From suggestive dating holidays, affordable group vacations with strangers to living with locals, we round up the best trips and tips for solo travellers
The concept of solo travelling among Europeans has grown in popularity as the benefits are clear – you have the freedom to do whatever you want, there isn’t another person you have to please (or argue with), plus it is also easy for solo travellers to interact with others and make friends along the way. Perhaps this could help to explain why recent studies show that there has been a 143% increase in ‘solo travel’ related searches in the past three years from the UK consumers alone and plenty of travel companies are now tapping into the market with a range of holidays for solo travellers.
If you’re looking to jump onboard the solo travel train, here are some trips and tips for the perfect solo adventure.
An adventure trip to Ecuador, a Caribbean cruise with singles from all over the world, there are plenty of tour companies offering solo travellers the chance to meet new friends and among them, the US-based Singles Travel International has been catering to this market for over two decades.
In the UK, Solos Holidays also has plenty of trips emphasising companionship and social sojourns. Established in 1982, this company has an impressive range of tours available, spanning city breaks to long-distance trekking trips.
Hedonistic holidays for singles
If you’re looking for something more risqué or a fleeting fun with a stranger, then look out for these two hedonistic playgrounds. The first is the Mexico-based Temptation Experience with its two flagship products – the Temptation Cancun Resort and the Temptation Caribbean Cruise with the former boasts a ‘sexy pool’ and a ‘Bash’ which is a ‘high-energy hotspot with riveting, nightly entertainment’ for its adult-only clients.
Across the Caribbean Sea from Cancun is Jamaica and home to the 4-star Hedonism II Resort. This clothing-optional resort has daily themed nights including ‘Bare as your dare glow pool party’ on Tuesdays. Although it targets single travellers, it also (somewhat bizarrely) hosts weddings – perhaps there are single travellers who decide to get hitched right there and then.
Strangers on a train
For solo adventurers who want to meet other like-minded individuals without joining an organised tour, consider taking a long train journey across Europe. There are few better places to meet people than in a train carriage, especially when the train in question takes a few days to arrive at its destination, giving you plenty of time to get to know your carriage neighbours.
Russian Rail runs many long-distance train journeys including one from Nice to Moscow. The journey starts from Nice and takes you through eight countries – France, Monaco, Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Belarus and Russia, before arriving in Moscow 46 hours later. Alternatively, you can catch the Moscow-to-Nice ride and that will take 51 hours.
If you add some vodka into the mix, you will probably have all the ingredients for a great adventure.
Holiday tips for solo travellers
Holidays sans single supplements
Most solo travellers pay single supplements when going on holiday. Companies argue solo travellers are less profitable than couples as they take up the same amount of space and spend less.
Fortunately, not all operators include extra charges and single holiday specialists such as the UK-based Solo Holidays certainly don’t add supplements for single travellers. Also, ask for the option to share the room with another same-sex solo traveller. For example, the US-based Singles Travel International goes the extra mile to match you with another fellow solo traveller if you want to share the room. Do shop around to find the best deals.
DIY holiday share
DIY holiday share is another great concept especially for solo travellers who want to escape organised tours. The concept is finding a companion of your own through websites such as triptogether.com, travel-buddies.com and travelfriend.online. These sites allow members to post pictures and descriptions of themselves, along with details about their upcoming trip which other users can match with their requirements.
Some of them do have a whiff of dating elements, and some do use it to find love in foreign places. However, for others, it is a matter of convenience and companionship.
Whether you’re travelling to Barcelona or Havana, a homestay is a perfect opportunity to live like a local and make new friends. Websites such as homestay.com and airbnb.com have host families scattered around the world who provide beds, meals and authentic travel experiences for their guests.
Great for singles searching a for warm welcome while on a budget, homestays are typically cheaper and more enriching than staying in hotels, giving your solo holiday a more authentic feel.
Stay safe tips for solo travellers
Safety is paramount and for solo travellers and preparation is key. Always research the good and bad areas of your destination, read up common tourist scams (a highly common scam involves a local claiming to know a cultural show nearby and wanting to take you there which is likely to end up costing you monetary loss or worse), pay attention to etiquette and work out how to get help should anything happen. Photocopy your passport and credit cards and leave them with a friend or a family member at home and carry a copy with you. Pack light and leave all the flashy things behind.
At the destination, buy a local SIM card or even a cheap phone if you’re going to be there for a long period, blend in, stay aware of your surroundings, don’t accept drinks from strangers, use a licensed operator for taxi booking or local tour booking and most importantly, trust your instincts.
When it comes to updating your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter status, one piece of useful advice is to delay your post, especially if you want to tag the location.
An article from Forbes once claimed that solo travel is so beneficial that everyone should travel solo at least once and we tend to agree. Whether you’re going on a long journey of self-discovery or simply enjoy a weekend of freedom in a nearby city, stay safe and cherish every moment because you’re going to remember the trip for a long time to come.
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