Survey says solo travel becoming more popular

Press Release

Fodor's Travel Publications

March 3, 2005

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 Publications.

A nationally 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+).

About Fodor's

Fodor's Travel 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.