A travel agent's guide to the solo traveler profiles

Who are the tourists that travel alone?

To really understand the growing solo travel trend, it’s essential for travel advisors to get to know the demographics of this type of tourist. Travelers at different stages in their lives travel differently, and so understanding this, as well as where they’re from and what gender they identify with, will go a long way to helping you help them plan their next trip. From age to gender to nationality, here we explore the make-up of this important travel sector.

solo traveler reading a book

Solo travelers are a huge and growing market, and they have specific wants and needs, so use these solo traveler profiles to inform your marketing and decision-making.

Where are solo travelers from?

Solo travelers come from all over the world – the travel style is hugely popular in the west, but also in Asia and Australasia. In Japan, there’s even an entire movement built around it called ‘ohitorisama’, in which people ‘boldly choose to do things alone, the opinions of others be damned’. 

Solo travel preferences by continent

In British Airways’ Global Solo Travel Study of almost 9,000 18-64-year-olds, Germans came out on top as the most frequent solo travelers. When whittled down to just women, the Italians were the most intrepid, with 68% of them having already explored somewhere new alone, while only 16% of American women were looking to do so in the near future. 

With single-person households on the rise in Europe, spotlights are often shone on the likes of Scandinavia, the Baltic states, Germany and the Netherlands, where the demographic is increasing rapidly. 

How old is the average solo traveler?

As we found out in our generational guide to the travelers of 2020, age isn’t just a number when it comes to travel. Solo travel is pretty popular among all demographics, from Millennials to Baby Boomers. Over three-quarters of Gen Z – the under 25s – are interested in solo travel and that 80% have taken a solo trip. Millennials are also getting in on the action, with 50% saying they’re interested in it and 79% having already traveled solo. 

solo travel demographics- preferences by generation

But these younger generations have a smaller share of the market, it seems, as older generations are leading the way when it comes to booking. Likely a result of better income and more time for travel, the average age of a solo traveler at 47 years old

This trend matches anecdotal data from travel agents, who have said that their solo clients tend to be between 41 and 47 years old, and the make-up of the Solo Travel Society Facebook page, which shows that 75% of its 237,000 members are over 45 years old. 

Men vs women: which gender travels solo the most?

It might surprise you to learn that women are actually far more likely to travel alone than men. While concerns about safety are high on their priority list, it ultimately doesn’t deter women from traveling solo, and this demographic makes up the largest portion of the solo travel market at 85%

The female solo travel trend is still increasing, too, as searches for the term “solo women travel” saw a staggering 230% increase in 2019. Digging deeper into this trend, studies suggest solo female travelers are most likely to be over 45 years old and they take up to three trips per year. 

female solo travel statistics
However, this focus on solo female travel doesn’t mean men don’t value traveling alone, too. A study by Accord showed that 48% of men would recommend traveling alone to a friend, so there’s potentially some untapped market there.

Summary

Solo travel is such a huge market that there’s no cut-and-dried answer to ‘who travels solo?’ But within our research and our latest eBook on solo travel, you’ll find all the information necessary to start targeting this growing, influential market. Download the eBook today.

Everything travel advisors need to know about solo travel

Sources
Solo Travel Statistics; Solo Traveler World
The Solo Traveller; by Accord in partnership with Global
The rise of Japan's 'super solo' culture; BBC

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