With endless options for your first solo travel adventure, how do you get started on the right track?
Whether you are joining a group tour or travelling alone, by answering 7 easy planning questions, you’ll narrow the focus and you’ll have a much clearer starting point. Plus, if you’re planning with a travel agent, it means that they can hone in on what’s right for you. Not being clear on the basics would be like going to the doctor and saying that you feel sick, but not describing your symptoms.
Start with the basics then go from there.
1) WHEN CAN’T YOU GO?
First things first, when can’t you travel? Any family weddings, major celebrations or impending births of family members that may affect your holiday dates? I’ve had clients book trips to later realise they forgot about a family wedding or the due date for a son or daughter’s baby that’s on the way. Trip deposits are often non-refundable or only refundable in part, so you want to check on your dates first.
2.) HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU HAVE?
Check in with your workplace about how much time you have owing for annual leave and when can you take leave. If you work for yourself or are retired, it’s going to be about how it works for your own schedule.
3) HOW LONG DO YOU WANT TO BE AWAY?
You may have your work leave arranged but do you want to take it all? If you are a bit nervous about your first solo trip then there’s nothing wrong with being cautious and planning something shorter rather than longer.
4) WHAT’S YOUR BUDGET?
Start with an idea in mind. Of course you may stretch the budget for the dream trip, but without a budget it’s nearly impossible to narrow your options.
5) WHAT KIND OF A SOLO HOLIDAY DO YOU WANT?
Do you need to relax and unwind? Are you yearning for cultural discovery? Do you want to be active and on the go? Do you like all the days to be organised, or do you prefer an itinerary with plenty of free time? You’ll be surprised what a difference it makes to the selection process if you drill down and focus on what type of holiday you really want.
6) WHAT’S YOUR THRESHOLD FOR AIR TRAVEL?
Are you prepared to travel solo for a day to get there, or are you more of a short-haul flier and ten hours is your threshold? Once you’ve worked this out you can instantly draw a line through some options.
7) SHORTS AND T-SHIRTS?
Given you’ve picked when you can and want to go, you then have to see it matches the kind of weather you like for a holidays. If you are shorts and t-shirt fan deciding to travel in January will instantly rule out significant parts of Europe and Northern America.
Written by Justine Waddington, founder of Encounter Travel, the tour and cruise specialist travel company for solo travellers. She is also the author of The Solo Traveller’s Compass, How to Travel Solo but Not Alone (www.justinewaddington.com)
Encounter Travel partner with RSVP to offer holidays for solo travellers to destinations across Australia and around the world.
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