Current Solo Travel Trends and Statistics
- 51% of our survey respondents stated that they would be traveling solo on their next vacation. 80% of solo travelers come from Germany, followed by the UK at 69% and then Canada at 67%*
- 17% will try solo travel for the 1st time and 15% will try adventure travel for the first time in 2016**
1 in 5 travelers had gone the solo route on their most recent leisure trip, and over 1/3 of 1st time travelers choose to hit the road on their own***
- With a surge in women-only retreats and women-only travel companies, we’re seeing an uptick in solo travel, especially with women. This emerging trend falls in step with independent travel booking as travelers continue to look for more personal, enriching experiences****
*Huffington Post 2017 Travel Trends **tripbarometer 2015 ***Visa 2015 Global Travel Intentions Study ****Forbes 2017 Travel Trends and Destinations
I discovered solo travel long before it was trendy. For me, it was mostly out of necessity. I wanted to travel, and many times in my life I didn’t have people to travel with me. I remember many solo road trips. Often the destination would be a friend’s home but sometime I was completely on my own the entirety of the trip. After Kevin died, returning to solo travel felt like second nature. We had a long-distance dating relationship, and having only been married 1.5 years before he passed away, I had traveled more on my own in my lifetime than I had with him. But I know this isn’t always the case.
Since 2012 I have been giving workshops focused on three topics: Grief, Nature, Travel. Many of these workshops incorporate a combination of all 3 because I feel that all 3 are incredibly intertwined. But for the purposes of today’s blog, I’m sticking on one topic: travel. Specifically, solo travel. If you aren’t sure about joining a Widow Voyages trip quite yet, but you still want to travel, how do you go about “getting back out there” after your travel partner has died?
One of the first hurdles you may encounter is returning to a familiar place. I remember sitting in one of Matt Logelin’s workshops at
Camp Widow San Diego where he talked about visiting places of significance, of which much of his book “Two Kisses for Maddy” focuses upon. His workshop reminded me of my first summer as a widow. I kept returning to Assateague Island, MD again and again hoping to recreate the experiences I had once had there with my late husband Kevin. No matter how often I returned, it was never the same. It took me nearly 7 years of going back to Assateague Island for me to make the trip my own which included making different stops along the way, staying somewhere else, not packing my fishing rods, and doing activities I wanted to do like biking.
Here are some tips for returning to familiar places:
- Bring a friend who may appreciate the destination
- View the trip from a different perspective
- Create a new itinerary for the trip
- Go to a place that is safe and comfortable to process your feelings
- Understand that it can be emotional and that’s okay
So…”How do I get back out there?” (as it relates to travel). Start small. Day trips are the best way to ease yourself into new situations if you have never traveled, or traveled seldom, on your own. Go to a place you’ve been before, a place you know of, or a place that someone you know has already visited. Tripadvisor will become your lifesaver; it has been that for me as I plan trips for Widow Voyages. I want to make sure others love these places and to see real-life pictures of the places we are going to visit and in-person reviews instead of the stock photos and advertising copy on the company website.
Here are some ideas to start off your solo travels:
- Start with Day Trips
- Check off Your Bucket List Destinations
- Explore your Heritage
- Secure Destinations – All Inclusives
- Meet Up with Friends in Other Places (Widow couch surfing!)
- Retreat Centers
- Group Tour Companies – Widow Voyages, AAA
But here’s the most important information I can pass along to you: SAFETY. PRE-PLANNING. PLANNING FOR SPONTANEITY.
I spent the first year I was widowed with my Jeep Cherokee always packed to get away at a moment’s notice. I had a small apartment with limited storage and found it easier to keep my vehicle packed and ready for an adventure so that if I wanted to escape, as I often did that first year, I could just go! Planned spontaneity. I still live life this way, although the packing has gotten smaller over the years as my storage options have increased.
Tips for Pre-Planning and SafeGuards
- Maps + GPS
- First Aid Kit
- Snacks/Water to Minimize Stops/Costs
- Cell Phone + Charger
- Gas Up the Night Before
- Fresh Oil Change (many mechanics offer a pre-trip check for around $40 USD)
- Learn to Change a Spare Tire
- AAA Membership (AAA Plus offers up to 100 mile towing)
- Secure Location for Passports/ID – Keep a copy of your passport on your person, keep the passport in the hotel safe; keep a copy of all credit cards at home or with someone you trust in case your wallet gets stolen
- Itinerary – Have the Kids Help Plan It
- Potty Break ‘System’ so No Kid Gets Left Behind
- Road Games for Kids
- Every Child Should Have Emergency Contact Info on Them
- Family Travel Rules
- Check the Weather
- Leave a Sign on Your Car With Hiking Plans and/or tell someone where you plan to hike/when you plan to return and check in with them. Many phones allow you to send GPS coordinates to people via text
- AAA Solo Travelers Club
- Mace/Safety Device (where allowed)
- Walk with Your Car Key Between Your Middle & Pointer Finger as a “knife”
- Cross Body Purse or Hidden Spot on Self for ID/$
- Do Not Wear/Pack Expensive Jewelry
- Someone at Home Has Your Itinerary and Checks In Daily
- Meeting Time/Place for Family Throughout Day – Check in with someone “at home” at the end of every day
- Emergency Contact Info with Each Child
One of my dreams with starting Widow Voyages was to help equip widows and widowers with the knowledge and confidence they need to explore on their own. Do I want you to join our trips? Yes! Do I want you to find joy by traveling on your own and getting out there again? Yes! Whether it’s one on of our trips, or on your own, I hope you can find some time and confidence to explore.