File size must be less than 2Mb
You must have online publishing permission or full ownership of this image
File types (jpg, png, gif)
30 October 2019
By Anne Taylor
Choosing the right travel companion can make a world of difference to your holiday experience.
But what if you have an incurable case of wanderlust and don’t have a travel companion?
The prospect of solo travel might seem daunting but is far from it – it can be a richly rewarding experience where you can follow your heart and do the things that interest you.
Article continues below
You can stay somewhere longer or not go there at all, and you don’t need to keep pace with anyone else.
You also avoid some of the stresses that can arise when holidaying with loved ones; there are not many of us who haven’t had the odd issue arise over navigation in an unfamiliar location.
Solo travellers come in many guises. It’s a common misconception that when we are talking about solo travellers we are referring to singles, but this is definitely not the case.
Sometimes a keen traveller has a partner who is not so keen on the idea of travel, or is not able to travel due to health or work commitments.
Let’s face it, it can sometimes be a challenge trying to persuade workaholics to leave their desks or farmers to leave their land for even a few days, so why not make the decision to set off on your own adventure?
Going outside the comfort zone of travelling with family or friends brings benefits and experiences you would not otherwise have and you’ll be more inclined to talk to people and make new friends along the way.
So what are the options when it comes to setting off on your holiday adventure as a solo traveller?
The world is your oyster, you get to call the shots, choose your itinerary and travel at a pace to suit yourself.
Volunteering is ideal for solo travellers and is both a great way to visit a destination and have an opportunity to give back to local communities at the same time.
Solo travel is one of the fastest-growing sectors in travel and this is great because it means more operators are offering deals for people travelling alone.
But travelling solo doesn’t always mean travelling alone.
Joining in with a group tour provides security and an opportunity to meet like-minded people to share your experiences.
Some tour operators offer special departures just for solo travellers.
They provide a safe and comfortable environment, especially for the first-time solo traveller.
There are ways to get around this though, and this is where a trusted travel advisor can prove invaluable. They have access to a wide range of deals which can save a single traveller paying extra supplements that can add to the cost of a holiday.
We are often asked why it costs more to travel as a single person.
The simple answer is that hotels and cruise lines work out their costs on the assumption that rooms or cabins will be occupied by two people, so if you have the whole space to yourself you often have to pay all, or nearly all, of the total to cover costs.
Some tour operators offer ‘guaranteed share’ reservations where they will match you up with a fellow traveller of the same sex to share a room with on tour.
Most people who are open to sharing are friendly and approachable types and it can lead to great friendships.
In most cases if they can’t find a match for you it’s your lucky day and you have the room to yourself at no extra cost.
Of course, if you prefer your own space, there’s always the option to book a single room for a little extra.
It’s not always a case of being the third wheel on a tour as we see a growth in departures offered only for solo travellers.
River cruise operators have also embraced this growing part of the tourist market, with many offering discounts or waiving the single supplement altogether.
You might have to be a little flexible with your travel dates to secure these deals, but it also means there will be more singles on board who you can team up with at meal times and on excursions.
Onboard security and smaller numbers of passengers make river cruising an attractive option for solos.
Smaller ships make it easier to strike up a conversation as you’re not just another face in the crowd but part of a small group of travellers enjoying a shared experience.
Travel is a gift and travelling solo could be your greatest travel experience yet. Why not give it a try?
•Anne Taylor is italktravel Horsham managing director.
The entire Lifestyle Wimmera Edition 5 is available online. READ IT HERE!