Solo travel is on the rise.
Let’s unpack that.
Travelling solo doesn’t necessarily mean you are single. Why? Well, many of us have realised there is no time like the present to get out there and make the most of the freedom we have.
The reasons for travelling alone are many. It may be that you can’t take the same time off as your partner, husband, wife or friends. You may not like doing the same things as your partner. Your other half or friends just may not even like travelling. (A re-think of your friendships and loyalties may be required here) Whatever the reason, solo travel is on the increase and we are here to debunk a few myths and add some inspiration.
I’m too old
Over the many years I have travelled, I have met a huge variety of people from all walks of life, and of all ages. It is true that many are young but many are, let’s say, no longer in their 20s. Did you know that there has been over an 80% increase in women aged 50+ travelling solo this year alone? It seems many middle-aged women are seeking adventure, and not letting the fact that they are on their own hold them back. There are of course many solo male travellers, too. But it is the increase in this particular group that has seen the biggest rise in numbers.
I just don’t have the confidence
Confidence or the lack of it may be holding YOU back from travelling alone, but don’t let it be. The thought of travelling on your own to somewhere completely new may be overwhelming. We get it. Yet, as with any challenge, you will always feel better when you have succeeded in doing it. You will come out stronger, braver and with skills you didn’t think you had.
Too old to don a backpack
It also doesn’t mean that solo travel is budget backpacking and staying in dorms. Excuses like “Carry a backpack around for weeks with my bad back?” are not needed either. Think of it more like exciting expeditions, safaris, cruises or cultural trips. There is no need to carry a backpack, sleep in a stinky dorm and put up with other people’s snoring. Unless of course, you are a snorer. You can solo travel as a 5-star traveller too, you know.
Lonely, oh so lonely
You may think that you will feel lonely travelling solo. Well, you may sometimes. But that can happen anywhere and often when you are travelling with another person. But, many people will stop to help you, talk to you, and ask about your trip and your decision to travel alone. It can be a conversation starter, a door opener and even a source of admiration for your choices.
Too many things to organise
Feel a bit overwhelmed by the thought of booking everything yourself? Accommodation, transport, flights, etc. If that is the main thing holding you back, use a specialist travel agent. Trailfinders or Bucket List Travel might be a good starting point for you to go it alone or join a group tour. Group tours have a set itinerary which can take away the need to make multiple bookings. Group tours may not have the flexibility of independent travel, but you’ll get to do more in a short space of time.
Travel to learn
Broaden the mind. Travel to learn a new skill or brush up on one you already have. A great way to meet fellow solo travellers or like-minded ones is to take a course at your destination. Whether it be glass blowing, surfing, learning to cook French pastries or falconry, you’re sure to meet interesting people.
Is wildlife and adventure more your thing? Many safaris are particularly inclusive. A safari trip often includes days spent animal spotting in groups. Plenty of opportunities to discuss wildlife with your fellow adventurers. Evening meals are usually a communal affair, seated around large tables instead of individual ones. Making this kind of travel a communal and inclusive experience.
Sail the Seven Seas
Are you more comfortable out on the sea but want something a bit more adventurous? How about expedition cruises? Sail to Antarctica, the Galapagos, or the infamous North West Passage. Cruise to remote, hard-to-reach places with an experienced crew. This is less about cruising in the usual sense, except you are travelling by boat. It is more about the journey being part of the adventure and getting you to some places that many never get to see.
If you don’t want to learn a new skill or see the Galapagos, and prefer to steer clear of lions and tigers, you can also chill. Book yourself into adult-only accommodation if you want to avoid families or children. Consider the time of year, too. Book a trip during school term time and it should be child-free. Think about the type of place you want to stay at and book it in advance. Pack a few good books and off you go.
Table for One-derful
The main thing to remember is that you are not alone. Yes, you may be travelling solo, but you will have so many opportunities to meet new people. Enthral and inspire those who feel they lack the courage to get out there. Make sure you are covered with any required insurance and let your worries melt away on the horizon. Travel does indeed broaden the mind and your smile.