More Solo Independent Travellers

STORY BY Patrick 10th April 2024

A newly released set of data from ABTA points to a growing appetite for solo travel, with 16% of travellers saying they went on holiday by themselves in the 12 months to August 2023, compared to 11% of travellers during the previous 12-month period.

This represents a significant increase year-on-year and is also up on pre-pandemic 2019 figures, when 13% of travellers said they had holidayed alone in the 12 months to July 2019.

Almost 1 in 5 (19%) 25-34-year-olds said they had travelled by themselves, the highest of any age group. But the biggest year-on-year increase was among those aged 35-44, where solo traveller numbers more than doubled to 13% in 2023 from just 6% in 2022.

One style of solo travel that is particularly popular among younger age groups is ‘independent travel’, where people travel by themselves but as part of a group trip. While 7% of respondents said they travelled in this way in the 12 months to August 2023, this figure doubled to 14% among 18-24-year-olds.

“Society has evolved considerably in the past couple of decades, with more people living alone. And solo travel, which may have carried a stigma in the past – a sign of loneliness – has shed that image. Our increasingly busy lives seem to be driving a need for some ‘me’ time, and the widespread use of smartphones and the suite of travel apps at our fingertips has made travelling alone so much easier,” said ABTA’s Director of Communications Graeme Buck, who added, “There are also many different travel styles available for solo travellers nowadays; you can go away entirely on your own, set off by yourself but with the aim of meeting similar travellers along the way, or join a group tour where you have the freedom to choose the holiday you want while sharing the experience with like-minded travellers.

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