Survey finds many Americans have not traveled solo
Solo travel is increasingly popular but, according to a new Allianz Global Assistance survey, there are still many people who have yet to travel alone.
The survey found that 30.4 percent of Americans say they have never traveled alone, and those who have are more than five times as likely to travel domestically rather than internationally.
The survey also found that most respondents who said that they had traveled solo had done so for business, rather than for pleasure. Just over 27 percent said that they traveled alone on a domestic business trip while 21 percent said they traveled alone for leisure. On an international trip, 3.2 percent said that they traveled for business and slightly more, 4.8 percent, indicated they left the country alone for a leisure trip.
The survey found that men are more likely to travel solo. More than 35 percent of women said they had never traveled alone, and 25.2 percent of men said they had never traveled alone.
Of course, safety is a major concern when hitting the road alone, but mostly for women. More than 76 percent of men said that they have never felt unsafe while traveling alone. In contrast, just 60.3 percent of women said the same.
While men may not feel unsafe, male solo travelers seem more susceptible to theft, with almost 10 percent (9.7 percent) reporting that they have been mugged or pickpocketed (versus 6.1 percent of women).
Harassment is definitely more of an issue for women on the road. Almost 40 percent of women (38.9 percent) said that they have been catcalled while traveling alone, compared to just 11.6 percent of men.
More than a quarter of Americans (25.6 percent) say they have been overcharged or ripped off while traveling alone.
One of the biggest concerns for both male and female solo travelers is the safety of their accommodations. More than 26 percent of Americans listed it as the factor they are most concerned about when traveling alone.
Other top concerns for male travelers include: violence/terrorism (17.8 percent), a natural disaster (17.8 percent), being out after dark (14.8 percent), riding public transportation (10 percent), security/safety of drivers (6.9 percent) and visiting a restaurant/bar (also 6.9 percent).
Females’ concerns are similar: Being out after dark is the second most concern for women (26.3 percent), followed by violence/terrorism (15.7 percent), natural disaster (9.6 percent), riding public transportation (9.4 percent), security/safety of drivers (7.8 percent) and visiting a restaurant/bar (3.7 percent).
Women employ a variety of strategies to stay safe when traveling solo. Nearly 60 percent (59.9 percent) of women avoid walking at night to keep themselves safe while traveling alone. Forty-seven percent inform others of their location, and more than 32 percent avoid conversations with strangers. Other strategies include dressing in a way that won’t draw attention (30 percent), moderating alcohol consumption (27 percent), and avoiding busy tourist areas (14 percent).
Tthere are still many female solo travelers who don’t employ any of these strategies, nearly 20 percent, according to the survey. That number is even more for men. Over a third, 34.1 percent, said they don’t use any of these tactics to stay safe. Nearly 35 percent avoid walking at night, 22 percent inform others of their location, 16.9 percent dress in a way that won’t draw attention, 16.7 percent avoid talking to strangers, 16.1 percent moderate alcohol consumption and 8.4 percent avoid busy tourist areas.