“What? You are going on holiday alone?” I recently took myself on a beach holiday to Egypt. As usual I was travelling alone – something that still surprises my friends apparently. When you are in your thirties – and your friends are married with families – then it can seem like you have little choice. It need not be all bad so here is my advice on the Pros and Cons of travelling alone.
Pro’s. It is your choice entirely.
One thing I love about solo travel is that everything from where I travel to the activities I do is my choice. When I have travelled with friends I have often got frustrated when they want to shop or spend hours getting ready for the evening when I would rather be out exploring a ruin. When you travel alone there is no need to negotiate or consider others wishes and needs as I am an entirely free agent. For me, this means I can truly relax and build an itinerary around my interests.
Cons: Single Supplements.
Prices are often based on sharing, so be prepared to pay more for travelling alone. The quality and service you receive can be mixed as well. Iceland Air upgraded me to first class on my trip to Reykjavik, whilst other airlines have put me in the middle seat. I have been given suites with views, and single beds for twice the price as when I was in a couple. Some services are not even available to solo travellers. The fact is travelling with others means you can often get better deals on accommodation and flights – and splitting the bill at dinner comes in handy too
Pros: You meet new people.
You won’t be the only person travelling alone. If you are a positive and friendly person you will get talking to people and make new friends. Certainly I have met some amazing people on my travels and am proud to say we are still in contact. I have even enjoyed the odd holiday romance!. I have found that most people are generous and kind in spirit. Fellow travellers and locals alike will look after a solo traveller. So whether that is inviting you to join them at dinner, or striking up a conversation – be prepared to make new friends.
Cons: Safety First.
I am blessed that I have never had anything happen to me when I am on my travels. I have not even fallen ill. But admittedly I have to be hyper aware of my surroundings and not put myself at risk. In Amsterdam I had a hair raising experience when I was separated from a group tour to the Red Light District and a group of drunk tourists started heckling me. Fortunately a security guard stepped in and no harm was done. These are not just considerations for female travellers. Some of my male friends who have travelled alone have been targeted and subject to robbery and assault. It can happen in any country.
Pros: Travelling alone is good for the soul.
There is something about travelling solo that is really character building. Potentially because it forces you to step out of your comfort zone. I am constantly being told that travelling alone is ‘brave’ and I suppose it does take courage – at least initially. You are entirely responsible for yourself. Going on any trips or even out of the hotel requires a level of confidence. Of course, the pay off is the increased self esteem from actually going it alone and having a great time.
Cons: There is no one to share the memories with you.
The best thing about travel is the memories. Photos are great but do not give you the feeling of actually being there. I remember in Rhodes, being sat in a roof-top restaurant being given the finest seafood I have ever tasted. The sun was setting over the deep blue sea and I experienced such a sense of peace. But then my next thought was that it would have been nice to share the experience with someone. Certainly, memories are kept alive by the people who were with you. In April 2018 I travelled to Africa to horse ride across Botswana with other travellers. We experienced some incredible moments as a group and my heart lights up when one the group shares a photo or memory on Facebook.
There is another way.
Given the increasing numbers of singles, a whole market has opened up aimed specifically at single travellers. I think most people have heard of Flashpack who organises adventure holidays for singles. There is just one problem.
Its f*cking expensive.
I am sure it is worth every penny, but my budget does not stretch that far. Now I know there are Meet Up and Facebook groups that organise cheap weekend breaks. But what worries me is that handing over my hard earn cash to these organisers does not guarantee me a better experience than travelling with friends. I have heard horror stories of people being told they will be placed in a city centre hotel only to find that they are staying in a 2* hotel 3 miles out of town. Nope and Nope.
Fortunately, Social Circle have organised some great weekend breaks for those with an incurable case of wanderlust. I can’t decide which to sign up to? Should I sample the wine in Porto or fulfil my dream of seeing the waterfalls in Croatia? Hell from £195 for a weekend away- I may just do both.