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Blog: travelling alone abroad doesn’t have to be lonely

Travelling alone

By Jenny Williams, Digital and Content Marketing Specialist (and solo traveller!)

Being single or having a partner or friends who aren’t keen jet-setters needn’t stop you from seeing the world. In fact, travelling alone can be the perfect chance to plan your dream adventure!

Why go solo?

Travelling alone is a unique experience and can be a wonderful way to see the world. Here are some reasons to give it a go:

  • Organising your own trip is a great confidence booster
  • You’ll be able to go where you want, when you want
  • It’s a good opportunity to learn about yourself
  • You can make new friends along the way!

Tour groups

Don’t feel confident about heading off on your own? Hooking up with a tour group can give you the best of both worlds – a local guide who can clue you up on hidden gems, with the chance to go off and do your own thing if an activity doesn’t appeal.

You may not make friends for life on a trip, but you will have the chance to meet new people and share your experiences.

Handy hint: some companies charge a ‘single supplement’ for solo travellers, so remember to factor this into your budget.

Travel companies for solo holidaymakers

There are a number of companies out there who create holiday packages especially for solo travellers!

Friendship Travel runs a range of holidays, from walking tours and skiing trips to relaxing breaks at poolside retreats. It’s most famous for its house party-style holidays, where the company will either take over a small hotel or offer you the chance to stay in a villa with an on-site chef.  

For the more adventurous, Explore offers self-guided holidays (including cycling and walking tours) and group trips. Countries on offer include Italy, Spain, Greece, Morocco, Turkey and India.

Just You specialises in single travellers and offers a wide range of short trips all the way through to its ‘Global Explorer’ package – a world tour that takes in 11 different countries. Plus, they always have last-minute deals for you to snap up.

Tips and inspiration

If you’d rather organise a trip yourself from scratch, there’s plenty of advice available from globetrotting bloggers that’s worth checking out. Here’s a few to get you started:

You can also look up tours of the place you want to visit to get an idea of sites and experiences around the area, then book them yourself.

Furthermore, Airbnb now offers the chance to book experiences run by people in their local cities. This can be a great way to see sights with a local expert, but be aware of personal safety if you choose to visit someone at their home.

How to make the most out of your first trip

Your first trip abroad alone can be an exciting, nerve-wracking and even life-changing experience! There’s no hard and fast rule to getting the most out of your break (after all, this is your holiday!), but there are a few good rules of thumb:

  • Take photos, but also make time to put your camera away and enjoy the experience
  • Try to step a little out of your comfort zone (but not to the point of feeling unsafe) – taste new food, have a go at new activities and chat to fellow travellers
  • Don’t feel guilty about hunting around for home comforts such as a cup of tea or a bag of chips. Everyone’s travelling experience is different, the main thing is that you enjoy your trip
  • Remember to thank those who help you along the way, be it a friendly tour guide or a taxi driver who recommends a great place to eat
  • Even if you choose to go on a tour, try to do some of your own research before setting off. If you have your heart set on seeing something, try and make it happen
  • Keep important documents, such as your passport, E111 or visa, handy (and keep a photocopy somewhere safe)
  • If you’re unsure about solo travelling, try booking a trial trip for a couple of nights rather than heading straight off on a longer tour. You could even do something in the UK rather than head overseas.

Language

To get the most out of your travels, try learning some of the local lingo before you set off. Knowing how to order a meal or say “thank you” is not only reassuring, but successfully pulling off a conversation can be a real confidence booster!

For free online language lessons you can visit sites like Duolingo or Memrise, both of which also offer apps to help you learn on the go.

Safety tips

Travelling alone can leave you feeling more vulnerable. However, there are tricks you can use to blend in more and reduce any risks:

  • Don’t bring valuable jewellery and watches with you on your travels
  • Don’t keep all your money in one place
  • If you choose to stay in an AirBnB or go couch surfing, only go to places that have been given a lot of good reviews
  • Try to arrive in a new place during daylight, it’ll make it easier to find your hotel and you’ll feel more at ease
  • If you think you may arrive later, book a hotel with a 24-hour check-in service so that you have somewhere to go even if you turn up in the wee small hours
  • Write down the address of your hotel or hostel to hand to taxi drivers. See if the place you’re staying in can recommend a company to call
  • Try to dress like a local (or at least a long-term expat!) – you’ll be a less obvious target for pickpockets
  • Tell someone at home where you’re going and keep in regular contact with them
  • Chat to the people who work in your hostel/hotel or travellers who’ve been before to find out any no-go areas or safety advice
  • If you need to check you phone or a map, head into a shop before doing so
  • Don’t do anything you wouldn’t do at home, such as leaving drinks unattended or walking home alone at 3am.

Home sweet home

Travelling alone isn’t just a great way of heading abroad, it can also give you unforgettable experiences at home too. Check out our blog post on travelling alone in the UK.

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