Top tips for travelling solo

Top tips for travelling solo

How to enjoy the freedom of the single holiday. Daniela Soave offers advice on the best kinds of breaks when you’re exploring on your own.

How times have changed. Travelling solo used to be the domain of gap-year teens but according to a survey by 101 Travellers, the average age of single travellers is now 54. We modern forty- and fiftysomethings think nothing of going on holiday by ourselves, because we feel more independent and less constrained by convention. Amen to that.

Women love to travel

According to another survey, conducted last year by More Time Less Street, more than a third of Britons vacation alone but what’s even more interesting is that women are more likely to go on holiday by themselves than men. As a result, singles supplements – an added tax on the lone traveller – are becoming a thing of the past. Which is great if you are single, divorced, widowed or just fancy a break from your everyday life. What this means is that many holiday companies are vying to win the business of the single, older traveller. What it DOESN’T mean is you’ll have to settle for boring vacations or a dreaded ‘singles’ holiday where the unspoken aim is to find romance.

On your marks

I love travelling solo, whether it’s simply making the journey alone to meet up with friends somewhere in the UK or abroad, or actually doing the whole vacation thing on my own. It’s something that everyone should try at least once in their lives, whether they are part of a larger family unit or not. There is so much to recommend it. Naturally there are things to avoid. For a start, do not book yourself a conventional package holiday, a favourite of couples and families. Not only will you end up paying a hefty singles’ supplement (look out for the phrase ‘based on two people sharing’) but also you’ll stick out like a sore thumb.

Get set

It’s not only singles who travel alone. If you’re part of a couple, you might have a more generous holiday allowance than your other half. Your schedules might conflict. You might have different interests. The reason doesn’t matter. But, to plan a successful solo holiday, you need to be more focussed that you would if you were travelling as a team. Think about what you’d like to achieve from your time off:

  • A bit of retail therapy in the Big Apple or the boulevards of Paris?
  • A recharge at an English health spa or a Far East yoga retreat?
  • A chance to learn a new skill such as painting, cooking, learning a language or dry stone walling?
  • Meeting up with a long lost friend who lives on the other side of the world?
  • Booking a French château or Italian villa with a group of like-minded friends?
  • Volunteering home or abroad as a Woofer (essentially a helper on an organic plot), for the National Trust or by sharing your skills?
  • Or simply reading a pile of books by a swimming pool and ignoring emails, texts and phone calls?
  • Whatever floats your boat, going on holiday by yourself needs a purpose. Simply choosing a destination and turning up rarely ends happily. Consider these points.
  • How long can you enjoy your own company? A week? Less? More?
  • Do you want to stick to the UK or travel further afield?
  • How much contact would you like with fellow travellers? Polite conversation or mucking in if you’re on a course or volunteering?
  • Would you prefer to holiday with a group of friends by booking a villa and creating your own private hotel? If so, could you share ‘chores’ such as organising, cooking, arranging entertainment etc?

Go!

The internet is a wonderful thing. Out there are all sorts of holidays for the single traveller. Here are just a few pointers to get you started.

The internet is a wonderful thing. Out there are all sorts of holidays for the single traveller. Here are just a few pointers to get you started.

  • Want to acquire new skill? Try www.golearnto.com for holidays in Spain, France, Morocco, Italy and further afield. Horse-riding, painting, glass-making, surfing, yoga, photography and dancing are just a few of the courses on offer.
  • Fancy exploring a far-off destination and culture, an exotic city break or a picturesque walking holiday? Head for www.justyou.co.uk to find encounters with penguins in Antarctica, nature in Borneo, culture in St Petersburg or a burst of colour in India.
  • Looking for the experts? www.solosholidays.co.uk was founded in 1982 and claims to have the widest range of holidays for the solo traveller, in the UK and abroad, whether it’s; city breaks, activities, escorted discovery tours or sporting holidays.
  • For UK heritage breaks, spa holidays, European city breaks, Christmas getaways or longer overseas holidays, try www.onetraveller.co.uk.
  • Fancy putting something back into our heritage? How about a National Trust working holiday where you can learn new skills such as dry stone walling in Cumbria, recording bat activity in Derbyshire, working in a nature reserve in Country Down or cider making in Surrey? Go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk to find out more.

 

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Solo travel

Andrea 15/03/2017

Hi Danielle I found your reading very inspirational I've been on my own now for two and a half years and not tempted to go away which I love and miss,but now after reading your article I feel I can achieve this, Thank you so much Andrea

Singles holiday companies

quizqueen 08/09/2016

The best singles' holiday company is Just You.

Just You

sgreen91 17/07/2016

I can really recommend Just You, for group holidays for independent travellers. I'm going on my 5th trip with them next month, to Malta. You can choose how much time you spend with the group or do your own thing, with the security of a dedicated tour manager to help with any questions or problems. I've thoroughly enjoyed all my holidays with this company.

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