Solo travel

YOURLifeChoices member Jean is considering going it alone on her first solo trip

Solo travel

Andrea encourages YOURLifeChoices member Jean to ‘seize the day’ and go it alone as Jean considers her first solo trip.

Q. Jean
I am a 62-year-old widow keen to have some great travel adventures. Unfortunately, I don’t currently have any friends who are available to accompany me. How do I pluck up the courage to travel alone, without breaking the bank, but still have a whale of a time?

A. Jean, there is absolutely no reason for you to wait for friends or family to travel, as there are many options available for those travelling alone. Although your first solo travel experience can be a daunting proposition, it can also be extremely empowering. See it as an opportunity to do something entirely for yourself. Travelling on your own means that you are able to do exactly what you want on your holiday, when you want, without making any compromises for a travel companion.

If you have the luxury of time and would like to visit a foreign country, why not learn the language before you go? This is also a great way to meet other people who have a similar interest in visiting the same country – you never know, you may even find a potential travel companion.

Another great way of travelling alone is to arrange a house swap. As well as saving money on accommodation, you can research your destination, communicate with the person or people with whom you are swapping homes as to the best places to visit, restaurants to eat at and how the public transport system works. They may even have friendly neighbours who could serve as an initial support when you first arrive.

Group travel is another option, with a large number of tour companies offering guided tours to many different countries. You may choose an ocean or river cruise, an adventure holiday or a couch tour – the list is endless. Many companies are now offering low or no single supplement choices for solo travellers. If you decide to keep your costs to a minimum and forgo paying the single supplement by sharing a room, my advice would be to choose a shorter trip to begin with. Having to share a room with a snorer is bearable for a week, but not so much for a month of touring through Europe.

You can also sign up to travel websites to receive enewsletters advising you of upcoming specials or visit a travel agent to collect brochures of the destinations you are interested in visiting. If you have the luxury of being able to travel without much notice, you will find that booking last-minute deals on cruises and tours can save you hundreds of dollars.

Here are some sites to help you plan your first solo holiday:
www.homelink.com.au
www.solotraveller.com.au
www.journeywoman.com
www.seniorsholidaytravel.com.au
www.arendezvous.com.au





    COMMENTS

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    hazle-hurst
    8th Jul 2013
    12:29pm
    To "Jean" - I travel alone all the time - first trip was to USA when I was 70. As I am limited in finances, I "couchsurfed" (couchsurfing.org) all the way up the West Coast of USA and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I have done it again last year and intend to go to Eurpoe and England next year. Go on try it!!!
    Best wishes Flora
    talofa
    8th Jul 2013
    1:37pm
    Hallo hazle-hurst...i am over 70 & have travelled all over the world except asia as i don't speak
    any asian languages...it's really worth it to learn some of the main languages & take a language dictionary....people really appreciate if you take the trouble & i had many excellent
    experiences this way from people that invited me to their homes (brazil) to mexican bullfighters & dental surgeons (boyfriends )...my last trip was 2008 to austria & italy & i flew
    home from venice...enjoy Jean ...talofa
    talofa
    8th Jul 2013
    1:37pm
    Hallo hazle-hurst...i am over 70 & have travelled all over the world except asia as i don't speak
    any asian languages...it's really worth it to learn some of the main languages & take a language dictionary....people really appreciate if you take the trouble & i had many excellent
    experiences this way from people that invited me to their homes (brazil) to mexican bullfighters & dental surgeons (boyfriends )...my last trip was 2008 to austria & italy & i flew
    home from venice...enjoy Jean ...talofa
    FrankC
    8th Jul 2013
    3:36pm
    Hi Jean, I was in Italy a few years ago, pre GFC, and in the market in Flotrence, a stall holder said in English, you from England? when I said no, Australia, his reply was '- G'day mate !' When I was in Rome, I went into a corner shop to buy a 500 ml. bottle of mineral water, which I asked for in Italian, and the guy behind the counter said "They're in the fridge over there " in English, so don't let the language stall you, a lot of people in the EEC speak English, BUT yeah try and learn the language, it's fun.
    pixii
    8th Jul 2013
    8:29pm
    Hello Jean, I travelled alone to USA in 2010 , land holiday , but last year a Baltic cruise and home via USA & Canada on Cruises , and really enjoyed all , but preferred cruises as so many places to see , lots of interesting people to dine with, tour with, play trivia , etc on cruises , and a feeling of safety , as well , thoroughly recommend. Go ahead , you will enjoy, and you don't have to answer to anyone else !
    amber
    9th Jul 2013
    6:43am
    Hello Jean
    I also am a 62 yr old widow and recently did my first solo trip. I did this in Australia to see how I went. I flew to my destination and hired a car, and spent 10 days on my own. It was fine and I am glad I made that first step and now I am ready to expand my travels. The worst thing for me travelling alone is eating alone in the evening. To go out I found daunting as most tables are couples or groups so I ate out at lunchtime and cooked for myself in the evenings. It helped booking self catering accommodation.
    I don't know if that gets better but it was a start and it felt good knowing that I can do it.
    There are pluses and minuses but you just have to do it. What is the alternative? Sit at home? I don't think so !!
    shele
    12th Jul 2013
    8:00am
    I have been travelling alone for years Divorced in 2004 (and we never went anywhere in a 35 year marriage!!) I have gone backpacking north and south New Zealand(with Magic Tours great!!) I have gone on a cruise (with 3 other women - one I knew!), Been to Tasmania, NSW Victoria far North Qld (Townsville, Cairns and Cape Tribulation Stayed at Civic Guesthouse backpackers Townsville Great and Geckos in Cairns great! went on Sunlander and/or Tilt train) Went to NSW on trains stayed YHA Sydney Great and went on to Melb Kings backpackers). In 2011 I went to Israel Turkey and Greece (InnerFaith Travel Coy.) with Christian group - people of all denominations from all over Aust. then to China same year thro same company GREAT! Last year to Rainbow Beach & Fraser Is (stayed backpackers!) This year to Egypt and Moses Exodus Trail but before I joined up with this group, I went on a Nile Cruise on my own!!! JUST DO IT!!!I am a young at heart 65 year old - go to gym etc etc....(I even climbed up Mt Sinai!!) I want to do either Peru or Africe next!!!(WhenI travel I have a suitcase on wheels not a backpack! But many backpackers take cases on wheels now!!! saves their backs!) And ALL ages go to backpackers. I stayed at HangOut Backpackers for a week in Singapore this year also. GO FOR IT!!I even went ziplining on a flying fox thro canopy of rain forest in Daintree Rainforest (Cape Tribulation) in the rain. Exhilerating stuff!!! DO IT!
    tesstess50
    19th Jul 2013
    12:34pm
    i am also widow 63 y.o. Would love to do some more travel but would prefer a female companion. I would love to do african safari sometime soon so if anybody out there would be interested perhaps we could do it together.
    tesstess50
    21st Jul 2013
    9:55pm
    unsuscribed but didn'nt mean to


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