Solo travellers know: ‘All those who wander are not all lost’ –Tolkein
One lesson learned over time is that nothing remains the same. Life has a way of taking a sharp left turn when we least expect it and one of the greatest skills we can master is being flexible. So, find yourself alone? Or travelling solo for the first time? Then read how to counter the: ‘Oh, I’d love to be able to do that but…’ gremlin that lurks in all of us.
Top tips for travelling solo for the first time.
- The essential tip is to book the trip. Yes, that’s right just do it! You can worry about the whys and wherefores afterwards. Once the decision is made you are committed and can start making positive plans.
- OK, let’s go backwards. Make a list of things you’ve always wanted to do. Grab a piece of paper and jot down any dreams. Maybe you have harboured a secret ambition to skinny dip off a Greek Island or go on a cooking holiday in Italy or learn to dive. However ambitious or crazy, just note them and create a solo travel wish list. It can be fun and if you scribble quickly it can be amazing just what is discovered about yourself. Being creative is half the fun. Being master or mistress of your own destiny is also very liberating, whatever age you are.
- If you feel shy, vulnerable or have always travelled with a companion travelling solo doesn’t mean remaining alone. Booking an activity holiday or one with a theme, like a cooking or a painting holiday, means you’ll find yourself alongside like-minded people. It won’t take long to break the ice. Depending on your choice you might be with much younger people or you can pick an activity that appeals to more mature types or a mixture. You can choose after all. Certainly this kind of break will help overcome initial shyness.
- Sometimes being solo can be viewed negatively. Yet remember the times you’ve needed to compromise your own dreams. Think of the places you haven’t visited or things not done as a partner ‘didn’t fancy it’. Travelling solo can allow you to be silent or kick off your shoes and dance on the sand if the mood is right. You can chat with everyone, mingle, socialise and be yourself. It can be heady, attractive and work more effectively than anti- wrinkle creams!
- Choose a country you have always pined to visit and make a wish list of all the places, attractions formal and informal you want to visit. If you have a passion for art, sculpture, local cuisines, historical buildings, churches, museums, wild flowers, archaeology then find all the places you might yearn to visit. It’s your itinerary and can be constructed however you please. No one else’s desires need to be taken into consideration. How fantastic is that! On the other hand you might want someone else to do the hard work of planning and arranging. Booking a bespoke trip, cooking holiday or adventure package might push you to do things you have always wanted to do. Going on safari to Africa, trekking the jungles of Brazil or learning tango in Buenos Aries are examples.
- Travel, after all, is about taking the first step, about merging with the locals, about seeing life from a different perspective. Travel is also a wonderful way to clear the head, to reassess, re-evaluate, revise and come back refreshed. Suddenly old problems have new answers.
- What makes life so exciting are the possibilities every day might offer if you allow the opportunities in. Exploring new skills, sights, sounds, smells and cultures is a part of our innately curious nature. So, learning to cook Italian food from natural ingredients on a cooking holiday, painting a Tuscan landscape on an Italian painting holiday can be good for the psyche. Learning to ski, throw pots, improve your photography technique are great journeys. These are all things that could become part of your experience if you let them. So what are you waiting for?
This is a guest post written by Flavours Holidays – a specialist tour operator offering cooking, painting and Pilates holidays in Italy with no single supplements for solo travellers. Download the latest brochure here. You can also see reviews of Flavours Holidays.