Skip to main content
Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 23/10/2023

Increased interest in solo travelling

Taking a trip on your own is becoming more popular according to Google search trends identified by our Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) team.

From 2021 to 2023 searches for solo trips to Scotland jumped from 13% to 46%, with travellers claiming our friendly people make Scotland stand out from other destinations. 

We believe that as the COVID-19 outbreak stopped a lot of travel plans, people are now less willing to wait for others to explore and there may be a bigger 'why not' mindset post-pandemic. 

Scotland is a top choice for solo travel

The majority of solo travellers are female (84%) and over half recommend Europe as the best destination for their first solo trip. Hannah Rose – a solo travel influencer known as @postcardsbyhannah – has Italy, the French Riviera and the Maldives checked off her travel bucket list. But she thinks Scotland’s inclusive culture makes it the ideal place to travel alone.

She said: “The first time I visited Scotland solo I went to Glasgow. I chatted with the owner of a coffee shop who was so pleased I had picked his home city to visit, that he refused to let me pay my bill. He then called his partner and co-owner who invited me on a night out with her friends. She gave me her number and we still chat to this day. 

“I don’t know any other place in the world where locals make me feel comfortable and want to chat to me when they realise I am travelling solo. 

“Scotland isn’t just the perfect choice for solo women, but it is a very inclusive country that welcomes those from all walks of life. It is a safe country for the LGBTQ community whilst also being accessible to those less able.” 

Hannah added that solo travel can also mean slow travel – where visitors take their time in a location instead of checking off hotspots. 

The Waters Edge Restaurant, Isle of Glencoe Hotel 

She said: “Scotland is the ideal place to enjoy ‘slow travel.’ Whether you are visiting larger cities such as Edinburgh or exploring the wilderness of the Highlands, it shouldn’t be rushed.  

“Travelling solo means I can set the pace. If I want to sit in a coffee shop and watch the world go by I can. If I want to climb a hill and spend an hour sitting at the top admiring the view, then I absolutely will.” 

The time for solo travellers is now

Research has shown that 74% of solo travellers go alone because they want to experience the world without waiting for someone. 

That was the case for Elise Shapiro whose husband could not travel because of work and friends could not commit. 

The IT training specialist from Seattle, Washington, said: “I have taken a year off to travel and found that Scotland is a great country for solo travel. People are kind and friendly and public transportation has been easy to figure out. I was taking the city bus in Edinburgh on my second day in Scotland. I’ve scheduled time on group tours as well as alone, so I can meet people and make new friends, but I can also have downtime by myself.” 

Elise was drawn to visit Scotland as a fan of TV show Outlander but after visiting some of the filming locations, has explored the country further. 

She said: “I visited Iona, Mull, Skye, Orkney, the Highlands, and Edinburgh. Before I leave Europe, I will also go to Glasgow and then Edinburgh again, later in the winter. 

“Scotland is an easy country for solo travelers. From the botanical gardens, castles and cathedrals to the museums and great restaurants, there’s tons to do, no matter what you are interested in.” 

Elise at The Kelpies, Falkirk

Catering to the solo traveller market

Tour company Mary’s Meanders specialise in Outlander experiences and have seen a rise in solo travellers in recent years. 

Guide Emma Chalmers said: “Since we started offering Outlander Tours, we have frequently hosted solo travellers. They have increased slightly since the pandemic but what is interesting is that they now say things like “I got tired of waiting for my friends/family members to commit and decided to just go for it”, “just because my husband doesn’t want to travel doesn’t mean I can’t”." 

Emma and her team cater for the solo travel market to ensure customers feel safe when holidaying in Scotland. 


She said: “We have a hand holding approach, we offer zoom calls in advance of the guest booking, we are happy to answer any type of question about little things that might be worrying them. It is all about building their confidence if needed.” 

Although many visitors venture out alone, they often end up making important connections thanks to group tours offered by businesses. 

Emma added: “We set up WhatsApp group chats so everyone can start to get to know each other. This works really well; in fact, we have even had guests meet up in the airport and fly over together.” 

Related links