Going Solo: Today’s Hottest Form of Travel

by Haven Lindsey on July 13, 2022 in General, Travels,

Around about 20 years ago, long before solo travel had become mainstream, I walked into a seafood restaurant in Villefranche-sur-Mer, a well-healed area of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region just outside of Nice on the French Riviera, and requested a table, al fresco. “For how many patrons?” the garçon asked. “Je suis seul,” I replied. He smiled and bowed politely and walked me to a table with a view so enchanting I returned again and again. I learned that the waiter with his ever-so-slight bow appreciated that I was not only dining alone as I had explained to him in French, but that I was also doing so with confidence.

Who says a solo diner can’t have a candle and an al fresco table by one of the oldest fountains in the nation? Photo Haven Lindsey.

The French have always regaled anyone, male or female, who is comfortable and confident in their own skin. It was that moment when I realized, in this small hamlet surrounded by couples and families on summer holidays, being ‘je suis seul’ was perfectly acceptable. Back then, the solo traveler, particularly the female version, was more of a rarity. That is not the case today.

Today, worldwide, the solo travel industry is the fastest-growing segment of the industry and is expected to outpace all other forms of travel until at least 2030. That’s a lot of solos.

But why is solo travel so popular? Why now? Perhaps the more appropriate question is, why not? There is a myriad of reasons to travel solo and that does not necessarily mean one has to travel to the Côte d’Azur to be accepted for doing so. Today, solos are everywhere. You’ll see solos enjoying their solitude during a meal or at a spa; and you’ll also see them joining groups and tours embracing the ability to dip in and out of agendas and schedules when they want – and that is the one thing that solos love – the freedom to choose.

Solos know it’s easy to make friends while traveling. Photo courtesy Haven Lindsey.

Synonyms for the word ‘solo’ range from everything from ‘lonely’ and ‘alone’ to ‘fancy free’ and ‘independent’. It is the latter interpretation that solo travelers embody. In more than 30 years of global solo travel experiences, I have never met a solo traveler who has done so only once. Recently, I met a new solo and when asked if she would do it again her response was full of exuberance, “I’ve already decided where I’m going next.” She, like most every solo traveler, responded in a similar way when asked what she liked about traveling solo. “This is my vacation and I’m doing what I want, when I want.” Indeed, ‘the more the merrier’ is not always the case.

Without a doubt, I am biased. I have experienced perks, discounts, great seats, and airplane upgrades simply because I was one person (and long before I started writing travel articles). I’ve also made friends all over the world. My first solo trip was in college and like every solo I’ve ever talked to, I didn’t stop there. It is common to hear, “you’re in luck, we have one seat left” or “the chef appreciates single diners and wanted you to have her signature dessert” or “yes, we can accommodate one more person on the tour.” The discoveries and experiences of traveling solo provide their own set of advantages and the freedom innate to solo travel builds confidence. It is the seeds of confidence, however, that are sown and blossom that, for many of us, is the biggest perk of them all.

Joining adventure groups like this bike trip in Thailand is a fun way to experience group travel with the freedom of being solo. Photo courtesy Haven Lindsey.

If the idea of traveling somewhere or doing something solo is way outside your comfort zone you may not be cut out for solo travel and that’s okay. However, if there is even a small part of you that is curious but not sure how to get started, below are some tips and resources. In a world where we make decisions based on online reviews from strangers, the reviews and statistics speak for themselves.

      > One in four Americans prefer traveling alone.

> 22% of Americans exclusively travel solo.

> 45% of Americans say that traveling with someone holds them back on the trip.

> 46% of solo travelers say they are more spontaneous on their vacations than when they’re with others.

> Half of solo travelers say they are more willing to talk to locals when on their own.

In essence, solo travel can provide a richer, deeper experience. For me, while traveling solo, I have met and made lasting friends while biking in Thailand, scuba diving in Cozumel, meditating in India, and attending a music festival in New Mexico. There are dozens of others.


Freedom, independence, and more confidence lead the long list of reasons solo travelers like to go it alone. Photo Haven Lindsey.

Getting Started

It is easy to find resources about solo travel. One visit to websites like Tripadvisor or a quick Google search and you will find trips, tours, and offers designed for solos. You can also venture out without an excursion company. Yoga retreats and spa weekends are great starter experiences for the new and curious solo traveler. The adventurous can book a fly-fishing weekend or a camping trip. Safety is something every traveler must be aware of and making prudent decisions is always essential.

Solo travelers have their own agenda and sometimes that means quietly listening to the waves crash on the beach. Photo Haven Lindsey.

Below are just a few of the wealth of solo travel sites and resources quite literally at your fingertips:

Solo Travel

Go Ahead Tours

25 Best Solo Vacations in the U.S.

20 Best Countries for Solo Travelers 


Photo by Bluewater Sweden on Unsplash 

Haven Lindsey resides in Taos, NM. She is a freelance writer with more than 20 years of experience writing on topics including healthcare, addiction, public policy, education, travel, food and human interest stories. She was recognized by NPR for her solo travel series exclusive to Texas Lifestyle Magazine. Haven is working on her second book, a follow up to, ‘The Blue Dog and The White Horse Adventures on A Texas Ranch’, a children’s book about the friendship between her dog and a horse.