- What to expect from your first solo holiday
- What type of holiday is best for going it alone (and for you)?
- The best accommodation for solo travellers
Every year, new resorts and locations open up, as do the different sorts of activities you can enjoy there. Canny leisure operators recognise that offering greater choice – whether it’s something adventurous such as trekking or parasailing, or a new experience like creative writing in India or sculpting in the Aegean – means a greater chance of satisfying those looking to do more than just laze on a beach during their two weeks away.
The more niche holidays are also being targeted towards the solo holidaymaker: either those without a travelling partner, those looking to make new friends or those who prefer to take a holiday tailored only to their personal tastes.
So, what is it like going on holiday alone?
If you’ve never been away solo it’s natural to feel a little nervous beforehand. But you needn’t be: booking ahead can quash concerns about transport or reaching your destination successfully.
If you’re worried about feeling lonely whilst away, your tailored holiday will make it likely that you will meet like-minded people who could become firm friends. That said, if you don’t want to feel obliged to get involved in group activities, you don’t have to – you’re there to do exactly what you want.
When away, any research done ahead of your holiday will pay dividends, so buy a guide or search online to learn more about the places you plan to visit, the best local restaurants (and, of course, the worst)! Spending a little time on the basics of the local language is also a good idea, especially if you’re going off the beaten track.
Lastly, it’s key to know that thousands of people go on holiday alone every year. According to a recent survey conducted by travel website 101 Holidays more than a third of people travelled solo in 2015.
Taking advantage of your independence
Travelling alone has many advantages. As it’s just you, there doesn’t need to be any discussion over your decision-making: if you want to do something, you can just do it. Solo holidays also generally require less planning (as it’s just you that you have to take into account) so it’s easier to fit more things in.
A solo holiday is also an opportunity to learn a new skill. If you are travelling around one country, you may be required to learn a bit of the language, while there are also opportunities to become a sports instructor or even a holiday camp counsellor.
However, if you are trying out something for the first time, like safari trekking or orienteering, make sure you check if your travel insurance provider covers it.
Feeling more altruistic? Why not consider working with a charity or on a nature reserve abroad? There are hundreds of organisations around the world eager to find volunteers.
So how do you choose (and pay for) your solo holiday?
Choosing a holiday should begin with, obviously, either location or activity preference, but budget is also likely to play an important factor.
Single fares and rooms often have an added supplement; so if you’re going away on a shoestring look into booking a bed in a shared dorm, or even pooling on transport.
If you’re after a social holiday, a group trip may be for you. Tour operators offer group trips (where you can buy a single place) in locations from Australia to Zambia. Looking for some peace and quiet? Maybe opt for a yoga retreat or a spa.
Once you’ve found your perfect break, double check what’s included in your package. If you do want to go on tours and treks, which often aren’t included in packages, be sure to take enough money on your trip to fund them, alongside what you are likely to need for food, drink, shopping and emergencies.
When it comes to paying for your holiday, book through an agent or company which has the industry backing to ensure you get your money back should any issues arise.
What sort of accommodation can a solo traveller expect?
As mentioned above, single rooms are often charged at a greater rate per night, so shared dorms are a good way to keep costs low and meet fellow travellers. Another option is a ‘capsule’ or ‘pod’ hotel, where rooms are small and basic with just essential amenities or, like in Japan, simply a bed.
What about health and safety factors?
Getting all the right vaccinations in time for your trip is important. Find out which are needed for the country you’re visiting by checking online or asking your GP. Some people can have a reaction to certain jabs, so do leave plenty of time to recover.
If you are considering a country off the usual tourist trail, the UK Foreign Office’s website will flag up any safety considerations.
Still wondering whether that trip is right for you? You’ll get a strong idea of just how you might fare travelling solo by reading a selection of online reviews. If it’s not the perfect break for you, there’s a world of other holidays to choose from!