Another one of latest trends if not a fad in our country right now, is solo travelling and off beat travelling. So what is it? More and more people of the young generation, the well to do college goers and young professionals are backpacking and heading out to popular as well as off-beat destinations as solo travellers. Backpacking can be understood as the form of travel, mostly solo or in a small group, with a longer and more flexible itinerary on a tight budget, with the intent of exploring and understanding a particular place as intimately as possible and not just being a point to point popular destination tourist. Currently it is estimated that between 5-10% of outbound travellers are taking off on their own to explore the world.
The global airline travel industry along with the Indian Outbound Tourism industry is witnessing a new trend in rising number of independent passengers who are going “Solo” or “Backpacking” abroad. Interestingly there are a significant number of these female Indian travellers, which is significant. This revelation has come to fore in a British Airways (BA) study. The BA has released the Global Solo Travel Study into the who, what and why of the trend across the world, and to understand which locations most of them are travelling away to.
The BA Global Solo Travel Study (focussing on Women Solo Travellers) of 18-64-year olds across UK, US, France, India, Germany, Italy, Brazil and China found that over 50% of women have taken a holiday by themselves, with 75% of women planning a solo trip in the next few years. According to the BA study, almost 47% of Indian women said they have travelled alone, for at least 2 – 5 times and 30% of Indian travellers intend to travel in the next 2-3 months. Maximum number of solo travellers in India is between the age of 18 – 25. The survey said that Indian traveller’s hopped/skipped continents the most with 37% have travelled solo to Europe and 33% exploring the UAE and Middle East.
Similarly for a backpacker the travel experience which includes the travelling, the local people and the place itself matter the most rather than the tourist spots, which are often explored extensively or full of tourists from across the world. As a concept, backpacking popularly originated in the west where travellers would take out a month to travel and explore places on a tight budget. Naturally as discussed the motivator for a backpacker is the ethos and the culture of the place being visited, experiencing the place first hand, understand the people and culture, meet new people and interact with them. And moreover, because they have a longer and more flexible itinerary on a tighter budget, conventional staying options which do not fulfill any of their requirements gave way to the concept of backpacker hostels, which is a growing trend both in India and abroad.
According to the Amadeus study, one third (34%) of all outbound travellers are in the age group of 25-34 and they are the most likely to undertake solo or back packing trips.