If you leave here, can he come too?

She's young, she's in charge of the purse strings and full of holiday ideas — she's why the menfolk take a back seat when it comes to planning a getaway.

HOW much would men travel if women didn't organise it for them?

A lot may have changed within gender roles over the past couple of generations but not when it comes to planning travel.

Women continue to be the chief and often sole decision makers for travel bookings, calling the shots on destination, type of holiday and how much is spent.

Is it because men give less priority to travel or because they are happy to let someone else do the planning for them?

Travel agent Vivien Davies, the manager of Harvey World Travel Sylvania, believes it's a bit of both.

"I think in general women are the organisers," she says. "And they seem to be the ones who want to have that time out and get away from everyday life.

"A lot of men wouldn't go anywhere [if women didn't organise it]."

Davies says with mainstream holiday bookings it is nearly always the woman who makes the decisions; "almost 100 per cent".

The exception is older couples booking luxury holidays, where it is more likely to be the man making the arrangements.

"In that bracket, when they do have that much money to spend, they [men] tend to have been real decision makers in whatever business they have been in ... and that follows through to making the decisions about travel," she says.

But even in this sector, Davies is seeing more female input, with men who would have once booked without consultation now being influenced by their partners' ideas or wishes.

Davies believes most travel marketing is aimed at women and ideas that are put into women's minds generally find their way into men's minds, too.

Demographer Bernard Salt, of KPMG, believes the travel booking divide largely comes down to women being the ones in control of the finances.

"Women tend to control the house budget and travel is an extension of that budget," he says. "I think women would argue they have a better understanding of the needs of their children."

Salt says general relationship politics are also at play.

"If you want to stay married, on these sorts of issues it's just easier [to go with the flow]," he says.

"It's also about the politics of trade in a relationship: 'You chose where we went on holidays, so now I can go to the footy."'

Salt agrees many men wouldn't take a holiday if women didn't organise it.

"I don't think a lot of men have much of a life outside of their work," he says.

"Men are not good at thinking beyond the work environment; it [travel] isn't high on their priorities."

While there is little available research comparing men's attitudes to travel with women's, there is plenty showing that women do prioritise travel.

Independent research commissioned by Contiki found women aged 18 to 35 put travel well ahead of other big purchases.

Asked what they most aspired to during the next three to four years, 91 per cent of respondents said that they aspired to travel overseas and 81 per cent said they aspired to travel within Australia, compared with just 64 per cent who wanted to buy a property and about 50 per cent who wanted to buy a car or a big-ticket item such as a home theatre system.

It is a similar story for older women, with research undertaken by Galaxy Research for Trafalgar Tours showing more than half of Australian women aged 40-plus are saving for their next holiday, giving it more importance than their material possessions.

At the top of the wish list for women in this age group are short breaks in the Pacific region and jaunts around Europe, with the majority hoping to visit Europe two to four times in their lifetime.

North America and Canada are on the wish list for a third of the women in this age group, while only a handful are interested in more adventurous destinations such as South America, Africa and the Middle East.

There is also plenty of research on why women prioritise travel, with relaxation and an escape from everyday routine consistently topping the list.

A survey by Expedia found 34 per cent of women choose relaxation-oriented holidays, while 21 per cent opt for independent travel and 11 per cent go on cruises.

Money matters

AUSTRALIAN women are responsible creatures when it comes to financing their travel.

A survey by lastminute.com.au found 50 per cent of women pay for their trips with hard-earned savings, while 40 per cent use a combination of savings and credit, paying off part of their trip when they return.

Only 6 per cent finance their travels solely on credit.

The average spend for Australian women is $4800 for overseas trips (flights, accommodation and insurance) and $1200 on domestic holidays.

jane@janeefraser.com.au

Comments