Let 2019 be the year you travel your way!
This year, roughly one in four people said they would travel solo during the year, according to Solo Travel Statistics 2018.
If you’re ready to join this movement set to grow in 2019, we recently caught up with a few of our favourite travel experts to share their top tips for solo travel, and how you can really travel your way in the new year.
Go a little further with a lot more included
“Solo travellers are incredibly independent and tactful. They can book entire trips on their own, from accommodation to attraction tickets, transfers and flights online,” says Nicky Potgieter, Leisure Marketing Leader for Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG).
“However, in most cases, if you do a line by line comparison, all-inclusive travel packages often work out cheaper, especially with overland expeditions, cruises and multi-city trips. It’s all there in one fell swoop, so you can spend more of your time focusing on the fun stuff instead of wasting time browsing hundreds of online platforms.”
“Using a reputable travel agent who can recommend a tried and tested itinerary is helpful for solo travellers worried about safety, or things going wrong. It’s good to have someone to contact immediately if you need help,” she adds.
Go on, go for a guided holiday
If you’re ready to channel your inner Chris McCandless, or rather Cheryl Strayed (aka Reece Witherspoon in Wild), but without the sheer exhaustion or sleeping in the dirt, a guided experience takes away the unnecessary hassle without compromising on your independence.
“When it comes to guided trips, forget that image of buses bundled with tourists snapping photos with their selfie sticks, then rushing off to the next attraction. This really isn’t the case anymore,” says Jessica Clarke, Marketing Manager for Busabout, South Africa.
“With travel companies like Busabout, expect the option of group activities but with plenty of time to yourself too. You’ll even discover days in your itinerary where you are encouraged to go out on your own to explore or relax. We’ve also launched small group options in 2019 for a more low-key group camaraderie, and a focus on an intimate, uninterrupted travel experience.”
Build your solo travel support tribe
There are plenty of Facebook community groups for solo travellers. Currently, Girls Love Travel boasts one of the largest memberships of solo female travellers online (over 600,000), which shows that increasingly, more women are embracing their independence and taking full advantage of opportunities to travel on their own terms.
Travelling solo, especially as a woman, doesn’t mean you have to be on your own. Tarryn Liddell, a South African Trip Manager for Contiki in Europe assures us that from her experience with Contiki, guided trips help create a safe platform for like-minded travel souls to really connect with each other.
“Think immersive activities led by local insiders and access to skip-the queue benefits at top attractions and museums. For first time solos going their own way in 2019, I highly recommend dipping your toes into a guided holiday, there’s also no need to worry about getting lost or lonely,” she adds.
Schedule in those rest stops
An advantage of going solo in 2019 means that you are not bound to the plans of your friends, who might not always want to do the same things that you want to do, says Marili Du Buisson, Travel Expert at STA, St. George’s Mall, Cape Town.
“As a solo traveller, you can enjoy the agility and move a little quicker, ticking off multiple attractions in one day, often multiple cities in one week. What is important though, is to conserve your energy. The reality is that you will be spending quite a bit of time on your own, especially in-between travel destinations, and it can take its toll. Allow yourself time to rest, and recharge your batteries. Don’t feel bad about spending a little extra on a private room if and when you need to,” she concludes.
If you’re looking to kick-start your 2019 solo travel, here are a few new trips from Busabout to add to your itinerary:
An Iberian adventure to remember
Spend 8 days exploring Spain and Portugal, eating your body weight in delicious tapas. Kayak in Lagos, watch live flamenco in a cave in Granada, and visit the spectacular town of Ronda. Top it all off with plenty lazy afternoon siestas.
Try a Greek odyssey
Hop on and meet your new travel buddies on our journey through Greece with a local guide who’ll let you in on the tales of mythology, and battles of the ancient world. Be enthralled by stories of the ancient Spartans, and visit the site of their most famous battle at Thermopylae.
Step aboard for a Balkan sail
Spend a week cruising through paradise: Croatia, Montenegro, Dubrovnik (aka King’s Landing, Westeros), Cavtat, Herceg Novi, Kotor, and the Elaphite Islands. Tuck into fresh meals onboard your vessel with a drink in hand and nothing on your mind except the excitement building for the next port.
New Years ski adventure
Wave goodbye to 2018 with an incredible adventure across Europe’s most beautiful winter hotspots. Go from Austria, Germany, Vienna and Salzburg, to name a few, then party into the New Year in the famous Apres-Ski of the French Alps. Hit the slopes and marvel at the scenery by day, and take in the atmosphere at the warm chalet bars by night.