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Dubai and Madrid Top Picks for Solo Women Travelers

According to a recent study by travel insurance company InsureMyTrip, Dubai, located in the United Arab Emirates, is the top city for women who travel solo. This ranking may come as a surprise, given the 2021 report submitted by Human Rights Watch to the United Nations, which detailed “significant discrimination against women and girls” in the United Arab Emirates.

However, the report also acknowledged that the country has implemented important women’s rights reforms in recent years.

Unsplash/Tania Fernandez | Madrid ranked second primarily due to its high scores for gender equality, quality of things to do, and absence of legal discrimination

Dubai’s first-place ranking is a significant improvement from last year when it was ranked eighth by InsureMyTrip. The insurance company evaluated 66 cities this year based on criteria such as cost, safety, gender equality, and tourism quality.

Seven European cities, including Madrid, Spain at No. 2, are among the Top 10 this year. The rest of the top five are Chiang Mai, Thailand at No. 3, Antalya, Turkey at No. 4, and Munich, Germany at No. 5.

Dubai secured the top spot due to several factors, including receiving the highest scores for safety when walking alone at night, as well as for its popularity on TikTok, the quality of things to do, gender equality, and lack of legal discrimination. InsureMyTrip’s marketing director, Sarah Webber, explains that there have been substantial efforts to improve gender equality and inclusion in Dubai.

In the 2020 Women, Peace, and Security Index, which assesses women’s inclusion, justice, and security, Dubai was ranked 24th out of 170 countries.

Unsplash/David Rodrigo | Dubai is ranked the top city for women who travel solo

InsureMyTrip advises that it is crucial to research Dubai’s laws and strict dress code before visiting, as women are required to dress modestly in public. Failure to comply with these rules may result in imprisonment and deportation.

Madrid ranked second primarily due to its high scores for gender equality, quality of things to do, and absence of legal discrimination.

According to InsureMyTrip, the least safe cities among the 65 studied are Johannesburg, South Africa, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Paris is also cited as one of the least safe cities, ranking third in this category.

The study analyzed six U.S. cities, with four of them – Orlando, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Los Angeles – ranking among the 10 least favorable cities for solo women travelers. Orlando scored the lowest due to its poor scores in categories such as daily travel costs, TikTok popularity, safety walking home at night, and gender-based attacks.

Unsplash/Victor | Madrid is known for its historical buildings and food markets

New York is the highest-ranked U.S. city in the study, coming in at 19th place, while Miami ranks 45th out of the 65 cities analyzed. New York received high scores for quality of things to do, gender equality, TikTok popularity, and absence of legal discrimination, but received low scores for daily travel costs and gender-based incidents.

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