What Are Major Trends in Solo Travel?

Travel

Skift Take

Solo travel has grown enormously in popularity in recent years, so here’s a look at the factors driving its boom as well as what solo travelers are interested in.

Travelers worldwide have increasingly expressed an interest in embarking on solo adventures in recent year. Skyscanner’s Travel Trends 2023 Report found that 54% of U.S. travelers were looking to venture solo within the following year.

So with the trend booming, what are the major trends in solo travel?

We asked our artificial intelligence chatbot Ask Skift the question. Ask Skift used information appearing in our past news coverage, and we also conducted additional reporting.

Ask Skift said:

There are several major trends in solo travel as of early 2024:

Digital Nomadism: With the rise of partial remote work, more people are traveling while working, contributing to the trend of digital nomadism.

Social Connection: Many solo travelers are seeking social connections during their travels. For example, about 66% of Hostelworld’s guests travel solo to meet people to hang out with. The company is even creating a brand focusing on the “loneliness segment.”

Personalized Experiences: There’s a growing demand for more personalized and independent travel experiences. For instance, more travelers are hiring a private driver and guide to design their unique tour. This trend is popular among young families and is seeing growth in the triple digits.

Adventure and Off-the-Beaten-Track Experiences: Adventure travel operators are seeing increased demand for private group trips and bookings during shoulder seasons. Additionally, travelers are showing an interest in itineraries that offer off-the-beaten-track experiences.

It’s important to note that these trends may evolve as the travel industry and consumer behaviors continue to adapt to changing global conditions.

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What else you need to know:

Skift reported in December 2023 that travel companies were seeing an increase in older, married women going on solo trips. Flight Centre, a travel agency that operates in dozens of countries, said the most common South African travelers booking with the company were women traveling solo, with an average of 52.

Meanwhile, Road Scholar, a Boston-based tour operator running educational group travel for older adults, noted a similar trend. Roughly 60% of the company’s 19,000 solo travel customers were married women not traveling with their spouses.

The widespread loneliness epidemic is helping drive the surge in solo travel among younger travelers, with a Gallup survey reporting that people between the ages of 19 and 29 reported higher levels of loneliness compared to adults over 65.

Tour operators such as Flash Pack and Much Better Adventures, which are largely geared toward travelers in their 30s and 40s, have emphasized the opportunities for those traveling solo to make connections.

As for where solo travelers might be heading to, Intrepid Travel said it’s seen solo travelers from North America increasingly book overland Central America and Africa trips as well as excursions in destinations such as Turkey, India and Nepal.

Regarding popular activities for solo travelers, Exodus Adventure Travels notes its walking and culture-focused trips are big hits with members of the segment while Explore says its walking and cycling tours represent 40% of solo traveler bookings. A study by digital publication Solo Travel World found 40% of solo travelers over the age of 55 are looking for more adventurous vacations while 54% of those under 55 are seeking the same.

Finally, cruise lines are looking to cash in on the booming sector. Norwegian Cruise Line announced last October it would introduce about 1,000 staterooms reserved for single passengers across its fleet of 19 ships, doubling the capacity of solo accommodations. Norwegian joined the likes of Celebrity Cruises, Oceania Cruises and Atlas Ocean Voyages, all of which offer activities for singles.

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Ask Skift Is the AI Chatbot for the Travel Industry

Go deeper into the business of travel with Skift’s new AI chatbot.

Ask Skift Your Questions

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