GLOBALIZATION has undoubtedly made the world smaller and alongside technology, the travel sector has been transformed from a previously luxurious and indulgent experience into a common lifestyle choice.
Flights are getting shorter, more comfortable, and tickets are getting relatively cheaper than they were three decades ago.
New sprouts of the travel and tourism industry seem to be popping up all the time. Millennial travelers seek unique experiences and people are no longer content with the run-of-the-mill package holiday. Instead, opting for excursions to untouched beauty and hard to reach spots.
Another trend bucking the traditional tripping rules is solo travel, and according to booking platform Agoda, more Malaysians than ever are deciding to leave family and friends at home to go and see the corners of the Earth alone.
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Solo traveling simply means going by yourself, traveling at your own pace and working off your own agenda.
It may sound lonely but one of the brilliant things about traveling is meeting new people, exploring cultures and discovering a world outside everything you’ve ever known.
According to the report by Agoda, there has been a 50 percent increase in one-person bookings in Malaysia since 2016.
Accessibility was a major factor in the increase of solo travel among Malaysians.
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“As the far-flung corners of the world are becoming easier to reach, travelers are more willing to experience destinations with the freedom that comes from traveling alone,” Agoda global director Andrew Edwards said in a statement.
An increase in solo travel is being experienced across the global travel sector. Inspirational ideas website, Pinterest, recording a 593 percent surge in users wanting more solo adventures.
They’re not alone either as Intrepid Travel, an Australia-based online tour agent, claims 50 percent of travelers booking the trips are going solo. Intrepid Travel also predicts solo travel will be one of the foremost travel trends of 2018.
Looking at the bigger picture, Google Trends also recorded a solid growth in interest in solo travel over the past 10 years.
The statistics released by Google Trends revealed July 2017 had the most “solo travel” searches in search engine’s history.
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But where is everyone popping off to?
Well, according to Agoda, most of the solo trips Malaysians are making are to domestic locations.
Kuching in the Malaysian state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo came out as a top interstate solo travel destination.
The city has strong colonial roots that are beautifully displayed in the preserved buildings.
The Sarawak rivers run through the city with food vendors, lining the banks to give locals and tourists a flavorful experience.
The city is known for its safety and invites male and female travelers to experience its inner-city charm and explore the surrounding lush rainforests and mysterious caves.
When it comes to international travel, Taiwan seems to be attracting most of the Malaysian solo travelers, seeing a 41 percent growth last year.
Agoda also found Malaysians were taking solo trips to Japan, Thailand, and Indonesia.
The safest places in Asia for solo travelers, especially women, have been a topic of discussion over the last few years and tour operators and hotel groups are listening to what travelers want.
In response to this growing trend, St Giles Hotel Group recently launched its Go Solo Go St Giles package.
The package encourages solo travelers to shake off conventional group holidays and explore the world alone, meeting people as they go.
The campaign includes lists of bars, restaurants, entertainment and touring activities which are perfect for solo travelers in cities including Kuala Lumpur, Penang, London, Manila, New York and Sydney.
According to Trekeffect, a blogging and social media platform for travelers, the safest destinations for solo trips in Asia are Chiang Mai in Thailand, Bali in Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kyoto in Japan, Palawan in the Philippines and Taiwan.
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