Solo travel trends: how tourists will travel alone in 2020

The top trends among those who travel alone

Each year, the number of people traveling alone rises dramatically, and with that solo travel habits change too. With sustainability on everyone’s mind in 2020, walking holidays on the rise and niche, unique escorted tours being launched by operators across the world, there are a lot of new trends to keep up with. Read on to find out how people will travel alone in 2020:

Solo on organised tours

One of the biggest and growing trends for solo travelers is taking escorted tours. In 2018, 70% of Intrepid Travel’s customers went solo on their US trips, and in a recent study over 70% of travelers said they have done escorted tours in the past, and 47% say they actually prefer them. In an extensive survey by Just You, almost a third of their respondents had taken four or more escorted tours solo.

solo traveler walking with her luggage

This speaks to the breadth of the market, which is only set to get better in 2020. “Travel companies are developing new types of flexible and immersive touring products” says the Association of British Travel Agents 2020 trends report. From flexi-touring on tourist-specific bus networks to personalised escorted touring, like Intrepid Travel’s women-only solo trips, the escorted tour market is getting ever more sophisticated and catering to all types of traveler.

They might want to offset their carbon emissions

 Carbon offsetting is becoming more and more common. If travel companies aren’t off-setting the carbon themselves (some tour operators and even airlines have started doing this), then travelers will likely want to take matters into their own hands.

With both sustainable and solo travel seeing growth as trends in our industry, it’s highly likely that the two will cross over for some tourists, and solo travelers will become more sustainability-focused too.

Solo adventure over solo city breaks

Statistics show that 30% of solo travelers love adventure travel, while only 23% favor urban trips. So the city break is out for solo travelers in 2020 and the adventure vacation is in. This could mean that your solo clients want to get close to nature, go on a safari or even explore some remote corners of the world.

solo traveler on top of a mountain

National Geographic cites ‘transformative travel’ as one of the trends to watch in the adventure sector for 2020: “Everyday life can have a numbing effect on our senses,” their article reads. “It’s this that’s driven the desire for adventures of a ‘transformative’ nature — eye-opening trips that reinvigorate, jolt us out of a benumbed state and send us home as improved versions of ourselves.”

Your solo clients might well be seeking voluntourism adventures, trips to developing nations where their tourist dollars can make a difference, or retreats in exotic locations.

Walking holidays

In 2019, a survey of British travelers found that walking holidays were the most popular activity trip. Specialist solo tour operator Just You has also reported walking as a hugely popular activity, with 40% of their respondents saying they prefer hiking vacations.

In an Accord report, walking vacations were popular among the over 65s, and with solo travel being a big trend among senior travelers, it’s likely your solo clients will be interested in these too.

solo traveler hiking in the mountains

Cashless travels

Travel trend website Globetrender cites cashless travel as one of the biggest trends for 2020, and with solo travelers being concerned about safety, it’s likely that plastic rather than paper will rule their wallets when it comes to traveling alone.

But plastic isn’t for everyone, and solo travelers are reportedly more digital, spending more time in front of their device screens than other types of traveler. This means that they’ll be using apps like Google Pay, Apple Pay, Weibo Payment and Paypal more and more to make transactions while traveling.

Solo traveler paying with a credit card

They’ll travel alone multiple times in 2020

As our solo travel eBook reports, solo travelers are frequent travelers. In fact, 46% of respondents in a recent solo travel survey said they travel three or more times per year. This means prospective solo clients will likely keep coming back to their advisor for their next adventure, so hook them in once and you could well have a loyal client for life.

Summary

As one of 2020’s top trends, traveling alone is going to become a more commonplace activity in tourism. Travel operators are embracing this, and so travel advisors should too – it’s a big portion of the market, after all. Our latest solo travel eBook has all the tips you need to keep up with the solo travel market and help your clients travel alone happily in 2020.

Everything travel advisors need to know about solo travel

Sources:
Travel Trends 2020; ABTA
2020 Travel Trend Forecast; Globetrender
Carbon neutral travel | Gold standard carbon offsetting scheme; Explore
Solo Travel Statistics and Data : 2019 - 2020; Solo Traveler World
The solo traveler; Accord
Whether for business, leisure or 'bleisure', travelers are going solo; Marketwatch

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