Think­ing of go­ing it alone on your next hol­i­day? Here’s how to plan your solo ad­ven­ture

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - COVER STORY - AMANDA WOODS

Lib­er­at­ing, ex­cit­ing, in­dul­gent, ter­ri­fy­ing. De­pend­ing on the day and your mood, solo travel can be all of these things and more, some­times all at the same time. “Leav­ing be­hind our ev­ery­day life and im­mers­ing our­selves in an un­fa­mil­iar en­vi­ron­ment can give us the op­por­tu­nity to find our­selves, or work out how to over­come per­sonal chal­lenges,” says Amanda Behre of travel web­site Wo­tif.

One of the big­gest chal­lenges for a solo trav­eller is the dreaded sin­gle sup­ple­ment. While a ho­tel room usu­ally costs the same re­gard­less of whether there’s one per­son stay­ing or two, the price you see on cruise ships and tours will of­ten be per per­son, twin share. Which means you could pay dou­ble if you’re stung with a sin­gle sup­ple­ment fee.

But the land­scape is chang­ing. Jus­tine Wadding­ton is the au­thor of The Solo Trav­eller’s Com­pass: How to Travel Solo But Not Alone and the founder of En­counter Travel (en­coun­ter­, which cre­ates hol­i­day groups ex­clu­sively for solo trav­ellers. “I think more and more peo­ple are em­brac­ing solo travel be­cause the land­scape for solo trav­ellers is far more at­trac­tive,” Jus­tine says. “More tour op­er­a­tors and cruise com­pa­nies are now re­spond­ing to their needs. It can be as sim­ple as recog­nis­ing the solo trav­eller when they ad­ver­tise their prod­uct, and cre­at­ing of­fers that wel­come them.”


If you’re drawn to a des­ti­na­tion your fam­ily or friends have no in­ter­est in, but you’re not con­fi­dent about go­ing it alone, group tours could be for you.

Wendy Wu Tours’ Emma Prineas, who is about to marry the tour guide she fell in love with in Ar­gentina, says join­ing a group tour is an easy way to grow your trav­el­ling con­fi­dence.

“Solo travel can be re­ward­ing but also lonely at times, and tour­ing in a group en­sures your se­cu­rity. You’re also as­sured of a high qual­ity guide, rather than the al­ter­na­tive that could range from an un­qual­i­fied lo­cal to a sham-ster who makes his wages from sou­venir shop sales.”

The sin­gle sup­ple­ment need not be an ob­sta­cle. Com­pa­nies in­clud­ing Wendy Wu Tours have a Will­ing to Share op­tion so sin­gle trav­ellers can be matched with some­one with sim­i­lar de­mo­graph­ics and in­ter­ests and both avoid pay­ing more.

With 40 per cent of its group tours made up of solo trav­ellers, On The Go Tours has in­tro­duced “Your Own Room” op­tions on some of its most pop­u­lar tours to Egypt, In­dia and Sri Lanka. The de­par­tures are still avail­able to cou­ples, but give solo trav­ellers a guar­an­teed room of their own with no sup­ple­ment.

Trafal­gar is an­other top oper­a­tor of­fer­ing 100 per cent sin­gle sup­ple­ment-free fares on se­lected trips, as well as vol­un­tary pair­ing.

In 2017 Trafal­gar saw solo travel rise by 21 per cent and now one in five of their trav­ellers is solo, with Italy, Bri­tain, Ire­land and the East Coast of the US the most pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tions for so­los.

In­sight Va­ca­tions of­fers sup­ple­ment sales on var­i­ous tours and saw a 15 per cent rise in solo travel last year with Scan­di­navia, Croa­tia, Spain, Por­tu­gal and Morocco the top of its sin­gles list.

An­drea Powis, the cre­ator of the small group ex­pe­ri­en­tial travel com­pany for women, Trav­el­ling Di­vas, says the best group tours of­fer both the se­cu­rity of a group with the space for in­de­pen­dence through­out the trip. And if you’re wor­ried about be­ing stuck on the road with some­one you clash with, An­drea says you shouldn’t let that hold you back.

“Travel is tir­ing stuff and can have ‘mo­ments’ from time to time. It is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that group travel itin­er­ar­ies such as ours do al­low enough flex­i­bil­ity and free­dom to en­able es­cape from the group or some­one in the group if you just need per­sonal space. Most im­por­tantly, as a tour leader it is part of our job to be aware of any is­sues such as these and man­age si­t­u­a­tions.”



Want to ex­plore the great out­doors but not quite ready to do a Ch­eryl Strayed (Amer­i­can mem­oirist and nov­el­ist who hiked the Pa­cific Crest Trail) and hike the wilder­ness alone?

Great Walks of Aus­tralia lets peo­ple hike some of the best trails in the coun­try with the safety and se­cu­rity of a guide, and a com­fort­able bed and de­li­cious meal wait­ing at the end of the day. Their Fr­eycinet Ex­pe­ri­ence Walk in Tas­ma­nia of­fers guests their own room with no sin­gle sup­ple­ment, and can match guests in twin share rooms on their other walks.

Also in Tas­ma­nia, the Blue Derby Pods Ride is a three-day moun­tain


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