Backpackers

5. Business traveler

Table 4 explains the impact of psychographic variables on leisure travel motivation considered by the researchers to date as per the reach of review articles. The journals like Annals of Leisure Research, Annals of Tourism, Leisure Sciences, Tourism Management, and Current Issues in Tourism are some of the targeted journals for the review.

Table 4 Research Gaps
S. No. Constructs Variables Sources Gaps
1. Motivations for leisure travel Social component Intellectual motive Stimulus avoidance Competency mastery Leisure identity Marital status (Khoo-Lattimore & Prayag, 2018; Khoo-Lattimore et al., 2019; Mirehie et al., 2018; Yang et al., 2017),
(Uysal et al., 1996), (Cohen, 2011), (Gibson et al., 2012), (Schänzel, 2013), (Berdychevsky et al., 2016)
No significant work has defined the type of occupation among working women travelers
2. Decision making for leisure travel Change in travel style Socioeconomic status Destination safety Time constraints Marital status Interpersonal Influence (online marketing and technology impact) (Wu et al., 2011), (Wu et al., 2011), (Khoo-Lattimore & Mura, 2016), (Mu & Nepal, 2016), (Iversen & Jacobsen, 2016), (Munar et al., 2015) Few works on geographical and cultural differences

As there is significant growth in women's leisure travel there is a need for more studies, to identify types of women leisure travelers who are changing the identity of women from being a follower to the individualistic travelers. Hence, understanding the needs and priorities of working female leisure travelers would be an important underpinning for tourism marketing initiatives. This paper adds to the literature on women's change in personality and its impact on their leisure travel decision making and becoming a different type of travelers. Therefore, the scope exists for articles correlating working women's change in personality, attitude, and lifestyle with a change in sociodemographic traits towards leisure travel.

Asia is gaining significance as a tourist generating continent. It is predicted that more than 50% of the growth in global travel traffic will come from the Asia-Pacific region by 2030 (Yang et al., 2018), majority of travelers come from China, India, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea, with China being the main contributor (Liu et al., 2013). China leads global outbound travel, showing US$292 billion in tourism expenditure, an increase of 25%, in 2015 (UNWTO, 2016). For this reason, there should be more research on the comparison of western and Asian travel market calls for more research on the Asian travel market.

Our study also found the different trends in leisure behavior country-wise. Asian researchers are growing significantly to talk about working women leisure choices and travel as a leisure choice with the rise in women travelers worldwide. Asian female traveler has transformed from a silent following wife to an enthusiastic traveling wife (Yang et al., 2017). The shift in traveler profile as particularly prominent in the twentieth century where massive social transformations and feminist movements had taken place, though in different forms and with progress in the West and different Asian societies.

Scope for Future Research

As discussed, women traveler makes up a large segment of travel market and their participation in tourism is booming in the rising tourism market. Hence, identifying who are these women leisure traveler and understanding their needs and priorities would be an underpinning to tourism marketing initiatives. Hence, the scope for future research work could be based on the followings:

Analyzing Lifestyle and Travel Behavior of Female Executives

There could be research work on their choice of travel pattern that whether they are family traveler, girlfriend traveler or solo travelers. Also, many of them are married and having children as well, thus there could be work done on the difference in the impact of being single, married, and having children on their travel choices and behavior.

How Culture Affects Being a Solo Traveler for Women

As traveling patterns differ in a different culture as per geographic segmentation, because there are women who are earning equally good as executives but are not valiant enough to travel solo may be because of a cultural environment in which they are living.

Finding the Role of HR and Organization for Managing Travel Plan of Working Women

As they are working in a big organization thus, they are having huge job responsibilities on their shoulders which may lead to not getting time for traveling, this may help in knowing that how the organization thinks about employees getting a proper work-life balance to perform their best. Cross-Cultural Comparison of the image of different destination perceived by the difference in the industry of working women. This could help in understanding the difference in various industries of executives and to compare their destination choices based on the kind of organization they are working with.


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