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