Solace for the solo traveller
I am a woman of a certain age who chooses to travel alone. I do this partly because I enjoy my own company and at the same time I enjoy flexibility.
As I have aged, it has become apparent that tour operators, hotel management, restaurant staff and other travellers consider me odd — pitiable even.
People look at me, smile indulgently and even comment to their companions, “What a shame.” It has taken years for waiting staff not to put me either next to the kitchen door or the ladies’ toilet.
I already bear the brunt of the single supplement on accommodation and cannot benefit from other-personflies-free offers of the big tour operators. I pay through the nose and do not even get the benefit of an extra bowl of fruit or a taxi voucher. I live further than 40km from Melbourne so do not get the “free ride’’ to the airport.
Having said all that, let me tell you that travelling alone at my age does have real compensations. It starts with the word adaptability and ends with the word zest- ful. I can select my flights, hotels, meals, transport, destinations and tour guides. I choose whether or not to have breakfast, lunch or dinner and can shop till I drop without anyone criticising me.
Does this make me selfish? Indeed it does and after over 40 years of hard work and long hours, I consider I have earned it. I have one plea and I make it to tour operators. If you would like us to be less selfish and to be part of your tours to some exotic location, please reconsider the single supplement. We do not want to share with someone we do not know.
We do not want to go out and find a friend to travel with. Travelling kills more friendships than adultery does marriages, but we could learn a little team spirit if we felt we were more highly regarded.
I have been part of a few tours as a single person and I notice some companies deal with us better than others.
Remember, we are a serious sector of the travelling community with money to spend and time to spare, so if you want our business reconsider and reconfigure your tours to make us come with you. Send your 400-word contribution to Follow the Reader: firstname.lastname@example.org. Columnists will receive a beautifully boxed set of a dozen 2ml vials of woody, floral and spicy scents from international fragrance house Amouage; $110. More: libertineparfumerie.com.au.