Solo travel can seem a daunting experience, but those who have tried it describe their first solo trip as uplifting, eye-opening and almost spiritual. Fears such as feeling a little lonely, eating alone and paying more are soon replaced by the numerous benefits once you immerse yourself in what is a truly hedonistic holiday. After all, you can do whatever you would like to do, all of the time.
Fancy dipping your toe in the water of solo travel? We’ve compiled a few helpful pointers to get you on your way:
Avoid paying single supplements. Additional fees are added by hotels and tour operators to make up for the fact that they aren’t taking a second fare. This can be between 25-100% of the trip cost, so you could end up paying twice as much for travelling alone. The good news is that there are travel operators who offer fully inclusive travel without additional charges, such as One Traveller, a dedicated solo travel company for the over 50s.
Connect with like-minded travellers. Doing things alone is often a concern for those taking their first trip, but in fact, solo travel is a great way to connect with other travellers with similar interests; many forge life-long friendships and then holiday with their new found companions. A new breed of companies offer relaxed group travel; they hold ‘pre-travel meet up’ evenings so their guests feel more comfortable when they set off. Also, look for an operator who has tour guides, they will help you get your bearings and you’ll learn all about the area.
Check which dining options are available. Consider an informal group trip where guests can choose to eat alone or with others in the group if they wish to. If you are eating alone and don’t want to stand out, look for a relaxed café environment rather than a formal restaurant. You could eat at the counter and you could always immerse yourself in a good book or plan tomorrow’s adventure.
Be aware. It certainly isn’t true that there is danger around every corner, but if you head off alone, make someone aware of your movements and an approximate time you will return. Emergency services numbers vary, it is always sensible to know this for the country you are visiting; just in case anyone you meet needs help.
Desperate for a dip in the glistening ocean but worried about your belongings on the beach? Place a little money into zip-lock bag then bury it in the sand under your towel. Alternatively, take an empty sunscreen bottle to keep money out of sight from an opportunistic thief.
Remember to appear in your own photographs. Whilst landscape shots are lovely, you want people to know you were there – However, there is no need to rush out and buy a selfie-stick just yet. You will usually find other tourists who would be happy to take your picture. It’s a great way to introduce yourself; as long as you don’t mind returning the favour.
Ready to find exciting new destinations to explore? We’ve a couple of suggestions which are perfect first time destinations for solo travel.
Budapest, the Hungarian capital, straddles the River Danube; it is rich in architecture and has many riverside walks and coffee houses. Take a trip to Lake Balaton, explore beautiful Szentendre village and sample the local cuisine on a dinner river cruise.
The Portuguese islands are great for non-flyers – cruise the Azores and Madeira Islands, exploring the world heritage site in Praia da Vitoria, volcanos, monasteries and Gothic cathedrals.
The Cotswolds can’t be beaten for a staycation; visit stately homes, landscaped gardens and Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-Upon-Avon. Sit back, relax and soak up scenic views travelling aboard the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway.
The award-winning, One Traveller, is the UK’s number one single’s holiday specialist for the over 50’s. They offer more than 30 holidays worldwide, all carefully created with the solo traveller in mind. Every detail is taken care of to ensure that any worries about travelling alone are firmly cast aside. The hard part, is deciding where to go!