‘Me time’ is a phrase that’s crept into our conversations. As in, ‘I need some me time’. What’s useful about this phrase is its difficult to argue against. It would be a brave partner or spouse that responds ‘no you don’t’.
Which is why the travel industry is seeing a dramatic rise in solo travellers. According to ABTA, which recently released its eighth ‘Holiday Habits’ Report, the number of Britons travelling solo has increased by almost a third since 2011.
There was a time when those travelling alone were defined by their relationship status, ie, they weren’t in one. But ABTA suggests this is no longer the case and “more people are choosing to take a holiday by themselves because they don’t want to compromise on where they go and what they do”.
In fact, according to the Daily Telegraph, which covered the story, ‘solo travellers are…increasingly choosing to leave their loved ones behind in order to do what they want, when they want and get a bit of hard-won ‘me time’. (There’s that phrase again).
That’s probably tough on the partners they leave behind and still a bit tough on their wallets too. ABTA reports that one of the biggest pitfalls of travelling solo is cost, with a third of people saying they felt disadvantaged by choosing to travel alone. Half of them, for example, have had to pay a single person supplement as a result of going solo.
The Telegraph Travel writer Anna Hart recently estimated that “Being single, it seems, is the most indulgent of 21st-century luxuries…the cost [is] an additional £2,049 per year”.
This is largely made up of paying all those single person supplements, but the travel industry is nothing if not responsive to its customers and we suspect that if this trend continues then a few hotels or tour operators will soon break ranks so as to capture a bigger share of the solo traveller market, especially as the fastest-growing age segment is in the fairly flush 35-44 age bracket (up 6% in just one year).