Middle aged Brits seek solo adventures

Posted on December 15, 2015 by Guest Writer
Barcelona Skyline

Going on holiday alone – once considered an awkward by-product of being single in later life – is now an ambition for nearly a third of middle aged Brits seeking adventure and time to themselves.

A survey of 10,000 UK holidaymakers has revealed that almost a third of over-50s (32 per cent) have set off on a solo trip in the last year – with 23 per cent planning to again. Of those who’ve never done it, 17 per cent said they’d love to give it a go. Top reasons cited for flying solo include doing what you want, whenever you want, eating and drinking without any judgement from anyone and taking some quality ‘me’ time.

Top 10 benefits of travelling alone:

  1. You can do what you want, when you want
  2. You can eat and drink whatever you like
  3. Feeling independent
  4. Having some ‘me’ time
  5. Feeling stress free
  6. You don’t have to listen to anyone else whinging
  7. You have time to catch and chill out with a good book
  8. The chance to try new things without judgement from friends and family
  9. You make lots of new friends
  10. It can keep the cost down/save money

A city break in sunny Barcelona, with its mix of beaches, culture and nightlife was revealed to be the favourite solo holiday destination, closely followed by exploring the canals in Venice and visiting the home of the Empire State Building, New York City.

Top 10 destinations that people travelling alone would choose to travel:

  1. Barcelona
  2. Venice
  3. New York
  4. Rome
  5. Malta
  6. Sydney
  7. Algarve
  8. Amsterdam
  9. California
  10. Dublin

The research by over-50s travel and insurance specialist Staysure looked into the reasons behind our changing attitudes to solo travel. 29 per cent of over-50s cited that simply enjoying their own company is one of their top reasons for going it alone, followed by being single or widowed (24 per cent) – while 7 per cent admitted their children are now grown up and will no longer go on holiday with them. However, almost a quarter (23 per cent) feel that they don’t want to rely on partners or friends to plan their holidays, with 21 per cent saying they enjoy the sense of adventure in a solo trip – so more and more are choosing to leave partners and friends behind.

Solo woman traveller crosses a rope bridge

Top 10 reasons for travelling solo:

  1. I enjoy my own company – 29%
  2. I don’t have a partner – 24%
  3. I’m widowed – 23%
  4. I don’t want to rely on others to plan my holidays – 23%
  5. I enjoy the sense of adventure – 21%
  6. I enjoy the opportunity to make new friends – 16%
  7. I enjoy seeing sights and cultural activities – 13%
  8. I don’t have a travel buddy who’d like to visit the same places as me – 11%
  9. My children have grown up and don’t want to go away with me – 7%
  10. I go to practice my language skills and get to know local people – 6%

Making new friends is also highlighted as a key reason to book a trip for one, with 16 per cent considering a solo trip as a chance to meet new people. 22 per cent have met someone when they were on holiday alone – and have subsequently planned a trip together afterwards.   The research also highlighted some common concerns of travelling alone; paying single supplements the top of the list of anxieties, followed by personal safety worries and the dreaded fear of having to eat alone in restaurants.

Top 10 things people are most concerned about when travelling alone:

  1. The cost – paying single supplements
  2. Falling ill
  3. Walking home alone at night
  4. Being a victim of crime
  5. Eating alone at restaurants
  6. Going out alone and feeling vulnerable
  7. Getting lost in an unfamiliar place
  8. Being lonely
  9. Not being able to communicate efficiently in a foreign language
  10. Not having someone to look after your belongings by the pool / beach

Chris Rolland, Staysure CEO, said: “Our customer research confirms that people in their 60s, 70s and 80s have the sense of adventure for things that may have seemed unexpected from this age group in previous generations. Brits are now choosing to leave their partners at home to expand their horizons by planning incredible solo trips and discovering a world of truly unique experiences, including new friendships and even romance. In light of this trend, it’s important that travel and insurance providers are able to offer an increasingly wide range of affordable options to help Brits fulfil their ambitions.”

*Based on Staysure customer survey of 10,000 respondents, 2015