Imagine packing your bags and heading to a hot beach somewhere remote - with no kids, partner or parents chewing your ears off. Or how about crunching your way through a tropical rainforest with nothing but nature surrounding you. Sounds like bliss, right?
Solo travel is one of the most empowering, brave and no doubt relaxing things you can do.
But travelling alone can be really expensive. In fact, 65% of Brits think that we’re financially penalised for jetting off without a partner.
The bane of single supplements stretches right across the travel industry board, from wellness retreats to hostels; if you don’t want to bunker down next to a total stranger, you’re forced to pay more.
Which is why certain travel companies have started launching campaigns aimed at getting solo travellers better deals.
More and more of us are choosing to see the world on our own, with major solo operators across cruise, touring and coach holidays reporting a sharp increase in solo travel over the past few years.
Wellness is the primary goal for those going off on their own, according to a 1,722 people-strong Travelzoo survey.
- said they wanted to travel solo to take time for themselves, with 15% saying it was a chance for self-discovery. And nearly two-thirds of respondents said that the best thing about travelling alone was not being answerable to anyone else.
Worried about feeling lonely on your own? Don’t be; a quarter of the Brits surveyed said they were more sociable on their solo holiday compared to when they’d travelled with friends or family.
Solo September is a campaign aimed at encouraging more of us to take the bull by the horns and see the world - without being screwed over financially for the pleasure.
Travelzoo launched it in order to provide solo travellers with advice and to combat the high supplements single travellers are made to pay. It’s working with TUI Tours, Emirates Holidays, Just You, Silversea Cruises and other companies to offer exclusive deals for solo travellers throughout September - without the dastardly single supplement.
James Clarke, General Manager, UK, at Travelzoo, said: ‘At Travelzoo we are seeing a sharp rise in interest for solo holidays. Previously a type of travel full of judgement and social stigma, it’s now an acceptable and respected mode of travel.
‘With these changes in attitude and the demand for solo trips, we have seen the industry and our partners increasingly support single travellers by dropping the supplements and providing affordable solo holidays.
‘This encouragement from the industry for solo travel will help people see new places, which they otherwise may not have considered or travelled to. We hope that our Solo September campaign will encourage both seasoned and new solo travellers to book.’
But if the idea of booking an organised holiday fills you with dread, then here a few tips for proper solo travelling:
1. Choose Air BnBs over hotels
To avoid paying more, look at alternative sleeping arrangements. You could try a homestay, hostels or Air BnBs - options that all avoid single supplements and give you the choice of being social or relaxing on your own.
2. Don’t be afraid of your own company
How often do we really get the chance to enjoy being on our own in every day life? Travelling solo is going to involve quite large chunks of time alone and at first, that might seem a bit lonely. But push on and you may soon be on the road to self-discovery. Just make sure you’ve got a few great books with you.
3. Keep the ‘gram up to date
It might sound odd to advocate for social media if you’re trying to escape the thick of it, but capturing your travels might help you to appreciate the small things on your travels - as well as adding a bit of structure to your day. Take a film camera or use Instagram; when you get home, having a visual diary of everything you’ve seen will help you appreciate just how much you achieved on your solo travel adventure.
4. Dine out like a boss
It can be tempting to live off supermarket grub and dine in your room when you’re on your own but eating out is one of the greatest things about travelling - so push yourself to eat out. There’s nothing more fabulous than having a table for one at a gloriously fancy restaurant. If in doubt, dress up for the occasion.
5. Refocus your day
If the idea of going to bars or clubs on your own makes you want to die inside, flip your day around by starting and finishing earlier. If you don't fancy dining out solo, why not treat yourself to a fancy breakfast somewhere, before spending the day gallivanting around galleries, museums, parks, forests, beaches. Then return to your abode and embrace being in bed at a decent time. Holidays are a chance to recharge your batteries - it’s totally up to you how you do that.
6. Be confident in your decisions
Ever get holiday fear after booking your tickets? Just remember that there’s a reason you decided to go on this adventure - if you feel nervous, trust that initial instinct. There's no wrong way to do solo travel because there's no one to prove anything to. If you want to be in bed by 9pm every day, that's fine - as is going out every night with a different group of people. As long as you're doing what makes you feel comfortable and happy, you’re all set for the trip of a lifetime.