According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics the fastest-growing household type in Australia is ‘lone-person households’ which are anticipated to grow to about three million by 2031.
With that in mind tour companies and hotels will be wanting to attract this new demographic, so do your research before you pay a hefty single supplement.
The last time I travelled on my own was to a blog conference in Melbourne, which was kind of businessy, and before that it was as a backpacker, years ago when I set off with a couple of T-shirts, two pairs of pants, a pair of shorts, a sarong, a packet of Imodium and a whole lot of gung-ho.
And it was GREAT FUN. Then I got married, had kids, and travel was still wonderful. We travelled in Europe (How to Travel with Kids the Easy Way), Asia and Africa, but it was all encompassing what with nappies and kids toys, and later on often with childrens’ friends tagging along too.
I’m not sure how I would feel about travelling for an extended period on my own now.
And it got me thinking.
Business people do it all the time, but they travel in a reasonably controlled environment and are not on the road doing the exploratory thing. If you’re setting out on a holiday, then you may have to pluck up some courage to hit the road on your own again.
Be bold and just do it.
Because the good news is that there’s no need to feel discriminated against as a single traveler and it’s a great way to make new friends.
Read on for some great tips
Hook up to a Tour Group – Remember that tour operators have better buying power and there is safety in numbers.
There are some seasoned tour companies around, and not all of them are of the frog-march variety. I’ve been on some awesome deals, in China for instance to the Great Wall of China, in Nepal on a river rafting trip, and I’m looking forward to going on a Kimberley tour with Adventure Wild ‘glamping’ in outback Western Australia.
Carolyn Schonafinger from Holidays to Europe, an online travel company specialising in European holidays is open to helping solo travellers. “We are passionate about sharing our European travel expertise with you and helping you to experience the holiday in Europe you have always dreamed of. Whether you are a solo traveller, couple, a family, or a group of friends, we offer a huge range of tours, accommodation and transport options for you to choose from,” she says.
Look out for best deals
Ask companies if they offer deals for solo travelers:- Hunt down those companies or hotels who are prepared to waive the single supplement. Do a Google search for “single travel” or “single travel tours” and you’ll be surprised by how the travel industry is responding to this growing demographic of solos.
I asked some seasoned travel bloggers for their tips and advice about travelling on your own. Here’s what they had to say:-
Jenny Freedman from A Taste of Travel Blog is a travel veteran. “Traveling independently needn’t be difficult. But you must plan ahead. Book up early if you’re thinking of staying in hostels because the best ones get full quickly – and hostels generally don’t have as many single rooms available compared to doubles or dorms. Remember that word gets around in the solo travelling community – so talk to people, as well as checking out websites (such as Lonely Planet) and other travel forums.”
“If you’re on a budget then get a list of 1 and 2 star hostels and find the best that’s on offer. If you’re thinking of travelling by train then get your train pass before you leave home, not when you arrive in the country.
“For me, research is important. It’s important to work out a rough plan of where you think you would like to go and check out hotels or hostels in these cities. As I said, the best hostels and cheaper hotels get booked out in advance, so if you are prepared with a few options before you leave home, it can take the hassle out of travelling on your own. Don’t forget that in Greece and Croatia especially, the ferries are met by people offering rooms to rent- these can also be a cheap option.”
“If you are travelling with a company, then look for those that offer different accommodation levels. If you are on your own but don’t want to pay the single supplement, the company will often team you up with another traveler of a similar age. It could be the start of a beautiful friendship!!”
“Backpackers may like to check out ‘Busabout’ – a great way to travel and meet other solo travelers. They follow specific routes but cover a lot of countries. If you want to travel by train in Europe then buy your Eurorail pass before you leave home.”
Caz Makepeace from YTravelBlog has this to say:-
Trust your intuition
“It always knows best. If something doesn’t feel right, then don’t do it. There is a reason why you get that unsettled feeling in your stomach when you meet that strange person on the beach.”
“Don’t freak yourself out by imaginary monsters, but definitely pay attention to those little messages our animal instincts give us.”
Caz, has been travelling the world on her own and latterly with her hubby and two children for about 10 years. She’s written a post about female solo travel over at YTravelblog. You might want to check out her tips …http://www.ytravelblog.com/female-solo-travel-tips/
Amanda Kendle is a blogger and social media consultant in Perth who has travelled all over the world. After living in Japan, Slovakia and Germany, she returned to Australia full of travel tales and she writes about these at NotABallerina.com.
“The best tip anyone ever gave me as a solo travel was to always keep a book in your bag. That way, you can eat alone at a restaurant and read your book at the same time – you won’t feel strange for eating alone and you’ll get to enjoy your book, too!”
“When I travel solo, I am extra careful to pack really light, and to make sure whatever I need to carry around (either during the day when sightseeing, or when moving to a new city or accommodation) is as easy as possible for me to deal with – I deliberately take a lot less. That way, I don’t feel “trapped” by heavy bags and if I’m walking along somewhere that feels a little unsafe, I can still walk fast enough to get to a better spot,” says Amanda.
“Solo travelers can get the best deals by waiting until they get to their destination before booking if they are brave enough. If you’re there and a hotel has a room available, the chances are you can get a good deal on it just by being there and by being prepared to negotiate. I think people are afraid to bargain but it’s a great skill to use even in developed countries don’t be afraid to ask something like, “Can you give me a special deal if I stay a week?”
“Often by arriving at a place with no booking you’ll find new hotels that haven’t got any customers yet who will be happy to have you and by staying in one place longer you always get a better deal.”
“Travel safety is important for solo travelers but no more so than anyone else. I always recommend leaving your flashy jewellery at home, losing the camera round your neck that screams tourist, and steering clear of areas you don’t know after dark.”
“I scan a copy of my passport and other important documents then email them to myself before leaving home so there’s always a back up online accessible from anywhere just in case I do lose anything,” says Annabel.
Want to know more?
Here’s a list of posts about all aspects of single travel from Journeywoman
Cruise Critic offers a list of the 10 best cruise lines for solo travelers
Find and meet other travelers at TravBuddy