Ever dreamed of packing your bags for a solo trip? Now’s the time. Findings from a survey by travel advisor agency Travel Leaders Group reveals 96 percent of Americans are psyched to travel in 2019, with 76 percent planning to book at least two leisure trips throughout the year. Of that group, 36 percent have been gearing up for some sort of solo trip.
While nothing will replace a romantic trip for two, family vacation, or jet setting with friends, the modern traveler’s craving to experience new (or old favorite) places on their own keeps rising.
“The desire to travel among North Americans is stronger than ever with an increasing focus on authentic, memorable experiences,” says Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko in the survey press release. “We’re seeing a rise in solo travel…[and] many people are not willing to forgo vacations because they have no one to travel with—or, in many cases, they simply prefer to travel on their own.”
Clearly the itch to fly solo doesn’t always accompany a soulful, Eat, Pray Love–esque journey of self-discovery. Sometimes it’s more practical than that. Andrea Ross, the managing director of tour operator Wild Frontiers, told Newsweek nearly 65 percent of its solo travelers are female between the ages of 30 and 80, and that these women prefer solo adventures for any number of realistic reasons.
“[They may have] friends who have started families and are unable to accompany them,” Ross said. “They may have a significant other who isn’t interested in traveling to an adventurous destination, or just doesn’t want to travel, so rather than stay at home, they’re taking the plunge and traveling solo.”
Solo travel is so prevalent it’s actually shifting the way couples approach their honeymoon plans. Some opt to travel separately before the wedding, also called a “solomoon.” But some nontraditional newlyweds even consider replacing the traditional honeymoon with a solo trip after exchanging vows—a travel trend dubbed the “unimoon.”
You could pin it on anything from all the enviable solo travel photos filling your Instagram feed to a growing, wide-spread spirit of independence, but solo travel—especially among women—has never been so popular.
Inspired to satisfy your own solo wanderlust this year? See the top 10 destinations on solo travelers’ radars for 2019, according to Travel Leaders Group.
The top five U.S. destinations to visit in 2019:
- New York
The top five international regions to visit in 2019:
- Western Europe
- Eastern Europe
Written by Maggie Seaver for RealSimple, May 3, 2019