Going Solo: A Survey of Those Who Prefer to Travel Alone

We decided to look at the phenomenon of solo traveller holidays and find out just why people choose to travel alone and where

they most like to go.

May 2018 • Jules Verne

Since 1978 we’ve been inspiring travellers to explore the world and enjoy authentic experiences. In that time, we’ve seen a rise in those who prefer to travel alone. We believe that this is a great way to travel, as it encourages interaction, but we wanted to find out a little more about the phenomenon – to really dig into the reasons why people choose to venture abroad without a social safety net. With this in mind, we conducted a survey.

Our methodology was to ask 500 members of the British public questions ranging from how often they travelled solo to which places they travelled to, making sure to find out their reasons for travelling alone. What we discovered was a wealth of information about solo travelling, and plenty of inspiration for those who are thinking about going it alone on their next holiday.

The Top Destinations for Solo Travel

The favourite destination chosen by solo travellers in our survey was Spain, and it’s easy to see why: the country is brimming with culture and blessed with beautiful beaches and natural areas.

India and the USA were the next most popular choices, and these were followed by New Zealand and Italy.

It’s not hard to see why these destinations top the list either - the ethereal promise of India, the Italian culture and cuisine, the adventure of the USA and the diversity of New Zealand means there’s something for everyone.

Who Chooses to Travel Solo?

Our survey found that more than a quarter of people (27.2%) travel solo more than once a year. In other words, this is a common way to take a break.

When it comes to gender, it’s the women leading the way with one in five (22.6%) travelling alone at least once a year and over a quarter (25.1%) every 1-2 years, despite almost 60% (57.2%) being married. Men are more shy about going alone with only one in ten (11.5%) admitting to doing it once a year and 14% less often.

One in three over 55s (30%) travel solo more than once a year although contrastingly, a quarter of 18-35 year olds are also regularly seeking lone adventures.

So, travelling solo is for the adventurer, regardless of age and gender.

Why Do People Travel Solo?

Delving into the psychology behind going it alone, we asked why people chose to travel solo. The most common reason was to visit places or take part in activities their partner/spouse has no interest in, showing that people are keen not to miss out on opportunities that may pass them by unless they go alone.

Freedom and flexibility, along with the chance to meet new people, were also high on the list of reasons for travelling solo, meaning that many respondents chose to recognise that this can in fact be a very sociable way to travel.

Why Don’t People Travel Solo?

When asked why they wouldn’t travel alone, people responded most often that it was because of fear. This ranged from the fear of getting lost to serious safety concerns, which might suggest that the best way to travel alone is with an organised group.

Loneliness and boredom were up there too, showing that respondents were worried that they might not be able to make friends. Perceived higher costs and potential health problems were also reasons given for not wanting to branch out and travel alone.

One respondent even said they wouldn’t do it because there would be no one to take pictures of them.

Where Do Solo Travellers Come From?

Sheffield residents are the most willing to go it alone, with 50% of participants from the city travelling solo at least once a year. This was followed by Edinburgh (47.1%) and Liverpool (38.1%).

At the other end of the scale, 47.1% of respondents from Bristol said that they never travel alone. Could this represent a North-South divide in terms of our willingness to get out there and travel on our own?

Conclusions

More and more people are choosing to travel solo, and this survey gives us plenty of insight into just who they are and why they do it. If you are interested in solo travel – or any other type of travel – feel free to browse through our tours for inspiration.