So how do you go about planning a trip that’s just for you?
Travelling solo means you don’t have to worry about when your travel companions can get time off work or where they want to go. You can go wherever you want, on whatever date suits you. Why not make a shortlist of destinations you’d like to visit and check the prices and availability for each one?
When it comes to solo holidays there’s no right or wrong length or destination - it’s whatever you want to do. If you’re feeling a bit apprehensive you might decide to try a weekend in Dublin, if you’re feeling more adventurous you might opt for a fortnight in Jamaica.
An advantage of travelling alone is you may find you’re able to fit more into your itinerary, as you won’t be waiting for others to finish or to get ready. Alternatively, if you’re the one that likes to spend time reading everything in a museum, then you won’t have travel companions trying to rush you.
Top Tip: Having a hotel room to yourself is normally more pricey than sharing. However, choosing a quieter date may reduce the price difference, as hotels would rather have a single traveller occupying a double room, than it remaining vacant.
Get Around Smartly
Do you normally travel around by taxi or hire car, while abroad? If you’re not travelling with others, these can prove pricey ways of getting around, as you don’t have anyone to split the costs with. In most European cities public transport is perfectly safe to use (if you take sensible precautions) and ticket machines quite often have English language options. Many buses now have next stop displays and if they don’t you can use a GPS app to track how far you are from your destination. If you’re planning to use trains or coaches you can usually buy tickets in advance via the operator’s website or mobile app.
Not all places of interest are easily accessible by public transport. For these you may wish to consider organised day tours, such as a Day Trip to Delphi from Athens. These can provide a way of mixing with other solo travellers, while still maintaining your own independence.
Top Tip: Buying train and coach tickets directly from the relevant operator is usually cheaper than buying from a third party such as the Trainline or Rail Europe. However, be aware of any fees your card issuer may charge for a foreign currency transaction.
Decide Where To Eat
Single travellers don’t always choose to eat out in restaurants. If you do, then bear in mind that you may be sat by yourself for a while as your meal is being prepared, and not all restaurants welcome reservations for one person. Although, that perhaps isn’t an issue if you make new friends and decide to eat out with them.
As an alternative you could search for a local market with ready-to-eat hot food stalls. These often have communal seating areas, meaning your group size doesn’t matter and you have the chance to socialise with others, if you wish.
You may consider staying at a hotel that offers a buffet evening meal, or one with Self Catering facilities. Other options you may want to look at include bakeries, cafes and street food stalls, all providing tasty sweet and savoury bites without the wait.
Top Tip: Tripadvisor allows you to filter reviews to show just ones written by single travellers. This can be a useful resource if you’re trying a restaurant that welcomes reservations for one, or hotels that are popular with people travelling alone.
As you won’t have a friend, family member or partner looking out for you, taking sensible precautions are more important on a solo trip. While a backpack might be the most comfortable way of carrying around the things you need for the day, these can be targeted by pickpockets in crowded places, so a shoulder bag may be a safer bet.
When it comes to money, ensure you have more than one payment method. Not everywhere accepts contactless and sometimes card transactions fail. Having a physical card with ample funds means you can withdraw additional cash, if needed, and in the event of it being lost or stolen most banks allow you to immediately block your card in their app.
Being by yourself may result in scammers being more likely to target you. The most common one involves someone trying to gain your trust, before taking you to somewhere that rips off tourists. It can take different forms ranging from the scammer telling you they work at your hotel and offering to take you to a shop they recommend. Alternatively, it could be a young attractive woman trying to lure you to a bar of their choosing, or an older man posing as lonely attempting the same tactic. If you weren’t planning to go somewhere or do something five minutes ago, then don’t change your plans because of what someone you’ve just met has said.
The good news is solo travellers can also blend in more easily with locals. So, if you’re a tourist by yourself who looks like you know what you’re doing, then you may instead be mistaken for a local. Then your only concern is someone starting a conversation with you in the local language, when you don’t speak it!
Top Tip: If you’re given a wristband for your hotel and then walk around in a t-shirt or short sleeved garment outside the resort, you may advertise yourself as a lone tourist. You could consider using a watch or bracelet to hide the wristband.
Some of the most popular trip ideas for solo travellers include:
- Seeing the stunning scenery of Iceland.
- Discovering the vibrant culture of Mexico.
- Roaming the emerald beauty of Ireland.
- Exploring the historic cities and castles in Germany.
- Experiencing the exotic wonders of Thailand.
- Uncovering ancient treasures in Greece.
- Seeking out the hotspots in Spain.
- Embarking on a journey through Portugal.
About the author
Edmund Myerscough loves exploring new destinations. His favourite holiday, so far, was a trip to the Balkans that included Dubrovnik, Mostar and Kotor.