Flying solo? Here's how to have the time of your life on holiday.
Whether it’s something adventurous like trekking or parasailing, or a new experience like creative writing in India or sculpting in the Aegean, there's so much choice for solo travellers.
- What to expect from your first solo holiday
- What type of trip is best for going it alone, and for you?
- The best accommodation for solo travellers
What's it like going on holiday alone?If you’ve never been away alone, 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, a holiday tailored to your needs and passions will make it easier to meet like-minded people. But you needn't join group activities if you don't want to – you’re there to do exactly as you please!
Before you go, buy a guide or read online to learn more about the places you plan to visit, the best (and worst!) local restaurants and the top attractions. Spending a little time practicing the basics of the local language is also a good idea, especially if you’re going off the beaten track.
What are the advantages?
Travelling alone has loads of advantages. Aside from calling the shots on what you do and when, solo holidays generally require less planning, and it’s easier to cram more things in.
A solo holiday is also an opportunity to learn a new skill. If you're travelling around one country, you could pick up some key phrases in a new language, and there are plenty of opportunities to combine your adventures with other activities. You could become a sports instructor or even a holiday camp counsellor.
Feeling more altruistic? Check out working with a charity or on a nature reserve abroad. There are hundreds of organisations around the world eager to find volunteers.
Don't forget, if you're trying out something for the first time, like safari trekking or orienteering, check your travel insurance provider covers it.
How do you choose your solo holiday?Choosing a holiday should begin with your location or activity preference, but your budget will also be a 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 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?Single occupancy rooms are often charged at a higher rate, 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 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 ones you'll need for the country you’re visiting by checking online or asking your GP. Some people can have a reaction to certain jabs, so 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? Check out some online reviews or chat to a few tour operators - they'll be able to answer any questions. Happy travels!
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