Historically, solo travelers have been neglected. Unlike cacophonous couples or screaming families, their quieter needs haven’t been catered to. But the numbers of those going it alone is increasing. Recent Mintel research testifies that five million Brits holiday alone. More than one in eight long-haul trips are taken solo, and a third of those in single person households aged under 65 have been traveling without companions (Archer, 2010).
The singles market is one of the fastest growing sectors in travel, if before it was ‘a shame’ to travel alone now attitudes are changing. Many people are choosing solo travel as a lifestyle option.
Women are more likely to have concerns over safety and security when travelling alone, while men are more worried about being bored. Mealtimes and evenings are usually the sticking point for many travelers – sightseeing solo is one thing, but sitting at a table for one can be a depressing experience (Booth, 2010). Last decade more and more singles embarked on a group travel as a way of sharing their experiences. They want to be sociable, meet new people and find time for themselves if they don’t want constant company. They also would prefer to meet another solo traveler rather than families or only couples. Many tourist agencies started developing special single trips apart from their regular programs, they offer various tours and destinations. There are also companies who work especially for single travelers. ‘Cruise lines have also upped their game in recent years when it comes to catering to single travelers, they provide a safe environment with like-minded people and allow them to travel to parts of the world they might be fearful of going to alone’ (Archer, 2010).
However, the single supplement is a big issue for travelers. The extra cost can vary depending on the length of the trip and the type of the hotel. It can be avoided while sharing a room with a fellow traveler but of course not everybody is so social. This is still a big dilemma for travel agencies but last two years some improvements are noticeable.
Don’t assume that anyone holidaying alone doesn’t have a partner. Some people may travel by themselves because their partner doesn’t share their interests or their destination choice, or because they can’t get the time off work (Booth, 2010). However, very often people who meet on a trip fall in love and become a couple. Of course, it is not correct to presume that people are traveling with matchmaking in mind. If a traveler thus thinks like that, failure is sure around the corner and a trip spoiled. On another hand, traveling can be the best time to fall in love or have a holiday affair. Is it not the perfect moment to feel relaxed and show who we really are? Is it not a time to leave our suites, high hills, make-up and the rest of our image in the closet? Usually we don’t put our masks of bureaucrats, office workers, teachers, lawyers and etc. in our suitcase. Why not to open up and find somebody who shares the same interests?! Travelling is the time to enjoy cultures and nature and also discovering ourselves as well as others.
Overall, we can conclude that it seems that demand on solo group trips will increase in the future. For that reason travel agencies should think to differentiate age groups, offer more destinations, continue negotiations with the hotels for a better single supplement and make clear what they offer to their clients as availability of endless choices makes them confused. There are always pros and cons to both travelling alone and with others, and one might only be well-suited for it. So it’s important to think about how each experience will be different before making decision about how to travel. And last but not the least: Don’t always expect Love while travelling, but except it when it comes.
Bibliography and Internet references:
Archer, J. (2010) Going solo. Travel Weekly (UK) p47-50, 3p.
Joanna, B. (2010) Together alone. Travel Weekly (UK) p44-45, 2p.
Williams, A. (2009) Sell to the solo traveller. Travel Weekly (UK) p36-36, 1p.
Bootsnall Travel Network. What makes traveling alone different? Retrieved September 23, 2010 from http://toolkit.bootsnall.com/solo-travel-guide/what-makes-traveling-alone-different.html