After over a year of lockdowns and travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, travellers are now more eager than ever to set off on their next adventures. For some of us, the pandemic forced us to enjoy our own company, while for others, increased stress due to family or work responsibilities may have left us craving some quality alone time. Whatever the reason, many of us are now looking towards travel as a way to escape the confines of our homes, with the appeal of travelling solo in particular becoming more and more attractive.
The increased desire for travelling alone is nothing new; before the pandemic, solo travel had become one of the biggest trends in the industry and has been increasing steadily since 2016. In 2019, a survey conducted by travel company Klook found that 76% of respondents had either already travelled alone or were considering it, and also reported an 85% increase in solo bookings on their local tours from 2018 to 2019. A study also found that 77% of solo travellers are willing to travel internationally if no quarantine in their chosen destination is required, and 46% are planning to travel more often post-pandemic.
However, due to safety concerns over the pandemic, embarking on a solo trip can be daunting for both first-time and seasoned travellers. As travel lovers, here at Nezasa we are excited about the comeback of the industry, and we are here to tell you all about the new trends for solo travel and share our top survival tips as well as mistakes to avoid for those looking to go it alone.
How to Start Travelling Solo
Although traditional backpacking trips may seem like a thing of the past, it is still possible to experience the excitement of solo travel while staying safe. Outlook Traveller states that post-pandemic, solo travellers will have an increased thirst for adventure as well as a desire to travel like a local and visit off-the-beaten-path destinations, and as we talked about in our previous blog post, the rise of remote work has given many of us increased freedom which in turn gives more opportunities for solo travel.
One of the disadvantages of solo travel is feeling lonely, and small-group tours are an excellent way to safely meet new people while having the added security and expertise of a professional guide. 53% of solo travellers stated that they are now likely to join escorted tours when travelling internationally, and many companies are offering options for solo travellers that include hiking and cycling tours, camping getaways, wellness retreats and city breaks. While in the past solo travellers were often required to pay a supplement on hotel rooms or tours, many providers have begun to offer low-cost supplements or erase them completely due to increased demand.
As we discussed in a previous blog post, the staycation is becoming the new vacation. Travelling domestically offers many benefits for both travellers themselves and local destinations, and allows travellers to avoid the quarantine and testing requirements that may face them while travelling internationally. Why not head off on a solo road trip and discover some of the hidden gems of your own country?
Travelling Solo as a Female
In the past, safety concerns may have discouraged women from travelling alone, however, females are now at the forefront of solo travel, with internet searches for ‘female solo travel’ having increased by 62% over the past three years, and, according to the tour company Overseas Adventure Travel, 85% of their solo travellers are women. Of course, it is important to research the safety of specific destinations before heading off on your solo trip. Some of the safest countries to travel solo as a female include:
- New Zealand
- French Polynesia
Benefits of Travelling Solo
Travellers noted more ‘me-time’, opportunities to meet like-minded people, and increased flexibility as some of the main benefits of travelling alone. Whether you don’t have anyone available to join you or you’re simply craving some quality time with yourself, solo trips can be one of the most rewarding ways to travel, allowing for the freedom to move at your own pace as well as increased spontaneity, independence and endless opportunities for new experiences.
Best Places to go Travelling Solo
Travel and Leisure lists Costa Rica, Mexico, Spain, Chile and Japan as some of the best countries to travel solo, taking into account safety as well as opportunities to enjoy both natural and cultural highlights. Solo travellers are increasingly looking to travel more sustainably and support local communities, and many of the above countries offer opportunities such as volunteering that can be a great way for visitors to immerse themselves into a new culture and have meaningful experiences while travelling alone.
Destinations such as Amsterdam, Lisbon, London and Paris are some of the best cities to travel solo, and interrailing makes a great alternative to air travel, allowing solo travellers to explore Europe with increased flexibility and freedom.
Travelling Solo Tips
Although there are some great opportunities for solo travel despite the pandemic, it is still important to put safety first. Before embarking on your trip, be sure to invest in some quality travel insurance that offers Covid coverage, and if possible, try to book accommodation, flights and tours with companies that offer flexible cancellation policies.
According to an article by ABTA, solo travellers who once managed their trips independently are now more open to booking with a tour operator or travel agent. Booking in advance with a travel agent offers expertise and can give solo travellers increased confidence and peace of mind, and our innovative TripBuilder platform is the perfect tool for travel companies to help customers organise their next trip. Our software offers customers a high level of flexibility and personalisation, allowing them to plan their entire trip from accommodation options and flights to car rentals and excursions.
Of course, it is important to research and follow the rules regarding social distancing, testing and mask use in your destination of choice. Keep in contact with friends or family back home and let them know of any issues you might have, and be prepared for any changes in restrictions regarding Covid.
Despite the instability of the industry over the past year, the desire for solo travel is still on the rise. As travel begins to restart, we are confident that the sector will soon bounce back and that this travel trend will only increase.