Lonely Planet Writer

Solo or with friends? Surveys see how we like to travel

More American baby boomers are travelling solo, while women in India are more interested in hitting the road with their friends than with their families, according to recent surveys from travel companies.

View of Machu Picchu, Peru.
View of Machu Picchu, Peru. Image by Go Ga

The company Overseas Adventure Travel, is now seeing about 40% of its baby boomer and senior travellers booking a solo trip. The number of solo travellers has been increasing by 1% for the past three years. The top five destinations for solo travellers in 2016 are Iceland, Machu Picchu and the Galapagos, India, Botswana, and Sicily, out of their 50 holiday destinations.

Central Museum in Jaipur, India.
Central Museum in Jaipur, India. Image by Matt Munro

Seeking out solo travel is a general trend among people of all ages. The 2015 Visa Global Travel Intentions Study found that 37% of first-time travellers on an overseas leisure trip travelled alone, compared to only 15% in 2013, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Overview of church belltower and Sicily's East Coast.
Overview of church belltower and Sicily’s East Coast. Image by Matt Munro

In India, travel company Thomas Cook found in a survey that 70% of women are more interested in getting away with their female friends than their family, reports the Times of India. About 17% of women surveyed were also interested in travelling solo, with the safety of their destination playing a key role in that decision. Half of women across India preferred group escorted travel, while 62% of city-dwellers liked small groups without a tour guide.

Lanterns at Singapore marina bay.
Lanterns at Singapore marina bay. Image by wsboon images

When travelling domestically, the women were most interested in going to Goa, Andamans, Rajasthan, and Ladakh. Outside of India, the women surveyed were most interested in Singapore, Thailand, Switzerland, Dubai, Sri Lanka, Bali and the US.