- Memorial Day sees a surge in solo travel, with 34% of Americans planning solo journeys and a comfort level of 73%.
- Men express higher comfort (81%) with solo travel than women (64%), but the gap narrows in actual solo travel plans (22% men, 17% women).
- Plans for international summer travel increase by six percentage points year-on-year to 16%.
As we inch closer to the Memorial Day weekend, marking the unofficial beginning of summer, vacation planning is gaining momentum with rising temperatures. A notable trend emerging this summer is solo travel, which is predicted to flourish based on early signs from the travel and tourism industry.
Solo Travel Momentum
CivicScience data reveals that 54% of Americans plan leisure travel for the upcoming year. Of these, two-thirds will be accompanied, while a considerable 34% are planning to embark on their journey alone. With 73% of adults in the U.S. expressing a minimum level of ‘somewhat comfortable’ with the idea of solo travel, there is potential for an upswing in such trips in the foreseeable future. However, this comfort level is more pronounced among men, with 81% expressing ease compared to 64% of women. Nevertheless, the gap in intent to travel solo is less substantial, with 22% of men and 17% of women planning to travel solo this year.
The allure of solo travel is significantly associated with the pursuit of pleasure. Those intending to travel alone in the next 12 months are more likely to consider traveling for enjoyment as essential or a passion than those traveling in groups. 57% of solo travelers feel this way, a figure 12% higher than group travelers and three times that of individuals with no travel plans this year.
Another trend gaining momentum is international travel. CivicScience data shows that while domestic travel remains the preferred choice, plans for domestic summer travel have declined since June 2021. In contrast, international summer travel has increased by six percentage points year-on-year to 16%.
This uptick in international travel is corroborated by data from the National Travel and Tourism Office, which shows that Americans traveling abroad spent a record $17.4 billion in February and March. The World Health Organization’s recent declaration ending the global health emergency for COVID-19 and the U.S. lifting its COVID-19 vaccination requirements for foreign visitors have possibly contributed to this surge.
Additional travel insights reveal that adults aged 35-54 are the most likely to feel comfortable traveling solo, with 81% expressing comfort. However, only 17% have solo travel plans this year. Among Gen Z adults, only 64% are comfortable with solo travel, but nearly a quarter have solo travel planned. Furthermore, 76% of respondents planning to travel solo within the next year are willing to travel outside their home state, and 20% are planning international trips.
As the emergency phase of the pandemic becomes a distant memory, travel opportunities are re-emerging. As we approach the summer travel season, the travel industry must closely monitor solo and international travel trends.
What We Think
As solo travel gains momentum and international exploration sees a resurgence, the travel industry must adapt to evolving preferences.
The increased comfort with solo travel, particularly among certain demographics, signals a shift in travel dynamics. With international travel rebounding and the summer season approaching, monitoring these trends will be crucial for industry players to align offerings with changing consumer preferences.
Learn more in the Civic Science report.