Travelling solo can be an exhilarating experience: you can immerse yourself in new surroundings and different experiences without needing to worry about the different tastes and requirements of companions. It is the perfect opportunity for self-indulgence.
Of course, you may have some concerns, but with a little forward planning, you can save money and enjoy a memorable holiday. Here are a few tips for novice single travellers:
When travelling alone, you don’t have anyone to watch your back, so taking a few common-sense precautions will help you to stay safe:
- If driving alone, make sure that your hotel will still be open if arriving late at night.
- Keep to public, open spaces, especially at night. Follow your gut instinct and if something feels wrong to you, remove yourself from the situation.
- Try to blend in with the locals: don’t pore over guidebooks too obviously and don’t wear flashy jewellery or touristy T-shirts.
- Leave a copy of your itinerary with friends at home and keep in touch regularly by phone or email.
- Be aware of the new friends you are making. Con artists may present themselves as charming companions but keep your guard up, as they often target single travellers.
Worried about being lonely? Try an activity holiday!
Activity-based holidays are a great option for solo travellers. You could learn to surf, explore a different cuisine, or try a painting course, without worrying whether your companion is getting bored; many residential courses do not charge a supplement for single guests.
Being in a group of like-minded people means you will always have someone to chat to and you will probably find you are not the only solo traveller in the group. Just do a search online to find specialist activity holiday companies that fit your hobbies and interests: you’ll be surprised at what you find!
How to avoid the single occupancy charge
According to Which?, the supplements that holiday companies and cruise lines impose on single travellers can range from 25% to 100% of the cost for those travelling as a couple, so travelling solo can prove expensive.
If you are on a tight budget and don’t mind sharing, ask your tour operator if it is possible to share a twin room to avoid extra charges. Are you flexible on dates? Try lastminute.com or laterooms.com for last-minute bookings, when tour operators may be more willing to waive single supplements.
Cruising can be an attractive choice for a solo holiday. Several cruise lines, such as Royal Caribbean and P&O, offer single cabins that do not attract a supplement. Book early as they usually get snapped up!