The idea of travelling alone can send a shudder down some spines, and travel dreams are buried under clouds of fear or lists of excuses, just because you don’t have a travel buddy.
With around 30% of households in countries like Australia with a ‘single’ status, solo travellers are on the rise. But leaving home alone no longer means you have to travel without friends.
The top 5 reasons not to travel solo are squashed, when you join a travel group. When it’s your first time, you can test the waters safely when you choose a tour for solo travellers.
1) I'LL BE ALONE...NO FRIENDS, NO FUN
The fear of loneliness. A real emotion, halting so many hopeful solo travellers.
“I’’ll have no one to share it” jumps to mind when you think of ‘going solo’ - a rethink on this thought; if you travel solo, you won't be sharing your trip with family or friends, but you will fill the gap with new friends.
Making new friends in group is like condensing a year of social ‘get-togethers’ into just a few weeks, if not days or hours. You will be bonded by your travels in a way that can be hard to find in everyday life.
If you have ‘day 1’ jitters or a tad shy, then ‘fake it, to make it’. Ah, that sounds so unauthentic but it’s not about faking who you are. Rather it’s about shifting your energy to smiling, relaxing and joining in, rather than hanging back.
And, family and friends won’t miss out on sharing your travels. They will see it on your Facebook posts, Instagram, or whatever your choice of social media.
2) I'LL GET HOMESICK
A valid emotion. Family and friends are left behind. But that’s the point, isn’t it? A self-challenge to step outside of your comfort zone, and stop missing out on travels that couples and families take for granted.
So, it happens, just hours into your trip and you get that homesick feeling. But let’s face it, it’s hard to blame 'homesickness' when you've only just left home. It’s usually 'newbie' jitters or culture shock.
It’s easy to minimise the risk. Plan a short trip to start. Then the next one can be the trip of a lifetime. You will feel less anxious if you know that you won't be away for too long.
3.) SLUGGED WITH THE SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
“I have to pay more because I'm travelling solo!? What? That hardly seems fair!”
In many cases, if you are a solo traveller, you pay more. When you take your own room on a tour or cabin on a cruise you will pay more (than if you were sharing).
Why are we penalised for travelling solo? First, you need to flip this idea around, and when you do, you won’t let it bother you so much…… when you hire a car, do you pay for the car or do you pay per person? The fact is that you pay for the car. There's no difference in the price of the car whether it's for one, two or three people. The difference is that it gets cheaper per person the more people that are sharing. The same goes for a hotel room or a ship’s cabin. Instead, you could look at it as a discount per person if you are sharing a room.
The good news is that there are some travel companies, including Encounter Travel that will offer the option to share, often referred to as 'share with a stranger' or'roommate matching'.
4) NO HABLO ESPANOL
Without a travel buddy, the prospect of navigating a new country without the local language is daunting.
One of the main reasons I advocate group tours is because language barriers are taken care of for you. An organised group tour will give you the comfort of a holiday operated in your own language, with travel companions who also speak the same language. Also, your tour leader and/or local guides will be there to assist.
5) DINING ALONE, MY WORST NIGHTMARE
I'll say it straight up – I don't like dining alone. A big part of the dining enjoyment is sharing a meal. The last thing you want to do is miss out on this part of your trip just because you're travelling solo. So, joining a group is a big plus.
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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