Travelling alone doesn't have to be a daunting experience. Here's a quick guide for having the adventure of a lifetime when going solo.
To many travellers, it’s the ultimate in freedom: striking out on your own, planning and taking a holiday completely solo. It’s about going to places where only you want to go to, seeing the things only you want to see, making no compromises, and having the time of your life.
Travelling solo is a whole different ball game to what you might be used to. It’s freedom, but it’s also a challenge. There’s no one else to blame when things go wrong and no one else to rely on to get you out of a jam. It can be intimidating, but ultimately rewarding.
Take that journey of a lifetime on your own and you’ll discover what you’re really capable of. You’ll also make new friends and have amazing experiences. This is something everyone should do in their lifetime, and it’s easy and affordable – you just need to know a few tricks of the trade.
For those just starting out on a solo journey, a great way to ease into the experience can be travelling on a group tour. This way you’ll still be on your own, except with a ready-made group of friends should you fancy hanging out with people.
It’s a safer way to travel, and much easier for first-timers. Cruising is also an excellent way to take those first solo steps, to practise striking out on your own with the safety net of guides and fellow travellers if you need them.
Safety is a major concern for many first-time solo travellers, but a few small precautions should make things easier.
First, provide a couple of trusted people back home with a copy of your itinerary, so they always know where you are, and how to contact you.
While you’re on the road, always book your accommodation in advance and research how to get there safely. While walking around at night, try to keep to open, well-lit places; or, even better, make friends with someone to go out with you. Don’t wear flashy jewellery.
And by all means, be open to meeting people – but if it doesn’t feel right, trust your gut.
The two words every solo traveller dreads: ‘single supplement’; however, there are ways around this extra cost. When booking with tour companies and cruise lines, keep an eye out for specials that waive the supplement.
Alternatively, if you’re prepared to share a room with another solo traveller, many companies won’t charge you extra. And there are a few Australian companies that specialise in travel for those going it alone, with no hidden costs – just ask one of RAA’s travel experts who can help.
Going it alone
One of the most important things solo travellers need to remember is to embrace this experience, and make the most of it. You can do anything you want! Don’t be afraid to do it solo.
So go out to cafés or restaurants on your own – take a book or an iPad if it makes you feel more comfortable. Go to the movies on your own. Go to the theatre. It takes a little getting used to, but you’ll eventually realise this is one of the best ways to see the world.
Best destinations for solo travellers
There’s surely no more welcoming place in the world than Canada, where solo travellers will find it very easy to make friends if they so desire. Simply speak up with your foreign accent, and the rest will take care of itself.
In cities like Paris, there’s nothing unusual about a person going to a café alone, or eating at a restaurant or drinking at a bar in their own company. It’s okay to be single here.
Bali is a natural magnet for those travelling alone, with its affordability, offerings of yoga, day spas, massages, markets, beaches and all-round spirituality. You’ll find yourself in good company.
In some countries, you’ll struggle to make friends. In Ireland, you’ll struggle to avoid it. Simply step into a pub in any part of the country, and you’ll be welcomed into a group of new friends within minutes.
Not only is the Land of the Long White Cloud very safe for those going it alone, it’s also warm and friendly, and tends to attract a solid crowd of those who’ve also chosen to see the world in their own company.
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