If you are looking to get away by yourself this year but you’re not experienced at solo travelling, we’ve got some top tips to help smooth the way…
Our advice for solo travelling
You’re not alone
Many people holiday by themselves, whether they’re single, looking for a new experience, desperate for some “me-time”, or their partner or friends don’t fancy the trip. Whatever the reasons, a solo holiday could be a revelation.
Do your homework
Unlike many other times in your life, you have the opportunity to do whatever you, and only you, want. Research is the key to a really successful holiday on your own.
Before you book anything, check out the accommodation, package or activity if relevant, and destination. Find out what your fellow travellers will be like, and look at what’s on where you’re going. You probably don’t want to be surrounded by newly-weds in the middle of nowhere.
If you’re feeling unsociable and not interested in meeting people at all, you could be happy with an independent break at a nice hotel, in an interesting destination.
Notebooks, novels and devices will help make evenings less uncomfortable amongst the bored couples, stressed families or unwanted companions.
If you’re staying in a city, there’s no reason why you can’t head to the theatre, arts centre or cinema at night for some entertainment too.
For those travelling independently but looking for a bit of company, quirky B&Bs, guest houses and hostels can lead to new friends and unforgettable experiences. Forget any preconceptions you have and get your backpack on!
Organised group trips can be a brilliant way to holiday by yourself, with guaranteed company if you want it. Friends, couples and solo travellers tend to bond during daily excursions and meals; often finding future holiday companions and building long-lasting friendships.
It’s worth remembering that you will travel in close confinement and not everyone on a group holiday will share your views and interests! Pay the single supplement to ensure you don’t end up with a roommate who gives you nightmares.
On your bike
If you have a hobby such as cookery, art, cycling, trekking or yoga, there will undoubtedly be an organised specialist holiday out there for you. These breaks are ideal for people travelling on their own as the focus is on structured activity with like-minded people, and the camaraderie that results from this.
The advantage of booking with a specialist singles holiday provider is that you will generally get your own room with no single supplement. You’ll know that all of your travel companions are flying solo too, but not necessarily looking for love. The best singles holiday companies will also give you an idea of the age range and male/female split, if this is important to you.
There’s a range of holidays available, from sunshine breaks to activity-led stays. Tour leaders will make sure everyone is included in the action, but you can always opt out if you fancy some alone-time.
Look after yourself
Safety can be a worry for women travelling alone in particular. Male or female, you are no more vulnerable on holiday than at home as long as you use your common sense.
Share your travel plans with friends and family and keep in touch via social media if it makes you feel safer. Try to avoid arriving at a strange destination alone in the early hours, and pre-book a hotel for your first night. Make a note of the address and phone number and use the official taxi service to get there. Be aware of the areas to avoid at your destination.
When out alone it can be easy to knock back the booze to shake off inhibitions – don’t drink too much! Aside from the safety issues, the lone holiday drunk is a very sad sight indeed.
If anyone or any situation is setting off alarm bells, just walk away. It doesn’t matter if it turns out to be a false alarm.
Travel is sexy!
If you are in the market for romance you’ll be pleased to hear that an interest in travel makes someone more attractive, according to a poll of MySingleFriend.com members run by adventure specialists Intrepid Travel in 2013. The survey found that eight in ten (79%) find a potential partner more attractive if their dating profile lists an interest in travel. Keen travellers are also thought to be curious about the world (84%), open-minded (75%) and cultured (68%).