A survey has revealed that the number-one concern among Gen Z solo travellers does not relate to danger or sickness when on the road but, rather, loneliness. Jenny Southan reports
According to data from experience booking platform Klook, 76 per cent of Gen Z travellers who have travelled alone (or are contemplating solo travel), cite the fear of loneliness as their main the concern when setting off without companions.
Loneliness is a worry among older generations too, but is less of one compared to Gen Zs – 55 per cent of millennials who want to travel alone (or do travel solo) fear loneliness, while 45 per cent of Gen Xers do and 40 per cent of Baby Boomers do.
The findings were based on an online YouGov survey of more than 20,000 interviewees across 16 countries including the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand.
Overall, almost half (47 per cent) of the 2,300 British people surveyed who want to travel solo (or do already) feared loneliness.
So why travel alone at all? Apparently, Londoners’ primary motivation to go solo is to “break free from the rat race”, with 56 per cent admitting to this in the survey, while people from Birmingham said “me time” was their most important reason for travelling solo.
Simon Llanos, marketing director of Klook, says: “Solo travel continues to be a rising trend here in the UK, with Gen Z proving to be one of the most adventurous generations globally.
“Although, surprisingly, this uptake in solo travel from the British youngsters is paired with a reservation about being lonely whilst being on their own overseas, resulting in a love-hate relationship with solo travel.”
“At Klook, we aim to empower solo travellers with a platform that allows users to explore new destinations, confidently and seamlessly from their phone or laptop, so more time is spent enjoying their trip.
“We provide the travel essentials to ensure a hassle-free experience, as well as catering to a variety of tastes and interests including for those travelling solo by providing countless group experiences, from guided tours in Barcelona to Bangkok.”
To some, loneliness may sounds less serious than the threat of mugging, sexual assault or food poisoning, for example, but the fact that so many people rank it as more of a concern when the go abroad alone (and probably perceive it to be something they are far more likely to experience) is revealing.
This autumn, another YouGov poll of more than 2,000 UK adults found that 31 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds said they felt lonely “often or all the time”, compared to 17 per cent of over 55s.
Loneliness is a very real threat to mental health and for people to have a positive experience when travelling solo, they need to be adept at making friends with the right kind of people. Because travelling solo, shouldn’t mean travelling alone.
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