The trend of solo travel picks up during the pandemic
Ever since the pandemic hit in 2020, a lot has changed in our lives – personally as well as professionally. While people were forced to stay home for months together, the movement that resumed post the unlock continues to be limited. Hence, an overdose of family time and missing out on the quintessential me-time has resulted in the trend of solo travel gain momentum among travel aficionados over the last two years.
“Due to the pandemic, people were deprived of travel for a long time and when things started to open up, they got eager to set off. Ever since the second wave of Covid-19 ended last year, a lot of travellers have turned towards going solo to satisfy their wanderlust souls. Individuals are seeking some me-time, away from their families, while being able to socialise and create their own tribe,” says Karan Sahdev, director, Travolook.
Set me free
Sharing his experience of going unaccompanied, not just once, but thrice, Sunny Menghi, advocate, Punjab and Haryana High Court, says, “I had been to Jammu in September, 2021. It was a two-day trip. Since the experience was so refreshing, I happened to set off on another solo trip to Jibhi in Himachal Pradesh in October, last year. This New Year, I went to Kartarpur Corridor in Pakistan, for darshan at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib.”
Menghi adds, “I found all these experiences really enriching, because I got to spend time with myself, with no one around. There was no stress of office, no calls… it was just me. It was definitely a much-needed time for me to break away from the mundaneness of the pandemic.”
Many hodophiles, who were already into solo travelling, craved more for going alone in the last couple of years. “Even before the pandemic, I’d take at least two solo trips a year. But during the lockdown, I realised what such trips really meant to me.”
Khurana adds, “As a result of being surrounded by people for such a long time, my urge to venture out alone got stronger. So, post the lockdown, I took a trip to Bali and Dubai,” says model-actor Darasing Khurana.
It’s also been observed that besides rejuvenation and me-time, travellers find venturing out alone a great way to keep themselves safe. “The most essential advantage of travelling alone is the simplicity with which social separation and excellent hygiene can be practised,” says Ankita Sheth, co-founder, Vista Rooms. Besides that, one is also freed from the stress of being cautious all the time, for themselves and for those around. “Solo travel is hassle-free, as one only needs to bother about protocols and health-related issues for themselves,” explains Chhavi Chadha, a Delhi-based travel and celebration curator.
Solo travellers make up 11% of the overall travel market. Solo travel has been trending upwards since 2016, showing a percentage growth of around 131% as per research. In India, Rajasthan, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Varanasi and Mahabaleshwar are hotspots for solo travellers while Maldives, Russia and Dubai click internationally.
Not just for fun!
Interestingly, vacationing alone isn’t just a fun activity. Many travellers have been making the most of their work-from-home setup by fusing work with leisure. “One of the top trends observed in solo travel is workcations. People have been preferring workcations in the mountains and beaches for months,” says Sahdev. Sheth adds, “Fed up with the lockdown, unlock and social distancing mandates, many people have been backpacking alone to rural areas on the outskirts of towns. Hills, marine resorts, animal reserves, and remote areas have also captivated them.”
Apart from workcations, mental health has also been a priority for solo travellers. “Wellness getaways have been quite famous. Many wellness resorts across the country have had solo travellers,” says Chadha.
Hodophiles across ages
People across age groups have been indulging in solo travel of late, including those over 50 and many under 25. The only difference is in their expectations. While the older generation is more interested in enjoying Nature, reading a book in a quiet spot, or spending hours in tea or coffee farms, the younger generation is keener to learn about the local culture.
Many female travellers have also been making the most of solo travel. They make shorter commute trips and more non-work trips. Also, a lot of married women have travelled alone over the last two years.