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The ultimate guide for solo travellers
This is the guide for the wild at heart. A guide for those looking to explore the world, and are willing to do it solo. Heading out into the world on your own is becoming increasingly popular, and we have plenty of tips and recommendations for those ready to go on a solo adventure, or just fancy taking themselves on a pampering break.
From the hotels with amenities perfect for singletons and the safest destinations to explore on your own, to the best single supplements and friendliest group tours to join, heading out on your own needn’t be a worry. Our guide will help you begin your journey to solo travel.
Where to go
The world is your oyster, even when you’re travelling solo.
However, there are some parts of the world that are safer than others when it comes to exploring a destination all by yourself. That’s not to say that you can’t go – instead, for these locations we’d recommend booking an escorted tour. Meeting likeminded travellers, discovering new places with knowledgeable locals…an escorted tour is a fabulous way to ease yourself in to solo travel.
Adventurous types will love our Bali & Lombok Escorted Adventure, which includes cycling through rice paddies, hiking Mount Batur and swimming near cascading waterfalls, whilst those hoping to ease themselves in will enjoy our five-night Sri Lanka Discovery tour, which you could finish with an indulgent stay in a nearby hotel. A single supplement would be added if you wanted a single room during your tour, or you could share a twin room with one of your new-found travelling friends.
If you’re hoping for a luxury fly and flop holiday where you can just think about yourself, then we have plenty of wonderful destinations that will get you feeling relaxed and revitalised. Why not treat yourself to a stay at Veranda Grand Baie Hotel & Spa in Mauritius? Nestled on a white sand beach, your days will be spent however you please, whether that be relaxing by the pool with a cocktail in hand, or grabbing a snorkel and exploring the crystal-clear lagoon.
Cities are another great option for single travellers. No more having to fit in everyone’s chosen museums and attractions, instead you’re free to discover your chosen city at your own pace – where to eat, what to see and where to stay. Discover the breath-taking Gardens of the Bay in Singapore, explore the markets in Hoi An, or nip over to New York for a shopping spree. You’ll need to stay safe though, so be vigilant, stick to the more well-known streets and attractions, and avoid walking alone late at night.
Research your destination
If it’s your first time travelling solo, we would recommend keeping to the beaten track, just while you learn the ropes and get used to exploring a new place by yourself. Pre-planning is a good way to ensure you don’t find yourself in stressful situations too, for instance downloading a map app that allows you to create pins for everywhere you want to go. This way, you can easily see how far things are so you can plan each day with ease and avoid getting lost in an unfamiliar destination – even when you don’t have WiFi.
It’s key to research your destination in order to stay safe. Read up on manners, laws and customs to ensure you keep a good relationship with locals, and make sure you know which areas are safe so you can stick to them. You could even go as far as deciding where you want to eat in advance, so you can book your tables, and be sure to pre-book any activities and excursions that may sell out fast.
Research into the currency so you’re prepared, and work out where you can get money out should you have an issue whilst you’re there. Look up different neighbourhoods and stay in those that are deemed safest, double check what your insurance covers you for, and find out whether you’ll need any vaccinations before you go.
When travelling solo, it’s best to pack light, especially if you’re embarking on a tour. With long days of walking and only a short number of nights in each hotel, your bag will need to be easy and light enough to carry for long periods of time.
If you’re simply flying to a luxury destination and parking yourself on a sun lounger, then you could probably get away with taking more - there’ll always be someone happy to help at the airport. Many of our luxury hotels offer personalised check-in and concierge too, so you can saunter to your room and have your luggage sent to you. Breathless Punta Cana Resort & Spa is a great example – you’ll just need to upgrade to xhale club to reap the benefits.
Enjoy local activities
Travelling solo is your chance to do whatever you fancy doing – so why not add some cultural experiences onto your travel itinerary. Book yourself into a cooking class, to absorb your destination’s distinct flavours and to learn a new recipe to impress your friends with when you get home. Perhaps you could join a small day tour to a local village, to have lunch with a local family and enjoy a more in-depth insight into the country’s lifestyle. Think of your favourite hobbies, and join activities where you’ll find compatible people and learn something new.
Explore via coach
Travelling across a destination on board a coach is the perfect way to get that road trip feeling without the loneliness of driving alone. Hop on board one of our fantastic escorted tours, including our Sri Lanka Experience, which includes private coach transfers, or jump on a coach trip to an iconic attraction, meeting likeminded people along the way.
Unfortunately, you won’t always find single supplements – many hotels only offer twin rooms, with the usual twin price tag. However, give our experts a call and we can lead you in the direction of those offering single supplements at certain times.
Though solo travel is deemed an adventurous experience, the main focus should be your safety. Here are some of our tips for staying safe while travelling alone:
- Stick to public places, and don’t wander alone at night
- Though travelling solo is a great way to make friends, be cautious when meeting new people
- Stay alert at all times, and try to stay sober too
- Book a flight that will get you to your destination during daylight, and pre-book your transport to the hotel
- Try not to take too many valuables on your travels, but if you do, make use of the hotel safe. Whilst travelling to your destination, keep all valuables in your hand luggage so you can keep everything with you at all times
- Blend in with the locals and walk confidently – people are less likely to pickpocket or con someone who looks like they know what they’re doing
- Check in with loved ones at home regularly, so they always know where you are
Our favourite hotels for single travellers
We have a fantastic selection of hotels that we love to recommend to those hoping for a solo fly-and-flop holiday. BodyHoliday in St Lucia is one of our favourites – the varied daily activity list gives you plenty to get stuck into, whether you fancy trying an ocean-view aerobics class, treating yourself to a spa treatment, or grabbing some new-found friends for a beach volleyball tournament.
The hotel even holds ‘September Solo’, where they offer single supplement rooms and create your very own personalised schedule of activities and spa treatments, as well as group excursions including sunset cruises and cocktail parties throughout the whole of September. It’s a great way to meet others whilst also working on yourself.
We’d also recommend checking out our adult-only hotels. Breathless Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa is a fabulous option, especially for those that love vibrant party vibes. Head to the party pool for a club-like atmosphere and - you guessed it - fun pool parties, see amazing aerobic performances at the outdoor theatre, watch a movie on the beach, and even take a dance class – either solo or with holiday friends.
Our favourite group tours for single travellers
A group tour presents the perfect way to mingle with other travellers, all the while still getting that ‘doing it on my own’ feeling. Your local leader will guide you around and show off some incredible off-beat places, giving you the chance to see unfamiliar and unique places while staying safe.
Bali & Lombok: Hike, Bike & Raft is the ultimate adventure, a fun and active adult-only tour with tonnes of activities that will get you meeting new people and trying new things. Hike up Lombok’s active volcano Mount Rinjani, cycle through lush Balinese countryside, and snorkel in the Gili Islands.
If you’re wanting a more inclusive tour where you can dip your toes into solo travel but still keep things stress-free and easy, join one of our private guided tours. These itineraries tend to be in a smaller group, with lots of your meals and activities included. Our Essential Sri Lanka tour is a brilliant example, travelling to great attractions including Yala National Park and Sigiriya Rock Fortress and including half-board stays in 4* or 5* hotels.
Whichever way you decide to embark on your first solo adventure, we hope this article will inspire you to take the jump and book your trip as a single explorer.