What makes a traveler go solo?


India’s deeply seeded joint family culture has always been an integral part of its people’s lifestyle - be it cooking a feast like meal that everyone can share, shopping as a bunch for the entire family, or traveling. At the cost of overly generalising, one can say that Indians love to travel as a group. However, recently there has been a paradigm shift in the travel space as more and more Indians are opening up to the concept of solo traveling. India has generated quite a number of solo backpackers, gender no bar, who take on the world like a curious child does.

We Travel Solo, one of India’s solo travellers community is proof of this new trend in India. In order to foster the community, the platform also organises special interest tours to quench the thirst of a perfect solo trip.  We Travel Solo recently conducted a survey with India’s top 100 solo travellers to understand their personal accounts of solo travel.

1. As per the survey, when asked, ‘When and where to was their first solo trip?’, 31 per cent solo travellers answered foreign locations like Europe and East Asia as their first solo trip destination, 29 per cent said Himachal as their first solo trip expedition while 27 per cent had coastal beaches of South India as their first place to explore as a solo traveler. The remaining 13 per cent chose to visit Rajasthan, MP, AP and North eastern cities.

2. It is also interesting to note that 25 per cent attributed it to self-discovery and travel for recreational purposes or lack of company as their reason for solo travel, while 35 per cent said it was a simple getaway, a sabbatical from the mundane job or simply to feed the curiosity. Those who travel solo to meet like minded people form 21 per cent of the total.

3. When it comes to hot spots for solo traveling destinations, travellers showed preference for Northern, Southern and Western India within the subcontinent. For South-East and Eastern Asia, Indian neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh are chosen as preferred locations and Europe, US and western Asian countries for international travel. Some travellers confine themselves to exploring the remote pockets of India and country life as well.

4. Thirty two per cent solo travellers said that they felt feeling lonely, homesickness, alienated from co-travellers and the localities, whereas 17 per cent female solo travellers felt insecure due to eve-teasing, ogling and suspicious behaviour. While only 21 per cent solo travellers felt budget pinch as their challenge to solo traveling.

Other challenges included following culture codes, dealing with unpleasant eventualities, finding vegan food items and overcoming boredom et al. In times like these, solo travellers advise budding ones to be highly circumspect by carrying the required safety gears such as pepper sprays, avoiding strange solitary lanes, conducting a thorough research about the destination and planning well, carrying phones, portable chargers and GPS to track locations and maintain communication with family back home and the handiest tip by far is to keep one’s equilibrium in inopportune times!

When asked about places they’d like to be stranded in, about 17 per cent travellers preferred mountains (Himalayan ranges) followed by 10 per cent of them longing to be marooned on an island like Jeju Island and Golapogas island. Among other places of interest, were the countryside to revel in the bucolic beauty of the enthralling landscapes, countries like North Korea, Buenos Aires, Italy and intriguingly enough, haunted places!

WeTravelSolo endeavours to popularise a concept that’s still taking baby steps in a land where independence is at a premium given the vicissitudes of the changing times and hence, aims to know from its populace what it feels about solo expeditions.

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