Tag Archives: holidays

The Pros and Cons of Travelling Alone.

Travelling Alone has its perks - but what are the downsides?

Travelling Alone has its perks – but what are the downsides?

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.

Travelling Alone means you can do what YOU want.

Travelling Alone means you can do what YOU want.

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.

Happy Travelling.

Road Trip Along the North Coast 500 (Part 2)

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There’s nothing quite like the freedom of the open road, and this summer Social Circle took off on a unforgettable road trip along the North Coast 500. In Part 2  of our adventure journal, we took in the rugged coastline as we travelled the final few hundred miles down from Lochinver to the Isle of Skye

Need to catch up? – you can read Part 1 of our road trip here.

Day Five: Lochinver – Gairloch  91.5 Miles

Scotland would not be the same without its castles, and our early morning drive north took us to the scenic Ardvreck Castle, a ruined 16th century fortification, and the remains of Calda House.

We stopped at Inchnadamph, to follow the beautiful and popular walk up through a limestone valley to the dramatic bone cave. We also paused at Achiltibuie, a picturesque and often-overlooked part of the route where calm waters meet the mountains in the horizon.

There is nothing ugly about Corrieshalloch Gorge

There is nothing ugly about Corrieshalloch Gorge

Our afternoon was spent exploring Corrieshalloch Gorge.  Corrieshalloch may mean ‘Ugly Hollow’ in Gaelic, but there is nothing ugly about this beautiful Nature Reserve. We found a deep tree-shrouded chasm, rich in flora and fauna, with tumbling waterfalls and fern-lined trails.  A beauty spot that was a welcome contrast to the rugged Highland wilderness that surrounds it.

As we continued our journey, the views include the distinctive profile of Suilven,  the mountains of Coigach, including – we think – a glimpse of the top of Stac Pollaidh. We passed more sandy beaches and waterfalls before stopping at the Isle of Ewe, with its pretty houses scattered like sugar lumps around the Loch.  It is well worth visiting the Isle of Ewe smokehouse, we picked up some beautifully smoked salmon as well as other smoked yumminess to enjoy as we explored the area.

Day Six. Gairloch – Applecross. 62 Miles

We spent a lot of time on our feet yesterday, so we were grateful for lie-in and an easier day on this part of the route.

Our morning was spent at  the Beinn Eighe Visitor Centre and Nature Reserve in Kinlochewe. With a cluster of mountain peaks, ancient pinewoods and soaring golden eagles it is no wonder that Beinn Eighe was chosen as Britain’s first National nature reserve.  We took our time on the trails, and saw a few deer grazing by the loch.  

Applecross is a delight for those who like gardens and home-grown food. This victorian walled-garden was teaming with flowers and dragonflies.   We enjoyed tea and home-baked scones at the Potting Shed Cafe – which is literally a potting shed – before moving onto the local croft brewery to sample some craft ales.

Day Seven: Applecross to The Isle of Skye

If there’s one thing about Skye that’ll leave a lasting impression on you, it’s got to be the scenery. Just driving around, you can see many of Skye’s most majestic geological features, such as the Old Man of Storr, the Quiraing and the Cuillin.  Make sure you have sturdy boots and your camera is fully charged, as the views are truly breathtaking.

 

Day Eight: The Journey Home.  After leaving the Isle of Skye we started out-reluctantly – on the journey home.  It was a useful time to catch up with Steve and the others about what they thought about the trip. 

Our host for the trip, Stephen Sutherland, had this to say.

“I think this has been the best trip Social Circle has offered in the ten years I have been hosting holidays.  It was absolutely epic. I got to tick off a few things from my bucket list. I am really happy to share this amazing experience with Social Circle members.

 

Steve also recorded a video on Day 5 which you can view  here

Well it looks like Steve had fun, but what did our Guests say?

Angela says

“I enjoyed an amazing holiday with Social Circle on the  great North Coast 500 Scottish Road Trip. The road coastal scenery was breathtaking  and panoramic views spectacular, especially enjoyable when Steve was doing all the driving. It exceeded all expectations! The holiday was a great mix of walks along white sandy beaches,  beautiful mountain ranges, exploring castles, visiting the smoo caves and drinking the most gorgeous hot chocolate at Cocoa Mountain. Steve was an amazing host, ensuring we enjoyed the most of each day with fine eateries , drink and fun in the evenings! We stayed in lovely accommodation, my favourite being Ackergill Tower where we enjoyed evening drinks overlooking the sea.   I was asked what was my favourite thing on the holiday ? Was it visiting Culloden Battlefield?  Dunrobin Castle? Duncansby Stacks – a geological marvel?  Clashnessie Falls?  The Isle of Skye? the I still haven’t made my mind up!  This was a holiday of a lifetime and I can’t recommend it enough!

Steve W  says

The Scotland trip was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see so many lovely sights, from postcard villages, amazing stately home/castles to the outstanding scenic views which for me made the trip and to which my photos cannot do justice to, also John O’Groats was a real treat.

SM says.

“An extraordinary adventure of extraordinary scenery and sights. You often find it hard to believe this is on the same island as Manchester. The north of Scotland has a mystery about it. Time slows. The views change every few minutes. Highlights for me included the beautiful remote beaches, castles by Loch and shore, good food and drink … And the company was great too!”

Our fellow travellers loved North Coast 500.

Our fellow travellers loved North Coast 500.

Do you love the idea of getting away for a few days on a road trip of your own?

Finding it difficult to organise?

Are your friends busy or not interested in your type of holiday?

We offer the perfect solution.  We organise numerous holidays for like-minded people each year, to such destinations throughout Europe. Find out more  here

Many thanks to North Coast 500 for the suggested itinerary, and of course to all those lovely people who looked after our little group on the way.