By Leila Moss, Communications & Campaigns Manager at Ben
There are a number of reasons why you might be considering travelling on your own. You might be single, divorced, separated or maybe you’ve lost a loved one. Perhaps it’s not possible to travel at the same time as your friends or family, or you might have different interests or budgets.
Travelling on your own doesn’t have to be a lonely experience. Besides, lone travellers are less intimidating – you’re more likely to be approached by local people or fellow travellers.
If you’re thinking of booking a summer break or wondering what to do over the upcoming bank holiday weekends, then look no further! We’ve put together some top tips on how to make the most of solo travelling in the UK. Or, if you’re considering travelling abroad, check out our article called ‘Travelling abroad doesn’t have to be lonely‘.
Travel agency specialists
Just You is a travel agency specialising in single travel – their trips aren’t just for single people but for anyone who wants to travel solo. They organise sight-seeing and walking trips across the UK throughout the year including New Year’s and pre-Christmas getaways to places like Chatsworth, Oxford, the Cotswolds and Dartmoor. The best thing is that you get a dedicated tour manager who guides and hosts the trip and there’s a group of people to socialise with – you can join in as much or as little as you like.
Friendship Travel is another online travel agency for the solo traveller that offers trips in the UK including the New Forest, Yorkshire, Chester and Belfast. Interestingly, Friendship Travel holds summer ‘Houseparties’, which are popular because their groups take over a small and friendly hotel, making it their own, which is like staying in a big villa with a dedicated chef!
Solos Holidays also offers short trips as well as excursions to a number of great events throughout the year.
Try a tour
If you’d like to book a more tailored holiday rather than a package, you could always book some tours on top. You could start with a short guided tour to get used to your surroundings and then spend some time travelling independently afterwards once you’re feeling more confident.
Small trips are often largely comprised of independent travellers so ask for the details of your group before you leave. Chances are that you’ll be with like-minded people and may come away with some new friends. Try tour companies like England Experience or Discovery Tours UK which offer day trips.
Eating solo can be a daunting experience even if you’re a confident person. If you’re eating in a restaurant, try taking a book or newspaper to read and sit at the counter or bar area. Or, instead of a traditional sit down meal, you could grab some food on the go, such as fish and chips. If you’re in a busy city like London or Manchester you could also eat at a night time food market. This is a great opportunity to people watch whilst enjoying your food in the great outdoors.
Cafés and small local pubs also tend to be less formal and more relaxed in atmosphere – in some areas; local people really make tourists feel right at home. Get some inspiration from seasoned solo travellers on a TripAdvisor forum about this very topic!
How about trying a hostel? I know what you’re thinking – but hostels don’t have to be all bunk beds and backpacks. Hostels take people of all ages, and many now have private rooms if you don’t want to sleep in a dorm. Staying in a hostel keeps costs down and also allows you to cook for yourself, possibly making it easier to strike up a conversation in the communal kitchen and dining areas.
B&Bs can also be more reasonably priced than hotels and they tend to offer more informal and sociable accommodation. You could also try looking for accommodation on Airbnb as it advertises some great places where the host/s live on site and tend to help you get settled in.
Take your dog
Don’t forget man’s best friend! Dogs make great companions and tend to be a good talking point, so consider taking your canine chum away with you on a dog friendly holiday and meet like-minded people and their four legged friends. Online travel agency, Ramblers Holidays, runs ‘Paws on Tour’ which takes dogs and their owners on guided group walks from the base of different dog friendly hotels.
There’s a MeetUp group of dog lovers who regularly go for walks in the Cotswolds, Warwickshire, Gloucestershire, White Peak National Park, Staffordshire Moorlands, the Chilterns as well as forest, coast and beach walks in mid-Wales. For other places to stay, The Telegraph recommends its top 10 dog friendly accommodation in the UK and Pets Pyjamas also lists a number of great hotels across the country for you and your furry friend.
Go for it!
Lone travelling might be daunting and you may feel out of your comfort zone at times, but we think the possible rewards are worth it. You could meet some new friends and see some sights you’ve never seen before. So what are you waiting for?