Itchy feet and wanderlust may cause problems for those without a partner or travel companion – especially when there is a fear of travelling alone.  Solo travel requires large measures of courage and confidence and the levels differ from person to person.

Single women are often fearful of solo travel and feel vulnerable – for good reason.  The hospitality industry is listening and hotels geared up solely for the needs of women travelling alone are available here and there.  Let’s face it, given the choice most of us would opt to share our holidays in a safe cocoon with those we know and trust, family, or a special someone.  However, the upside of travelling alone is that it tends to force you out of your comfort zone, providing opportunities to meet new people and enjoy new experiences that might otherwise be missed.

The annoying single supplement is a drawback that for many singles tips the scales into the unaffordable zone.  If travelling alone is out of the question how do you go about finding a travel companion – or a solo travel experience that you’d be comfortable with?  A few tips:

  1. Research groups and organisations in your local community where you may find like-minded people
  2. Search online for singles travel specialists, forums, cruises, spa retreats, yoga holidays, etc.
  3. Pursue a group holiday based on an interest or hobby.  This is an excellent way to travel alone in a group and yet not feel alone, such as on a bird watching, cooking, or photography trip
  4. Volunteer overseas.  This is a great way to travel solo while contributing to something worthwhile and combining adventure with a rewarding experience.  There are opportunities for healthy people of all ages

Single travel often makes you more approachable, plus you may feel more open to initiating conversation with strangers (with caution!).  You may need to ask for directions or recommendations, or for someone to take your photo at a tourist hotspot.  Solo travel provides the opportunity to make lifelong friends (speaking from experience).

There are obvious risks to travelling alone, making personal safety and awareness a priority.   Thoroughly research your destination country so that you know the local laws and customs.  Ignorance of the law is not always a good enough excuse and, much as you may wish for companions, you may end up in company best avoided!  The Foreign Office website (FCO) is a good place to start and packed with helpful information and links for travellers.  Review their ‘Know Before You Go’ section.

One last tip:  Check your destination country for any FCO advisories against travel before you book.  Your travel insurance could be invalidated if you ignore government advice!

Solo travel is not for everyone but, hey, look on the bright side, you are free to please yourself and do what you want to do.  It has to beat spending your holiday with an incompatible, difficult, or grumpy travel companion!

We’d be interested to hear your tips for travelling solo. Why not visit us on Facebook and encourage other single travellers with your tips and experiences.

Flickr cc Image:  ToNG!?

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