Planning a solo vacation?
Chances are you’re Irish.

irishflagrgbAccording to research on Google, more people from Ireland search for solo vacation information than from any other country. In fact, North America falls behind Ireland, the United Kingdom and Australia when it comes to their interest in a solo vacation. Canadians are just a smidge ahead of Americans on the list.

Why would  the Irish rank so high for ‘solo vacation’?
This is a curious bit of information. What is it about the Irish, Brits and Aussies that makes them more interested in a solo vacation than their counterparts in North America?

Is it the fact that there are so many options within a short distance? The cheap flights to the continent? Does the EU make people feel more connected? Is it the opposite for Australians – does extreme distance send them traveling to connect with the world? But, hold on… this may explain the travel thing but it doesn’t explain the specific interest in solo vacations.

Twitter thoughts on who takes a solo vacation
Determining the cultural reasons behind this phenomena would require much analysis for which I don’t have the time or inclination. So I took the next most scientific approach – I polled my followers on Twitter. Here are what my Twitter friends had to say in 140 characters or less:

@Canadiantimtam – I think that backpacking & gap years are a rite of passage in the UK and Oz, less so in N America. Travel is ingrained early.

@Lilitree – Irish, Brits & Aussies see solo travel as safe. Canadians & Americans don’t, we trade lots of solo travel horror

@CailinONeil – I think because they are more knowledgeable of the world and N. Americans are not, therefore afraid of the unknown. stories.

@artistatlarge – I love solo travel! But I think N.Americans travel in packs out of fear of the unknown. It’s the only reason I can figure…

@CynatNovaScotia – Seems like in North America, it’s a family drive or a trip overseas where it seems far, your less likely to want to go alone.

@niall72 – Historically we’ve always done so. We’re quite happy to get lost, sidetracked etc. Not sure N Americans share these traits.

So… what do you think? Please submit your ideas on different cultures and the solo vacation in the comments section below.

Thanks to everyone.

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  • Terence

    It’s not about ‘how many’ but how deep. BTW you would not die…

  • Terence

    To those of you who tend to ‘romanticize’ who you imagine/suppose/assume your ethnicity is, I strongly suggest you get your DNA profile done for the eminently affordable sum of $80. I guarantee you are not who you think you are.

  • Kristine Huttinger-Woodcock

    I agree that most N. American are afraid to travel solo. I’m glad that I am one of the few rare exceptions. My first solo travel out of North America was to Egypt in my early twenties (right out of college). My parents were terrified of me going alone but I wouldn’t let them talk me out of it. Now I’m addicted.

  • Dannie

    I tend to think the Irish and Aussies are really friendly people and so make friends wherever they go and so easily, that travelling on your own may not seem so scary.

    Not sure why us Brits like travelling alone. I prefer it as i can easily hop over to Europe and spend a few days checking out parts of countries and seeing sights.

  • Sandra ORourkeGlynn

    Wow, as an Irish person by birth and currently living here I agreed with much of this. As an American citizen for the last 20 years and getting ready to move back stateside I agree with your comment but seeing it in print its so sad. As a solo traveler with 54 countries under my belt I cannot imagine a life without travel. I think I would die.

  • Guest

    I totally agree with Lillitree.. The others not so much…. I’ve traveled all over Ireland alone before and made many friends. And I would not say that Irish people are more worldly. In fact, quite the opposite. Americans definitely share a ton of solo travel horror stories….

  • Melusina

    I found this to be spot on. I’m of Irish heritage but I’m American born and I’m happily planning my solo trip back to the land of my ancestors. I used to not like to travel alone but now I find it preferable to traveling with others. If I go alone I can move about freely and set my own schedule. After my last trip with my friends was completely ruined by their bickering I’ve decided to go it alone. Hurrah to freedom!

  • KattyBlackyard

    I really like your post. Does it copyright protected?

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  • admin

    Thanks for such a thoughtful and thought-provoking comment. A great beginning to the type of dialogue I was hoping for.

  • Ted

    Europeans enjoy vacation time as a basic entitlement, so they have time to explore various forms and styles of travel. Americans have no such entitlement, and are lucky indeed if they can use the full week or two their employers grudgingly offer them. I think that tends to calcify travel styles into the couples and families markets established 50 years ago, and promoted by a travel industry that has yet to recognize the existence of the solo traveler. Since the solo traveler is practically unheard of in any marketing or mass media, taking a trip alone is not something most people even think about.

    The other possible factor is that the dominant characteristic of American culture is fear. While the fear levels reached new heights after 9/11, the current “terrorism” bogeyman is merely the successor to “communism” and “subversive anarchists” that existed throughout the twentieth century. And those have long cohabited with the fear of crime, drugs, and anything unusual or different. The world is such a frightening place for Americans that anyone who travels without the protection of a tour group, a family, or at least a spouse or travel companion is subject to risks that few are willing to contemplate. That’s why a common reaction of someone traveling in a family or group who encounters a solo traveler is “you must be very brave.” Conversely, Europeans are less dominated by fear, so they feel free to take trips by themselves if that’s what they want to do.

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