Travelling solo (alone): risky adventure or lifetime experience?

Travelling solo (alone): risky adventure or lifetime experience?

For some people, travelling solo (alone) is scary and an impossible dream that they cannot even think about. For others, however, travelling alone is quite a unique and wonderful experience to be cherished for the rest of their lives.

The number of solo travellers seems to have decreased globally in recent years, for one way or another. But times have changed!

Travelling alone is coming back with a bang, and attracting more and more enthusiasts, for a wide variety of reasons, Accor Hotels says in its latest dispatch.

The New York Times reported last year that Google searches for ‘solo travel ideas’ were up by more than 50% year-on-year, while Abercrombie & Kent (a UK tour operator) reported a 30% jump in single bookings in 2012 over 2011, Accor says.

Accor is based in France and is the world’s largest hospitality group.

This is what it says in its travel trend dispatch:

The number of people living alone – 35% of households in developing countries – explains some of this trend…. Most solo travellers are women and older, often 55 and older, and women, more specifically, travel alone to revel in their independence (55%).

Other reasons include:

•    Travelling alone eases stress, the Huffington Post reports. ‘Because traveling alone is a great way of thinking about nothing but the present moment, and caring about nothing but yourself. And that alone is worth the trip!’

•    Being your own boss to follow your own holiday schedule tops the list of reasons why travellers go solo (17% of travel agents agree here), according to  a Travel Guard Worldwide survey.

•    Others have no choice, because they can’t take time off when their family or friends can, but see no reason to stay home because of that.

•    Lastly, 4% of travel agents mention that their clients travel to ‘reconnect with themselves’.

•    Some people travel abroad alone on humanitarian missions: to save fellow brothers and sisters and children in distress.

•    Others, however, skillfully combine travel and work, thus turning travelling into work, the dispatch says, quoting Chris, a 25-year-old British digital nomad who defines himself as a backpacker-surfer-photographer. Chris freelances practically anywhere in the world for a number of magazines and a few brands.

Accor’s tips about travelling solo:

•    Start preparing your solo travel early. Always find out everything you can about your destination.

•    Avoid some places, especially after dark, in every city. Traveling alone is an adventure in itself, so there’s no point taking senseless risks!

•    Also, avoid the looks that shout out ‘I’m a tourist’ (souvenir T-shirts, foldout maps and the like).

•    Don’t unnecessarily parade any flashy jewelry or luxury brands, to avoid attracting attention.

•    Let someone know where you are going and when, and show signs of life often.

•    For more practical advice, ask people who have already travelled alone, and read travel blogs.

•    Enjoy the time by yourself: don’t skip the opportunity to relish an amazing meal in a restaurant because you’ve got nobody to go with

•    A good book is always great company.

Photo: A woman solo traveller enjoying the view of Egypt’s pyramids. Credit courtesy of Accor.com

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