Solo Travel – My Guide to Getting it Right
Travelling as a single person – especially for the first time – can be a daunting prospect. But, believe me when I say, the thinking about it is the hardest part! Solo travel can be an amazing experience.
Where do you start?
You could sit for endless hours searching the internet for something you would feel comfortable with, somewhere that ticks all your boxes, comes in at your price range, will likely have people in a similar position as you that you might ‘like’. The list is endless. You’ll spend so long looking and getting frustrated, that in the end you give up your search, and there goes the opportunity for what could be a wonderful trip. I see this time and again.
Of course, everyone’s circumstances as to why they are a single traveller are wide and varied too. Maybe you’re a single parent – looking for a break with and without the children, you haven’t met ‘the one’ yet, you’re recently divorced, widowed, can’t find anyone to go away with you. Or just by choice!
Many people won’t have the courage to just book a flight and go, and see what happens. And that’s fine too because there really are breaks out there for everyone and every circumstance and every budget.
Here’s a few pointers:
- There are tour operators out there who offer a single parent discount code when booking (yes, really!).
- Some hotels / tour operators offer single parent weeks where they organise welcome parties for the single mums and dads travelling with their children. A great way to meet new friends for you and the kids.
- Cruise ships are perfect for single travellers and are well established in this field. Some even have areas of the ship exclusively for single travellers, including cabins, bars, sun decks and lounges. No need to mingle with Mr and Mrs Loved Up or 2.4 children family ever again!
- River cruises are the fastest growing field in the travel industry. This means much more variety which is great for the traveller. Europe is awash with all kinds of different river cruises. Everything from tattoo artists to drag artists themed cruises and of course the more classical and sedate options are available.
- Destinations with a purpose (for example a yoga retreat, volunteering or health and wellbeing break) are in all corners of the world and are perfect for the single traveller who doesn’t know how they will fill their time when they are away.
- Guided group tours. As experiential travel becomes much more popular, more and more of these kind of tour companies are popping up. My advice is to do your research and choose carefully which tour group to go with as some will have a bias towards younger travellers, some older and some in between. As a travel agent I have an excellent relationship with many of the reputable companies and can guide you on what might be right for you.
- The dreaded single supplement. Check hotels for their single room rates so you don’t get stung. This is more popular in Europe than the rest of the world. Some tour operators will guarantee no single supplements at all, and some guided tour groups will buddy you up with someone else in the group to room share. Of course you have the option to ‘pay the extra’ if you want your own room.
- Book early to avoid disappointment. If you want a particular kind of trip, or cruise ship cabin for example, places tend to be limited. A cruise ship may have 3,000+ cabins but only a handful of single cabins for example, which can get booked up sometimes 24 months in advance. Many companies offer early booking discounts too.
The Hug Directory Travel and Holiday Expert
Nicola Donaldson is a personal travel agent with 19 years’ experience working in the travel industry. She has travelled extensively herself, including solo travel. She also has a growing clientele of single and single parent customers.
For me, job satisfaction comes when I know I have found my customers the right holiday and they’ve had an amazing time.”
Solo trips Nicola has booked for her customers include:
- A private guided tour of Singapore and onward travel to Australia
- A walking tour of the Amalfi Coast in Italy, with plenty of pizza and wine tasting!
- A group guided tour of Sri Lanka
- A multi-stop tour of the Philippines and islands with private transfers throughout and a local contact person
- A cruise around the Caribbean and another around Europe
- A group guided tour of the Golden Triangle and the backwaters of Kerala in India
- A single mum and two sons to a hotel with watersports as the main attraction, so mum could relax wit ha book on a sun lounger and the boys were entertained all day.
- A wellbeing holiday in St Lucia