(Don’t) Come fly with me

Solo Travel
A tourist photographing the Florence skyline
4 min read

With word on the runway from British Airways’ cabin crew that there had been a rise in the number of independent female passengers, British Airways has released the Global Solo Travel Study into the who, what and why of the trend across the world and to understand which locations are the most tempting for true escapism.

The BA Global Solo Travel Study of almost 9,000 18-64 year olds across the UK, US, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, India, and China found that over 50 per cent of women have taken a holiday by themselves, with 75 per cent of women planning a solo trip in the next few years.

The most adventurous? Italy. An impressive 63 per cent of Italian women aged 18-65 have explored another country alone, followed by Germany at 60 per cent. On home turf, more British women and men (14 per cent) were over 50 on their first solo trip compared to any other country.

Looking ahead, sixty per cent of UK women are planning a trip in the next few years, with 16 per cent of them jetting off solo in the next two to three months.

The least inclined to venture overseas with only 16 per cent, were women from the US. However, this looks to change with 62 per cent currently planning their getaway in the next few years.

Most choosing to head into the sunset alone for new experiences do so for one week, with over 50 per cent globally choosing a short haul trip overseas. However over 30.5million women in surveyed markets have headed off on long trips of over six months, equipped with nothing but a rucksack and an open mind.

German travellers go solo the most often, with one in five having treated themselves to a solo trip over 10 times. The nation most willing to travel long distance is China, with almost 50 per cent flying over 11 hours for their last international experience.

In the spirit of the short haul pick-me-up, 67 per cent of solo travellers globally choose to explore the wonders of their own continent. India’s travellers skip between continents the most, with 37 per cent having travelled solo to Europe and 33 per cent exploring the UAE and Middle East. Over 51 per cent of the travellers in both the US and China had also toured Europe ‘toute seule’. Those looking to part from the crowd for an original solo holiday can fly on British Airways routes to Dubai, as other than Indian voyagers, the UAE and Middle East is the path least explored for solo journeys, with under ten per cent having visited.

British Airways’ Managing Director for BA Holidays, said: “At British Airways our 16,000 incredible cabin crew operate more than 800 flights a day to over 200 destinations. They are travel experts, they often spot new trends and most importantly they understand the needs of our customers. What kept coming back to us through the research we’ve done and anecdotally from our crew was the rise in so many adventurous female passengers choosing to experience long and short haul destinations on their own terms.”

“With our extensive global route network, and with new destinations launching all the time, we hope that together with the information and tips included in our BA Global Solo Travel Study we can enable and inspire adventurous solo travellers to continue exploring without limit.”

The British Airways Solo Travel Study also unpacked the reasons why passengers were choosing to head out alone. More than half of our global respondents (55 per cent) choose to travel alone due to the feeling of freedom and independence, being able to choose your destination, what you eat and what you do. Holidaymakers from Germany are the most open, with over 50 per cent also prioritising meeting new people and having unique experiences. Interestingly, ten per cent of UK travellers confessed they had taken off solo to get over a break-up.

Travel blogger and organiser of solo travel trips for single female travellers, Zanna Van Dijk comments “It is undoubtedly that modern travel has changed. What women are looking for with time to themselves is to explore, discover and uncover. We are no longer bound by traditional family holiday concepts or stigma around heading out alone. I organise trips for solo travellers who are looking to push themselves. Meet like-minded individuals that they wouldn’t otherwise. I love nothing more than heading to Kenya, Thailand and Bali where travel is easy and yet there is still so much to be explored.”