An overwhelming majority of Americans see the benefits of
traveling solo, but there is still a stigma attached to doing it, for
women in particular, according to a new survey from Fodor's Travel
representative survey of approximately 1,000 people conducted for
Fodor's by Roper Public Affairs found that a whopping four in 10
Americans have traveled alone for pleasure, staying away from home for
two nights or more, in the last three years.
As Baby Boomers age, the
topic of traveling solo is becoming an increasingly important one. Many
Baby Boomers are newly finding themselves widowed, divorced, or have
chosen to adopt a single lifestyle and are faced with the issue of
wanting to travel but have no partner to do it with. "Traveling solo is
nothing to be afraid of -- you can meet new people, make your own
schedule, and you can do what you want, when you want to do it,"
comments Solo Traveler author Lea Lane. "Having no one to travel with is
no reason to sit home. When you set out solo, you explore all that the
world really has to offer."
As an inspirational
source to those who want to travel on their own, and to address those
who still have reservations about it, Fodor's has recently published
Solo Traveler: Tales and Tips for Great Trips (3/1/05). Through useful
tips, personal anecdotes, and important advice on safety, Lea Lane
reveals the joys of traveling solo, navigates through its challenges,
and dispels the stigmas attached to it.
The Fodor's survey found
that Americans realize the clear benefits of traveling solo, although a
stigma exists, especially for women. Eighty percent of Americans agree
that traveling alone for pleasure would allow them the freedom to do
what they want, when they want to do it, and 71% feel that traveling
alone would be a fun way to meet new people.
Still, an astounding 55%
of Americans agree it is more acceptable for a man to travel alone than
for a woman to do so--and equal proportions of men and women share this
view. Forty-four percent of Americans agree that traveling alone is
perceived as odd. And men and women both feel strongly that eating meals
alone would be one of the most difficult things about traveling alone,
39% and 42% respectively.
"The best way to
overcome the stigmas is to get out there and have fun traveling solo,"
comments Lane. "Whether you're a woman or a man, forget about
conventional wisdom, there is no better way to truly experience a
destination then exploring it on your own."
Lea offers these tips
for how to have a positive solo traveling experience:
-- Cities are good destinations for solo travelers, they are filled with
single people and you are less likely to stand out.
If you're worried about eating alone, have your big meal at lunch when
more people eat by themselves, or sit at the sushi bar, or better yet
dress like a diva and make people wonder who you are!
Cruises and spas are perfect options for solo travelers, offering
convenience, relaxation, and all-inclusive pricing. They give you the
choice of being by yourself, or to do things with a group.
If you see people standing around with a camera, ask if they'd like you
to take their picture, it's a great way to meet people.
Find something you like to do from bicycling, to cooking, to camping
and plan around it. There are many group tours and programs that you
can join, and at least you know you'll be with like-minded people.
"The survey results send
a clear message that traveling solo is a growing trend with many
benefits," comments Tim Jarrell, Publisher, Fodor's Travel Publications.
"As Americans become more mobile, the baby boomers age, and single women
overcome the stigmas, the travel industry needs to take notice and pay
more attention to their needs."
About the survey
Roper Public Affairs, a
division of NOP World, conducted the survey on behalf of Fodor's Travel
Publications. The results are based on RDD-telephone interviews
conducted from February 4-6, 2005, among a nationally representative
sample of 1,005 US adults (age 18+).
Publications, America's market leader in travel information publishing,
offers travelers more than 275 guides to destinations worldwide. Fodor's
Travel Publications is a unit of Fodors LLC, a subsidiary of Random
House, Inc., and its parent company, Bertelsmann AG, one of the world's
largest media companies.