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The evolution of solo travel

Solo travel has changed dramatically over the last 50 years. It used to be seen as something done by very few brave or lucky people.
Long ago it was known as the Grand tour and the only people who did it were young, wealthy men on a mediaeval version of the GAP year. During the 20th century going away on holiday became more common as costs lowered and planes became much more accessible but these trips were often as couples and families. Even 20 years ago travelling to explore a distant destination was often only done by those who were predominantly time and cash rich, but solo travel has become more popular as we gain easier access to the world and have become more socially confident.
Nowadays solo travellers aren’t as we imagine them; in fact anyone could choose to travel solo. Single or married, young or old, the barriers to exploring the world are disappearing. Recent research has shown that the number of people taking solo holidays rose by 14% last year with nearly 63% of solo travellers being female.

Group travel for solos means people are more adventurous in their destinations too – as it’s a safe and easy way to see more of far-flung locations without worrying about language barriers and navigating yourself through foreign countries. Last year the fastest growing destinations were India, Italy and Sri Lanka. Part of this is being attributed to the popularity of TV programs such as “The Real Marigold Hotel” but there are many shows showing incredible destinations and inspiring travel.
Solo travellers are often people who simply want to see a destination and don’t want to put the travelling off just because their friends or partners aren’t as interested in visiting a place or travelling at all. Travelling solo as part of a small group tour means you can meet other like-minded travellers; have people that you can chat to at dinner, join on one of the free days as you discover the local area or conversely, enjoy your own space and see the world on your own terms.
With more of the world becoming accessible and more sources of inspiration available to us, travelling is now one of the most popular ways to spend free-time and money. In a recent survey though, just over 57% of respondents admitted that fear put them off doing something that might excite them, with 72% admitting they still haven’t gotten around to going somewhere they wanted to. Small-group travel for solo travellers takes away that barrier. Our explorers have told us how they “didn’t really expect to find the group so friendly and everyone looking out for each other.” There is still a preconception that travelling solo is travelling alone but when travelling in a group there are others who have chosen that trip because they want to see the destination and are in a similar position.

Solo travel is no longer about being single either. When we spoke to some of our explorers they admitted that small group trips gave them the flexibility to go away when their partner “has no leave left or isn’t interested in a destination or type of holiday I want to do…” In this way, no one misses out on something they would like to do.

One explorer summed up why the experience works so well for them as; “There are some places I have been to that I would never travel to on my own without the friendship, safety and company of a group. Not because they are dangerous places to go but because travel is made so much easier in a small group experience.”

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