27th Aug 2015
FONT SIZE: A+ A-
Female solo travel tours
Female solo travel tours

In this week’s Travel SOS, Kay O’Sullivan reassures solo traveller Maysara that her decision to take a tour is the right one.

Q. Maysara
I am a single traveller as my husband passed away two years ago. It's difficult to find friends with the same interests so I have decided to go by myself next year.  I will go to Spain, Morocco and Portugal with Trafalgar for 15 days. I don't want to pay a single supplement for this, so I need to know if it’s ok to share a room with a stranger? Also, should I do a river cruise before I start the tour from Madrid, as I will get a cheaper flight with this cruise? Is it worth it?

A. That’s a brave but a wonderful decision. You will be in excellent hands with Trafalgar. The people at Trafalgar know how to take good care of guests. It’s a very successful company globally, and here in Australia, where it has been operating for 50 years.

Solo female travellers make up a significant portion of the passenger list on each guided holiday Trafalgar operates, so it understands that travelling on your own can be scary and does everything to make it as easy as possible for you.

What will happen with your accommodation is that it will look carefully at your details and then match you with another solo female traveller around your age. On the first night of your holiday, there will be a welcome reception and your Tour Director, as the Trafalgar guides are called, will do introductions on your arrival to smooth the way.

This care and the concern will continue through your holiday.

I’ve travelled solo with Trafalgar a number of times and let me reassure you that the Travel Directors are skilled at making sure that people like us feel welcome and are included. I am certain that by day two, or day three at the latest, you will feel like you are travelling with friends.

Also, to help smooth the way, Trafalgar has just launched an App called MyTrafalgar that allows guests to link up with other passengers, and their Travel Director, before the trip, so in a way you will know people before you leave home. The App works across Apple and Android devices, has loads of information about your trip – such as optional extras and itinerary details – plus you can create a travel journal and share photos and videos with guests, friends and family via social media.

I spoke with the managing director of Trafalgar Australia, Matthew Cameron-Smith about your concerns and he said that the number of solo travellers is growing rapidly year upon year, and that last year, 77 per cent of Trafalgar’s solo travellers were female.

He told me that Trafalgar offers waivers and substantial discounts on single supplement fees, plus accommodation upgrades on numerous departures across its itineraries throughout the year. I would add, these value-adds usually apply to departures during the low season i.e. the cooler months.

And Matthew said that if there is is an odd number of travellers then Trafalgar simply provides a guest with their own room free of the single supplement charge.

On your river cruise query, I had a look at the itinerary of the Trafalgar guided holiday you mentioned and it does a thorough job of covering all the must-sees of Spain, Morocco and Portugal. For that reason, I think it would be a bit of a waste of time to cover the same territory on a Spanish river cruise.

As Europe is such long way to go, especially for two weeks, why not consider a river cruise further north in Europe along the Rhine, Rhone or Danube? There are literally hundreds of options, and airfares between central Europe and Madrid are very affordable. (Have a look at the flight comparison website www.skyscanner.com.au which I find very easy to use or talk to a travel agent.)

It wouldn’t be daunting as both Trafalgar and all the good river cruise companies provide complimentary transfers from airport to the tour or river cruise’s departure destination.

Deciding to travel was the hard part, now you’ve got a lot of fun to look forward to.

www.trafalgar.com/aus

Do you have a travel question for Kay? If so, email your Travel SOS to newsletters@yourlifechoices.com.au

Kay O’Sullivan is no accidental tourist. More than a decade ago, she decided to combine two of her favourite things – journalism and travel – and become a travel writer. Since then, she has worked for numerous papers, magazines and on the internet, both here and internationally.





    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login
    May
    29th Aug 2015
    7:09am
    Hi Kaye,
    Thanks so much for your best answer.
    I feel more relieve and secure to travel alone now. I will follow your suggestion about the cruise too. Once again, thanks so much.
    Penny
    29th Aug 2015
    7:24am
    Hi May, I travelled Solo on a Cosmos Tour a few Months ago, and I can assure you that all will be just great.. Had the BEST time and plan to do the Spain and Portugal one next year.
    So just do it, you will really enjoy it. Happy Travels..
    May
    29th Aug 2015
    10:55am
    Thanks, Penny. Sure I will.
    Much appreciated.
    fish head
    29th Aug 2015
    12:11pm
    Go, May ,go. Many years ago I made my first tour with Trafalgar through Europe as a solo and had a ball. I began sharing with a total stranger but we clicked and were comfortable with each other until she had an accident and was forced to fly home to Australia for treatment. I was left in sole possession of a room with no extra to pay for the rest of the tour.The others on tour then made sure that I was included in what ever mischief was going for the rest of the trip.The secret of sharing with a stranger is extending your room mate extreme courtesy and space when they need it but remaining receptive to overtures
    for company. You don't need to live in each others pockets but you will find on a trip ,like will gravitate to like. My first trip was with a bus load of Aussies -singles, doubles AND families and everybody made an effort to get on. My second more recent trip was very different. The inclusiveness developed more slowly as the international mix became accustomed to each other. I found that helpfulness and laughter is a sure way of dissolving unstated boundaries. Again, I found a likeminded friend with whom I still correspond. My overwhelming memory of that trip is warmth, laughter and exposure to a totally different but curiously familiar culture.DO try it.
    May
    31st Aug 2015
    8:44pm
    Thanks for your advised. Much appreciated.
    Esty
    29th Aug 2015
    1:10pm
    Hi May
    I've done numerous trips with Trafalgar and other tour companies through Europe, as a solo female traveller. The only problem I've had is NOT paying the single supplement and ending up sharing a room with an obnoxious woman. There were no spare seats on the coach either, so because we made the numbers 'even', I had to sit beside her for the entire duration of the trip. This was most unpleasant. When others on the tour realized that we were not travelling together, they made every effort to include me which was wonderful. Personally, sharing a room is not worth the angst...I have since paid the single supplement to ensure that I have the best chance of enjoying my hard earned vacation.
    Issy
    29th Aug 2015
    1:24pm
    You'd think that if the personality clash was so unpleasant, the organiser could be approached to change things around. Sharing with someone obnoxious, and having to ride with them as well, sounds like my vision of hell, and the worst way to spoil what otherwise could have been a fun trip.
    trood
    29th Aug 2015
    4:18pm
    who else would have wanted to share with the obnoxious woman? no one! not easy to reorganise. I would opt for single supplement every time.
    Bet
    29th Aug 2015
    2:29pm
    I did my 1st solo trip this year, with Back Road tours single supplement not much extra. Only 11 people on tour, I was the only single, but was very enjoyable and I fitted in well.
    Penny
    29th Aug 2015
    3:11pm
    I have done 3 Solo Tours and sharing a room has been a Joy..The first tour I did I clicked with the Lady and ws ended up doing another Tour together the following year, then last year I met another lady who is going to do another Tour with me next year, maybe Im lucky .? The last tour there were 4 of us solo females , so they rotated us each night, so if you had a person you didn't get on with , well you didnt have to put up with them all Tour...


    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles