Solo travel : How to holiday alone...

Written by Alethea Awuku

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Many women are taking the plunge to holiday alone and, according to a 2015 research 58.3% of solo holidaymakers are female! That figure rises for more active and exotic trips such as walking holidays (64%) and African safaris (60%). We've got 9 adventuring tips for you to see the world on your terms...

Find a hotel without a single supplement One of the biggest gripes about solo travel is the ‘single supplement’, hiking up the price of hotel rooms with only one occupant. It’s hard, but with some clever booking arrangements, you can avoid this. Upon booking, don’t be afraid to negotiate prices with the hotel directly, especially if you are travelling in a low season. You could also book through operators who don’t charge the single supplement, such as exodus.co.uk or intrepidtravel.com. Another way of avoiding the single supplement may be to consider sharing with another person of the same sex if you are travelling as part of a tour group.

Create a part-time itinerary, and let the Spirit lead
Having a rough idea of what you want to see and do on your trip is a great way to relieve the stress of finding new places and safe accommodation. According to Smartertravel.com, well-laid travel plans are an integral component of any successful trip, but all in all, the most flexible itinerary is often the best. Various websites and apps can help you to create itineraries. You’ll also have the ability to share those itineraries with loved ones. With a little research, you can be more confident of your whereabouts. Then you can really immerse yourself in a new culture, leaving plenty of room for exploration and freedom to meet others and have great experiences!

Get with a group
Although you may be travelling alone, you could still meet new people by joining a group trip. According to The Independents 2017 Travel Insight Survey of 25,000 UK travellers, British holidaymakers are getting more active on holiday, and are joining group activities such as wildlife holidays, walking holidays, and tour city breaks. Joining a tour group can mean large discounts too. Chances are you’ll be surrounded by like-minded individuals and in the majority, will be safer. Likewise, you have the freedom to go off alone if you prefer. So if you are a little nervous about going solo, book a few group tours with a travel company specialising in your destination as there’s often a large proportion also travelling solo.

Stack up your life skills and CV
In a 2016 survey by BookYogaRetreats.com of 300 respondents, 32.9% stated that their aim is to learn a new skill on their travels, while 29% said they were looking for an enriching experience. For solo travellers looking to give back to the communities they visit, voluntourism holidays allow you to put your professional skills to use. Why not consider joining a volunteering programme in Europe for a few months? You can not only enhance your professional and personal skills, but also have the chance to contribute to the community that you visit.

Explore off the beaten paths safely
Consumer research by Arkenford Ltd, who specialise in leisure and tourism market research, found that 51% of women find the idea of visiting new destinations very appealing. Staying safe on your travels is top priority so before you set off for your adventure, ask employees at your chosen hotel or guesthouse which scams to look out for when out and about. Try and find out not only the non-touristy places that you should see during your visit, but also which areas to avoid. Remember, locals are experts! Checking maps and transportation schedules before leaving your hotel, and carrying minimal items will also help you to draw less attention to yourself.

Don’t be afraid to set yourself a challenge
In 2017, small-group adventure travel company Intrepid Travel saw a 35% increase in women booking more adventurous trips, like hikes up Mt. Kilimanjaro and safaris. Meanwhile, DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co, a cycling operator, had a 35% increase in female travellers over the past three years, with women booking six-night trips and covering 26-70 miles each day. Not all holidays have to involve the beach! Why not consider challenging yourself on your solo trip? You won’t need to go as far to have a similar experience in Europe, and have a holiday of a lifetime!

Consider carrying a travel card instead of cash
Carrying around a lot of cash on your holiday isn’t always the most secure option, and many debit and credit cards will also charge you for using them overseas. Pre-paid cards can be used in the same way as debit and credit cards, but must be topped up with funds in advance. You can then only spend what is on the card, or top it up again if you wish. Many pre-paid cards allow you to load them up in different currencies – making them handy for overseas use. It’s much safer than carrying a wad of cash, and most can be replaced if lost or stolen. Win win!

Create a suitcase check list before you travel
Research from the Office of National Statistics found that, a staggering £96m was spent by holiday-makers replacing forgotten items in 2015. It also seems that 18 to 24-year-olds are the worst age group for forgetting important holiday items. In total, 83% of people who forget items will replace them once they arrive at their holiday destination. Of those surveyed, nearly 40% of respondents forgot toothbrushes, 28% left sun cream behind, 21% did not take a first-aid kit or medication and 16% forget to bring their phone charger. With the help of Pinterest boards, you can create a detailed checklist of everything you need, so you won’t have to spend extra unplanned cash.

Decide what you want to spend your money on before you travel
Holidays are often the biggest culprits for a spending extravaganza. According to the 2015 Trip Advisor Global Travel Economy survey of 34,016 travellers, sightseeing (53%) is the most common indulgence in. In fact, travellers are likely to spend more on sightseeing than on shopping (24%), dining experiences (41%), accommodation (41%) and activities (35%). Before you book your holiday, it may be worth having a think about which category you fall into, as this will help you with budgeting and cutting back on other expenses.


Photography : Shutterstock




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