Statistics from Condor Ferries reveal that “single travellers make up 11% of the overall travel market” and that there has been a “42% increase in solo traveller bookings over the last two years.”
There are many reasons why solo travel is appealing to more and more people across the globe. For one, it empowers you in reconnecting with yourself and explore your purpose.
You also have free rein to plan your trip without the input of others. You will not be hampered by other conflicting schedules, differences of opinions or other personal constraints.
If you’re a first-time solo traveller, there’s a lot to consider. When it comes to the planning part of the trip, there’s no reason to go it alone. We’ve rounded up some handy tips, ranging from activities to safety and more.
8 tips for the first-time solo traveller:
Do your research
Read up about the destination you’re travelling to. Blogs, Twitter threads, travel Reddit and more have a wealth of information from solo travellers on what their experiences in certain areas were like.
Read hotel, transport and restaurant reviews and decide ahead what suits your taste best. Research can open your eyes to some exciting or even unfamiliar aspects of the culture of the country, as well as what solo activities are available to partake in and even how friendly and welcoming the locals are.
Establish your reason for travelling
Travel is about seeing the wonders of the world. However, it can be deeper and more purposeful than that if we intend for it to be. Decide what you would like to get out of your trip and then plan around that.
For example, if you are travelling alone in the hopes of making friends along the way, volunteer work, Contiki or a cruise might be perfect for you. However, if you’re seeking solitude, a wellness retreat, somewhere in the countryside or far from home may be perfect.
Start small for your first solo travel
Travelling alone is daunting, so start small. Pick an area for the first time that you’re familiar with or that’s close to home. If it’s within driving distance, you can always ask a friend to join you or even head back if you feel lonely or uncomfortable.
As far as duration goes, a weekend away is ideal for a first-timer, as it is less of a commitment. You can use this experience to gauge how you managed and whether solo travel is for you.
Be picky when it comes to accommodation
If there is an aspect of your travels where you should absolutely splurge, it is on accommodation. As a solo traveller, you want to feel safe wherever you are and having somewhere secure to sleep at night will certainly help.
Look at the safest locations in your city, which neighbourhoods are best for tourists and always go with places that have high ratings and good reviews, not just the best pictures and cheapest price.
Try land during the day
The darkness can put an eerie spin on your solo adventure so try land in the daytime if possible.
Things like checking in to your accommodation or taking a cab by yourself will feel like less of a mission if you can see your surroundings and find your bearings before sundown.
Fancy gadgets, expensive jewellery, bags and clothes may draw unwanted attention and even make you feel uncomfortable and stressed.
If you’re constantly worrying about keeping expensive trinkets safe, you won’t be able to let loose in the way you imagined. Try to leave valuables in a secure part of your accommodation (a safe or drawer that locks, if those options are available).
Book group activities
Whether you're somewhere on a balmy beach in the tropics, a mountainous region in Europe or a desert in Egypt, there are so many fun group activities for solo travellers to partake in.
From snowboarding classes to cooking classes, horseback riding, guided hikes, safari rides and more, there are a lot of amazing activities that take place in a group setting.
A lot of other people on the trip will likely be eager tourists too, looking to chat or make friends while on their journey. It will give you the opportunity to do something fun while also getting some much needed human interaction after a few days of solo-adventures.
Reflect on your adventures, moments of loneliness, sadness, thrill and joy. All of them are what combine to make solo travel so unique and exciting.
At the end of it all, you will have something to look back on that has documented your growth, after all, that is what travel is all about.
This article was originally published on IOL.