Solo travel arranged by a solo traveler. Now that’s a unique concept! I continually see travel providers touting their solo travel packages and have to wonder how many agents or consultants are actual solo travelers themselves…
Travel consultants or curators do travel solo in groups for familiarization trips but I really don’t think that qualifies as true “solo travel”. Many travel agents will already know or be familiar with the persons traveling or leading the group. Merriam-Webster defines “solo” as “something undertaken or done alone”. I originally branched out into personal solo travel as an opportunity to enrich my knowledge of world travel to help expand our product offerings. Since my spouse is only able to travel a couple of times per year, I made a personal choice to “go it alone”.
Of my over 200 international trips, the overwhelming number have incorporated solo travel in some form or fashion. Whether it was traveling solo to join in with a group or true solo travel, I’ve developed a keen sense of exploration that has allowed me to overcome some of the most challenging aspects of going it alone in foreign lands.
What are the top concerns of traveling alone?
- Additional cost of single supplements
- Dining alone
My typical solo trip starts with a rental car. The rental is my ticket to a journey through new and uncharted territory. I recently went to Costa Rica and explored the Arenal Volcano Region, the Guanacaste Beaches, and then down to the Manuel Antonio area. Along the way, I spent time pursuing my passion for photography. The pace that I set did not allow for much idle time, so the boredom and loneliness factor was held in check. I tend to take the active approach to solo travel.
The days were filled with scenic drives from one region to the other and impromptu stops to hike to a waterfall or photograph the plethora of wildlife that Costa Rica is famous for. I took a similar approach to my two Hawaii solo trips in 2016. Traveling the Road To Hana on Maui was a discovery around every turn. And it was easy to converse with the locals and others that took the challenge. Every solo excursion has brought me more understanding of the freedom and pleasure of going when you want and where you want.
I try to choose destinations where safety is less of an issue. Also, I make a point to do my traveling during daylight hours if possible. Photographers like to be up early and before sunrise to get to the spot to capture the “golden hour” of light. I find that most people like to sleep and the majority of nefarious activity in foreign locales doesn’t happen at sunrise so I will venture out in the dark of early morning.
While I am constantly aware of my surroundings and do my best to take the safety factor into account, there is always some risk when traveling alone. I realized some time ago, that I needed to keep family in the loop as to my whereabouts…It occurred to me one day that “no one, not one person, really knows where I am”.
Even if you don’t take the active approach, solo travel can be accomplished in many forms. Destination and resort environment plays a key role in crafting a rewarding solo travel package. All inclusive resorts have evolved to cater to solo travelers in a social way. Breathless Resorts features a mix-and-mingle social atmosphere where solo travelers feel included. Chic Resort in Punta Cana adopted the social vacation experience as a result of the success of Breathless and provides another Caribbean option.
The dreaded single supplement is something that everyone experiences in solo traveling at some point. Cruises and all inclusive resorts typically have a mark up for single travelers. If it’s $1500/person for double occupancy, then you can anticipate in the neighborhood of $2250 for a single. However, more and more resorts and cruise lines see the value in courting the solo traveler and if you can be flexible with your dates, there are deals to be had.
Dining alone? Just one? I’m sure you’ve heard those ego-bruising questions as you approached the host or hostess! I’m somewhat dumbfounded at the training those employees have received. It’s pretty easy to say “how many will be dining this evening?” and let US choose how to respond. I like to have fun with it and have crafted several responses over the years….
My solution? I like to find a spot at the bar. No one ever asks me if I am dining alone..in fact, many people may be dining there alone!
A number of solo travelers enjoy going on a planned tour with a group. Escorted tours have a schedule and instant opportunities to make new friends! I’m considering one of the National Geographic Expeditions myself. The one I’m interested in most is the type led by professional photographers from the magazine.
There are many types of organized tours from operators like Linblad, Ambercrombie & Kent, Perillo, Globus and more!
Solo travel can be enriching, enlightening and character building. If you’ve never experienced the freedom of going when you want and where you want, give me a call and I’ll share my love of solo travel!
I’d love to assist with your next solo travel experience. You can reach my personal cell at 859-229-3222.