Addressing Loneliness: The Role of Travel in Creating Connections

Despite near-constant technological advances in human interconnectivity and social media, 2024 is shaping up to be a very lonely year. But we're not powerless in this situation. Travel is a powerful solution that can put the loneliness crisis to rest by enabling people to meet others and create new and lasting connections.  

Just How Severe Is the Loneliness Crisis? 

The loneliness crisis is by no means blown out of proportion – it's a serious public health issue that needs a swift and lasting remedy. According to a Gallup Poll surveying people from 142 countries, 51% of people are lonely. To break that statistic down a bit, 24% of people feel very or fairly lonely, and an additional 27% of people feel a little lonely.  

To give this some perspective, there are over 2 billion people worldwide dealing with loneliness. This may be a shock, considering that over 62% of people worldwide keep up with each other on "social" apps like Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, and Instagram. North America, Southern Europe, and Eastern Asia are some of the biggest social media users.  

Though the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us, the effects of isolation linger on. Many of us were made to work remotely or take on a hybrid work arrangement, and many of us haven't returned to the office to work. Some cannot go back in, and others simply don't want to; 1 in 4 households still have a remote worker. In remote positions, it's much harder to cultivate real work relationships, compounding loneliness.  

Research from the CDC has shown that loneliness has been associated with both physical and mental issues ranging from high blood pressure and low sleep quality to depression and suicidality. Social isolation increases the risk of dementia by 50% and increases your risk of passing away early. In fact, it may be as risky as obesity, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle, per another CDC resource.  

These sobering statistics and research insights underscore the severity of the loneliness crisis worldwide. 

The Power of Travel for Loneliness 

Whether domestic or international, travel combats loneliness in various ways.  

Many of us find ourselves stuck in a rut, going through the motions of completing mundane tasks while putting genuine connections on the back burner. You may find this familiar. Travel is a catalyst known to break that monotony, immersing you in new surroundings, activities, and people.  

When it comes to loneliness, jumping onto your devices isn't the way to go. Though Zoom, Instagram, Snapchat, and other apps allow for some degree of connection, surface-level virtual connections only suffice for so long. The truth is that there's no replacement for in-person interactions. Travelers can spark chance encounters, strengthen connections with loved ones, and even meet "the one" on their next travel excursion.  

One of the main potential contributors to loneliness, per Medical News Today, is having fewer social interactions. Travel fixes that. And you don't have to be traveling with a large group. Both large parties and solo travelers can banish loneliness with regular travel. 

The Travel Industry is Stamping Out Loneliness 

The loneliness crisis rages on, but the travel industry is working more than ever to connect people in person. Solo traveling is on the rise, so tour operators, cruise lines, and other travel firms are implementing solutions to make it easier for travelers to connect with new people. This may involve grouping travelers with similar interests and goals together, regardless of their age. They may also set up activities where travelers interact with locals to foster an authentic connection.  

Plus, it's easier than ever to meet new people on your trip, whether to a neighboring state or halfway across the world. Summer camps, group retreats, and itineraries encourage strangers to meet up, do something fun, and see how things go. People find lifelong friends during these activities, and even if they don't, they can find solace in the fact that they had a great time and saw some new faces.  

It's all about real-time, face-to-face interactions, regardless of what's on the itinerary. People just want to be around others and feel like they belong – like they're seen. The travel industry makes that happen on a grand scale.   

How to Banish Loneliness During a Trip  

If you're experiencing loneliness, you're one of many. But you aren't doomed to remain lonely forever. Our advice? Get your ticket and hop on a plane to somewhere fun and exciting. Not only will you be taken by the new surroundings, but chances are you'll meet someone new and make a life-enriching connection. Before you go, keep the following tips in mind:  

  • Choose group accommodations, guesthouses, or hostels. They exude a community-like atmosphere and put you in a position to meet other travelers.  
  • Take a group tour. Depending on where you're going, you may be able to book a group tour or workshop where other people with similar interests are looking to connect.  
  • Keep an eye out for local events. You don't have to be a local to get in on social events at your destination. So long as you're in a safe area, be on the lookout for cultural festivals, barbecues, and other events where people gather.  
  • Be approachable and open-minded. The more upbeat and open your disposition is, the more social interaction you invite! So, if you want to grab the reigns on your trip and have the best time with new people, smile and be approachable. It also helps to be open-minded and willing to explore. Many new friendships have been built by veering off the beaten path.  

Get Out There! 

So, there you have it – how travel can fix the world's loneliness crisis. The more individuals who tap into the benefits of travel, the better our chances of beating loneliness on a global scale. So, don't wait! Get in the wind and travel somewhere new today! We hope you found all the information you were looking for, and we invite you to embrace the power of travel.   


Berman, R. (2023, January 10). Health and travel: How might traveling benefit health?. Medical News Today.  

Census Bureau (2024, January 29). Week 62 household pulse survey: September 20 - October 2.  

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, April 29). Loneliness and social isolation linked to serious health conditions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, March 30). Health risks of social isolation and loneliness. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.,linked%20to%20increased%20risk%20for:&text=Heart%20disease%20and%20stroke.,Earlier%20death.  

Chaffey, D. (2024a, February 1). Global Social Media Statistics Research Summary 2024 [Jan 2024]. Smart Insights.  

Chaffey, D. (2024b, February 1). Global Social Media Statistics Research Summary 2024 [Jan 2024]. Smart Insights.  

Lopatko, K. (2023, April 9). Feeling lonely? travel can help. Feeling lonely? Travel can help.  

Maese, E. (2024, February 7). Almost a quarter of the world feels lonely. 

AXA already looks after millions of people around the world

With our travel insurance we can take great care of you too

Get AXA Travel Insurance and travel worry free!

Travel Assistance Wherever, Whenever

Speak with one of our licensed representatives or our 24/7 multilingual insurance advisors to find the coverage you need for your next trip.