Solo travel is one of the fastest-growing tourism segments with one in four people expected to take a solo adventure in 2019. According to Solo Traveller, the number of people Googling "solo travel" has increased by a staggering 40% in just two years. While solo travel has always been popular for younger people on gap-years and backpacking adventures, solo travellers are actually a much wider demographic.
Women are leading the way for solo travel, with a recent survey showing that over 72% of women are likely to travel alone. Solo travel was once perceived as a risky activity for females, however it is now an exciting adventure that is empowering women all over the world.
It's now easier than ever for women to visit exotic overseas destinations, with improvements in accessibility, safety and a growing global community that provides inspiration and support. With more flights, tours and accommodation being available too, solo travel is now easier, safer and hassle free.
CEO and Director of TravelOnline, Glenn Checkley believes that women should feel empowered to travel and explore the world.
"I personally love the concept of solo travel and it's something I would support my daughter in doing. It's character building and there is so much information online these days to educate travellers about destinations," Mr Checkley said.
While solo travel appeals greatly to the younger generation, Gen X's are also jumping on the solo travel trend. In 2018, the biggest growth in the solo travel trend was found in the 35-44 age bracket, increasing by a huge 11%.
We can see that the travelling population is getting older and Visa estimates that by 2025, travellers over 65 will represent one in every eighth international departure.
More people are opting to travel alone than ever before, but it's not simply as a result of having no one to go with. In 2018, Travelzoo reported that 60% of people who travel alone are either in a relationship or married.
Glenn Checkley stated that the trend is quite common for busy working professionals, or couples with differing interests.
"It makes sense for some people. It can be hard to coordinate holiday schedules when your partner's workplace forces them to take leave at a certain time. And if you have different interests then separate holidays could be a good idea."
"Travel options such as cruises would be a rewarding solo travel experience. Not only are they very affordable, but there are plenty of opportunities to meet like minded people," he said.
Additionally, a rising number of couples are embarking on a new travel trend known as "solomoons". Completely shunning the tradition of the honeymoon, these couples are opting to travel to separate locations due to differing interests or work commitments. The term has already hit over 15000 mentions on Instagram and is increasing every day.
Technology has played an enormous role in enabling people to travel solo. From travel blogs and travel websites to YouTube and Instagram, there is a wealth of information for solo travellers looking to navigate the world. By showcasing the world's most spectacular destinations on an accessible and easy to use platform, social media encourages everyday people to get out there and see the world.
Glenn Checkley believes social media is having a major influence in the rise of solo travellers.
"Social media is an extremely powerful tool that is a major factor in the solo travel trend. I think that it's a great source of inspiration for solo travels and influences people to step out of their comfort zone to explore new destinations," Mr Checkley said.
Additionally, social media and smartphone technology allows travellers to feel comfortable and connected from anywhere in the world. Having the ability to contact loved ones, connect with other travellers and keep up to date with social media can help dispel the feeling of isolation that once deterred people from travelling solo.
"Social media also provides a platform for people to share their experiences and connect with others so they don't feel so alone while travelling solo," Mr Checkley said.
As destinations become more accessible, the only limitation on solo travellers is the cost. It is estimated that solo travellers will spend approximately 80% more than couples depending on the destination. The single supplement fee is the major contributing factor to this, where solo travellers are charged more for utilizing their own room.
In an industry that is largely based on per person twin share, companies will need to design and offer more products for solo travellers.
Mr Checkley states that while there are companies who cater specifically to solo travellers, the major players will need to catch up.
"In the coming years we predict that more companies will create exclusive products for solo travellers" Mr Chekley said.
"Solo travel is something we are very excited about at TravelOnline and we are constantly looking at new ways to cater to solo travellers in the future."