How to Travel Alone
The prospect of embarking on a solo travel adventure can be daunting.
If it’s something you have never done before, traveling alone may seem like an experience best left to twenty-something backpackers and rugged adventurers, but a solo vacation can not only be perfectly accomplishable for anyone, it can also be blissfully enjoyable and exceptionally rewarding.
They say that happiness shared is happiness doubled, but sometimes the opposite can also be true. When traveling with another, you are often considerate of their wishes as well, compromising your own desires to accommodate their choices. This can be a wonderful way to enjoy a family vacation or even to strengthen the bonds of love, creating an adventure in unison.
However, we also often see our guests forgo some aspects of their experience to better conform with their partner’s or group’s desires. This is particularly evident in married couples. To be somewhat stereotyping, the wife may wish to spend an afternoon beading with Maasai tribeswomen, while the husband may wish to launch into the abyss of Victoria Falls on the adrenalizing Gorge Swing. Whatever the journey and whoever the participants, we all want for different things and, no matter how incredible the experience, there will invariably be a small aspect of compromise.And so we come to the joys of solo travel.
Choose Your Own Solo Adventure
It begins in the planning. When it is you alone calling the shots, the world is your oyster. Not only are you able to go wherever you wish, you are also able to indulge in whatever experiences you wish along the way.
This is a double-fold benefit. On the one hand, you are able to cater exclusively to your wishes. Perhaps you are an avid photographer, maybe you have a penchant for cultural experiences, you could choose to explore ancient ruins or venture to other unique destinations that may lack appeal to others. When you travel solo, you can do whatever you so wish.
On the other hand, your greatest desire may well be peace and tranquility. You can lounge for hours on a white sand beach in the Quirimbas Archipelago, indulge yourself in spa treatments and massages, wander the souks of Morocco for hours on end and pamper your every whim.
The Two Solo Travelers
Rather than the start of some humorous anecdote, the causes for solo travel are numerous but can roughly be bisected into two distinct types of traveler: one who wishes for solo travel and the other who simply has no one to travel with.
For the former, independence is frequently craved. They relish the prospect of being alone in their travels – not necessarily solitary, but self-reliant, able to write their own story and enjoy the simplicity of traveling by themselves.
The latter is alone by necessity. There are several reasons one may be required to travel alone or lack the option of companionship, and for these travelers, we create an itinerary to support and nurture. There are many group activities that can be arranged that actively encourage interaction. Game drives, guided walks, cruises and other events help this traveler find the opportunity to interact, meet new friends and never feel alone in their solo travel.
Added to this, accommodations can be arranged that, while private, also open the option of interaction, such as with communal areas, collective mealtimes and so on. Whatever the reason you are traveling solo, it need never make you feel lonely or alone.
Spa treatments aren’t the only way you can pamper yourself. Take time to immerse yourself in a good book, take yourself out for a romantic dinner for one, enjoy your journey at your own pace and be open to new opportunities.
Your Travel Designer will craft a complete itinerary inspired by your desires. With their local knowledge, travel wisdom and wealth of experience, they will be able to recommend the very best ways to experience your destinations of choice.
However, one of the beauties of solo travel is your ability to change your mind and explore spontaneous opportunities. You may wake one Cape Town morning, ready for an excursion to Table Mountain, but on arrival at breakfast, your maître d’ may suggest the botanical gardens of Kirstenbosch as a simply unmissable experience.
The point is, this is your journey, and yours alone. While we will do our utmost to craft the perfect bespoke itinerary, this should never hinder your experiences*.
SEVEN SOLO TRAVEL HACKS
When traveling solo, it is always worthwhile appreciating that you are, in fact, solo! This means that you also need to be self-dependent to some extent. Here are some useful tips to consider when traveling on your own:
- Always have your accommodation details saved
- Reduce your baggage. Consider comfort over excess
- Be kind to staff and let them know you’re solo. They will more than likely offer advice and extra care
- Dress humbly, minimise jewelry and be discrete with items such as cameras
- Carry some cash and a backup credit card
- Learn some of the language – it’s a great way to make friends and improve communications
- Plan in advance, but be open to new adventures.
DESTINATIONS FOR SOLO TRAVELERS
As mentioned, the notion of traveling completely alone, especially for the first time, can be a little daunting. Will you be safe? Will you be lonely? Will you be supported in the unlikely event of unforeseen challenges?
