Top tips for solo travellers
Solo travel can be liberating, exhilarating, self-indulgent and daunting.
You can do what you want, when you want. You don't need to compromise with anyone.
But it can get a little lonely. And sometimes it's tough organising everything yourself.
Luckily, with a little planning, you can mitigate the downside of solo travel. Here's a few tips to make the most of your solo holiday.
1. Consider an organised tour
Not confident about going it alone? Drawn to a destination but feel it's too hard? Organised tours allow you to relax and enjoy the ride. Hotels, transport, tours and flights can all be organised for you. A tour allows you to meet new people with the same interests as you.
These days many tours are created with solo travellers in mind - so they have reduced single supplements. You can relax knowing that the tour is full of people who want to travel solo - just like you. Companies such as MyDiscoveries have launched solo tours due to increasing demand. Norfolk Island or Uluru are easy options. Prepared to use your passport? Try the 11 day tour of New Zealand. Or for a really incredible adventure, the 23 day fully escorted Trans-Atlantic tour and cruise for solo travellers. It will take you from Barcelona, through the Caribbean to Fort Lauderale in Florida USA.
2. Find accommodation that is right for you
Will you miss being around people? Or are you really looking to get away from everything?
If you're keen for alone time, you should look for hotels and retreats that offer privacy.
If you want to meet people along the way, consider hostels and AirBnb rooms. Most hostels offer private rooms and the chance to interact with other guests in common areas. You'll automatically have something in common as you are all exploring the same town. AirBnb rooms give you the opportunity to stay with locals in their houses. You can ask them for local tips and really delve into the city in a more authentic way.
3. Book day tours end experiences
Companies such as Viator and AirBnb now do organised day tours. Try a French class in Paris, a street art walk in Berlin or a cooking class is Xian. No matter what your interest, you can find someone around the world who shares it.
4. Don't worry about making a good impression
The best thing about solo travel is that you can be yourself. Don't worry about what people think of you. You most likely won't see them again. Relax, be yourself.
5. Be spontaneous
It's easy to get single tickets at the last minute for shows when you only need one seat. Sometimes you can scoop tickets at a huge discount. Try asking at the box office on the night, you'll be surprised.
6. Take advantage of technology
If you are feeling lonely, use technology to connect with people back home. Skype, Facebook chat and What'sApp allow you to do voice and video calls over WiFi. Instal them on your phone before you go.
7. Cruise away
Thanks to the growing demand from solo travellers, many cruise lines, including P&O and Royal Carribean, now offer single rooms. Cunard even has gentlemen dance hosts ready to lead single ladies on the dance floor.
8. Be flexible
Travelling alone allows you to spend as long or as little in a destination as you want. Remove any travel time restrictions and you will enjoy your holiday more. One of the advantages of solo travel is that you are more likely to be able to snag that last seat on the plane or train. You're also more likely to be upgraded.
9. Ask for help
If you're unsure of yourself, ask for help. You're more likely to attract trouble if you are standing around looking dazed. Smile, be friendly and confident and you'll find most people are willing to help. Sometimes it's the strangers that you meet on the road that have the most impact.
10. Download maps
Navigating your way is often the hardest part of travel. These days you can download maps of the city and public transport. Study them before you go and you will be less likely to get lost.
Feeling inspired? Check out our MyDiscoveries Solo Holidays travel page for ideas. Or take a look at the stories below for a little dose of Wonderlust
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