Solo travel is on the rise across all markets. Jean Carmela Lim explores the reasons why.
Wellness Tourism Association (WTA) correctly predicted that travelling solo would be one of the top five wellness trends of 2019. But, why are so many travellers choosing to explore the world alone these days?
The world is getting smaller through airline networks’ expansion. Combined with better road infrastructures, a wider transportation network, and availability of information online have made solo travel infinitely more convenient than how it was previously.
Solo travel represents freedom, empowerment and independence. There’s something about discovering and experiencing a place without the influences and prejudices of either a friend or a partner. When a traveller gets to know a place all on their own, they form a unique and exclusive experience with that country that is entirely theirs.
WHERE ARE SOLO TRAVELLERS HEADED?
Now that we understand the reasons why solo travel is increasing in popularity, it’s time to find out where solo travellers are headed. They can be found in any destination but there are a handful of places that are frequented more than others for various reasons.
Here are just a few of them:
For the adventurous solo traveller, New Zealand is the perfect getaway. Being so far away and isolated from the rest of the world makes it an attractive once-in-a-lifetime destination. A solo traveller can tick off many adventurous bucket list activities in New Zealand. Bungee jumping, skydiving, and glacier adventures are just a few. Having said that though, New Zealand is a very safe country which makes it an ideal destination for the adventurous solo traveller.
Whether you’d like to spend a month on solo wellness retreats, splurge for a week at a 5-star resort or learn local handicraft and Balinese cuisine – there are plenty of activities in Bali and around Ubud area for the solo traveller. The relatively low currency is also attractive for travellers, making it possible for a solo traveller to stay in Bali for weeks or months on end.
Amsterdam’s bike friendly roads and liberal social policies make it a popular destination for solo travellers. Amsterdam’s easy and convenient transportation and streets that are made for cycling and walking make it a great choice for solo travellers. Couple those factors with the fact that the Netherlands has liberal social policies, along with the laidback attitude that the Dutch are known – and you’ve got a “Disneyland for the adult solo traveller” destination.
Dining while being surrounded in ancient history – there are many ways solo travellers can treat themselves like an Emperor in Rome There’s nothing more liberating than visiting historic greats like the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon all by yourself. And to indulge yourself in all the gelato, pasta and pizza that your heart desires? Julius Caesar can move over with the empowerment that this kind of solo travel experience can bring.
If Singapore is the “intro to Asia” destination for families, then Thailand is the adult traveller’s “intro to solo travel” or rite of passage for solo travel around Asia. Alex Garland’s best-selling novel “The Beach” (which later became an iconic film starred by Leonardo Di Caprio) has made Thailand officially the capital of Backpacking around Southeast Asia. But travellers who have ‘graduated’ from the backpacking stage are now finding themselves heading back to Thailand. Now a little mature and with more disposable income, solo travellers go to Thailand and indulge in luxury hotels, wellness tours and to have their fill of Thai food, arguably one of the best cuisines in the world.