Fortunately, Rothschild Safaris will be with you every step of the way. We will scrupulously plan your itinerary to ensure your safety and happiness. We will inconspicuously monitor your journey, ensuring that you have checked in to your accommodations, boarded your connections and are being well cared for. You will also be able to contact one of our staff in the same time zone at any time, should you ever need advice, assistance or simply someone to talk to.
Not only this, but there will always be a friendly face in the crowd to meet and greet you from your first international arrival, through any number of land- or air-based transfers to your eventual departure for home. A Rothschild representative will always be there to welcome you with a warm smile, collect you from your transport, assist with baggage and paperwork and escort you to your destination. Likewise, they will ensure that you board your next flight and are given a fond farewell as you begin the next instalment of your itinerary.
Though perfectly accomplishable as a solo traveler, some destinations could prove significantly more challenging than others. That isn’t to suggest that you shouldn’t undertake such adventures, but those challenges should be carefully considered, especially as a first-time solo traveler.
Here are five destinations to consider for your first solo adventure, countries we deem to be safer, more accessible and better suited to your solo travel experience:
Australia’s combination of adventure, cities, exquisite coastline and spectacular landscapes make it an ideal destination for first-time solo travelers. An English-speaking nation, it is easy to navigate with excellent internal transportation and a diversity of experiences to be enjoyed. Wonderfully safe and friendly, yet with enough exotic wildlife and expansive deserts, rainforests and beaches to still feel adventurous, it is the perfect balance of all aspects of travel.
2. The Galápagos
The Galápagos are a wonderful destination in their own right, but due to the nature of conservation efforts, organized cruises and defined itineraries, they are also incredibly convenient for solo travelers, with activities, travel and accommodation carefully planned to protect this fragile ecosystem. Invariably enjoyed through charter yachts, there is also the opportunity to mingle with other guests and make new friends. Of course, there is also plenty of space and privacy to remain independent as well!
3. The Seychelles
For a sea change, the impeccable Seychelles are simply divine. Tropical white-sand beaches ease into the warm crystalline waters of the Indian ocean and the rich culture offers plenty to explore and experience. The mélange of national origins provides a smorgasbord, both figuratively and literally, to indulge in. Creole-inspired cuisine, a culture steeped in centuries-old trade and exploration and the warm and friendly Seychellois people combine with deserted islands, giant tortoises and abundant jungles to make the archipelago simply unforgettable.
If solo safari is your desire, few places can equal Kenya. Wonderfully convenient and accessible, it nonetheless immerses you in the vast and dramatic landscapes of Africa, offering all the natural, cultural and experiential wonders you could wish for. English is widely spoken, guides are highly trained and the level of professionalism is second to none. While you may well enjoy solitude in the absolute, you will also be impeccably cared for at every stage.
5. Costa Rica
Not only is Costa Rica considered one of the happiest nations on the planet, filled with verdant jungles, immaculate beaches and wonderful wildlife, it is also incredibly friendly and welcoming. There are plenty of opportunities for the more adventurous souls, but equally as many for those wishing a more sedate schedule for their vacation. Yoga and wellness abounds in Costa Rica, as do spas and more indulgent therapies, so whatever you wish for, you will be spoiled for choice.
Still a little confused as to where you might wish to venture? Perhaps Travel + Leisure’s guide to solo travel based on your zodiac sign might offer some inspiration!
Lastly, where or however you choose to vacation, you will always be traveling with someone: you. It is so rare in our frenetic, bustling schedules that we are afforded the luxury of spending time with ourselves. Not only is solo travel the perfect opportunity to reconnect with you, it exacerbates the experience tenfold. Embrace it and cherish it. Escape into the pages of a book, explore your creative side by journaling or photographing or simply enjoy the silence.
Your Rothschild Travel Designer will always offer plenty of advice and ideas for how best to enjoy and experience your solo travel vacation. Don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions, curiosities and concerns.This is your time – enjoy it.
*Rothschild Safaris will craft your itinerary with your safety and wellbeing in mind, as well as your enjoyment. Due to this, it is advisable to make changes only with research, caution and consideration. Your Travel Designer will be available throughout your journey to offer advice via email or your Rothschild support line