As the UK prepares to go solo with its planned EU exit, the Irish it seems are much more likely to be solo travellers, according to recent research by Travel Department in the UK and Ireland.
Irish people are three times more likely to travel alone than their UK counterparts, the figures revealed. Four out of five respondents overall who travelled alone were women, and 81% of women claiming to travel alone, most often, were Irish.
Those hailing from the UK were more likely to travel with a partner or spouse, or with a group of friends, than Irish respondents.
Travel Department surveyed over 500 people in Ireland and the UK on their travel habits and the research revealed quite marked differences in holiday choices and behaviour.
65% of Irish people said they take between one and three holidays a year, while only 35% of UK respondents did the same. A relaxing holiday is the preferred option of UK residents, while the Irish said they preferred a holiday focused on sightseeing, culture and history.
Most surprisingly, on the subject of mishaps that would ruin a holiday, only three out of every 10 UK respondents said that losing their wallet or passport would bother them. However, seven out of 10 Irish respondents claimed that a lost wallet or passport would spoil their entire trip.
The research by the holiday company coincided with the recent launch of new 2020 Solo Traveller tours by Travel Department. These include a Danube River Cruise, a Bavarian Winter Break, a Milan City Break, a 12-night South Africa adventure, including a safari, and a Nile River Cruise.
The rise in solo travellers and growing numbers of females now holidaying alone has prompted the launch and recent expansion of options for Solo Traveller tours by Travel Department, Sara Zimmerman, the company CEO, says: “Group travel has always been popular for solo travellers. It allows them to meet like-minded people interested in exploring their chosen destination. There are over 400,000 solo households in Ireland, as well as large numbers of people who choose to travel without their partners, on account of having different interests.”
Booking data this year shows that bookings from people travelling alone were up by over 40%, while uptake of the company’s Solo Traveller tours increased by around 200% over last year.
The company’s more extensive 2020 portfolio includes long haul travel, European destinations, city breaks and river cruises.
Annoying Holiday Habits
Asked about annoying holiday habits, only one in four questioned found people taking selfies at picturesque spots annoying on their holidays. The worst habit was being rude to service workers, at 86%, followed closely by queue skipping at 84%.
On preferred holiday types, across the board, the top preferences were cultural or historic sites (41%), lazy relaxing stays (43%) and activity holidays (14%), while party destinations were chosen by just 2%.
Those who booked the fewest holidays a year were most likely to opt for an escorted tour at 45%.
Budget was the most common consideration when booking a holiday at 44%, followed by good weather at 27%, and available activities and sightseeing at 20%.
Where to go is influenced in the main by recommendations from family or friends, at 29%, followed by price, at 27%, and online reviews for 23% of people. Only 12% of respondents based their decision on the recommendation of a travel professional.
There were some surprising differences in holiday habits across the generations. The age bracket for people most likely to take 10 or more trips a year was those in their late 20s.
At just 1%, those in their 50s were least likely to book a solo holiday, travelling on their own, but were most likely to book an all-inclusive package, at 53%.
Four out of five respondents aged over 70 normally travel with their partner or spouse. This contrasts with the 18-25 year old bracket, in which only one out of five respondents travel with a partner or spouse.
Over 70s were most likely to book a holiday over the phone at 10%, but not a single 18-25 year old said they would typically book travel over the phone.
And, in heartening news for the holiday company, only 1% of respondents to the Travel Department survey said they would never consider booking a package holiday.
*547 people were surveyed across the UK and the Republic of Ireland – https://www.traveldepartment.ie/