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New To Solo Travel

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New to solo travel – what do I need to know? 

Travelling alone for the first time? Here are our top tips to having the time of your life, even when you’re solo. 

People from all walks of life love to discover the world’s best bits on their own (how else do you do things entirely to your tune?!) – but if you’re new to solo adventure travel, you might be wondering how to do it safely and successfully. 

In this blog, we’ll show you how to reduce your costs and maximise your time abroad in a way that suits YOU to a tee. Whether it’s trekking deserts, climbing mountains or biking ancient paths that tickles your pickle, here’s how you can really get down and dirty with nature on your own. 

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Should I travel solo? 5 reasons why you absolutely should

As you can imagine, we meet lots of lone travellers on our Bucket List trips, bringing them together with likeminded people who live and breathe the same thing: adventure.

They’ve all got their own reasons for going it alone, and you might be surprised to find out that they’re not all single either. Here are the most common reasons why people travel alone:

  1. You get a more authentic experience

Without kids, family or wise-cracking friends around, you can really give all your attention to the places you visit. When you’re travelling solo, you can truly immerse yourself in the culture every time you sit back quietly in a local café or pick up a quick bite to eat in the market.

  1. You meet amazing people

Not only can you give more of your attention to the local people in the places you visit, you’re far more likely to buddy up with some lovely likeminded folk who are travelling to the same places you are. Swap stories and get to know the people who love adventure just as much as you do and you’ll fast make friends for life! 

  1. You go at YOUR pace

When you travel alone, there’s no waiting around for your friends or family to get ready or to agree to the day’s itinerary. You simply get ready and go out to do the things you’ve always wanted to. When you’re in charge of your own schedule, you unlock a whole lot more freedom. 

  1. You learn who you are

Travelling alone isn’t just a fun challenge, it’s an opportunity to self-reflect and find out more about who you really are. When you throw off life’s familiarities and learn to rely on yourself, you’ll discover things that you never knew, like how resilient you are when you’re caught in a monsoon in India, or how much the endless starscapes of the great Sahara get you going!  

  1. You tick something off the Bucket List without distractions 

We find plenty of solo travellers have partners at home, and they’re simply ticking something off their Bucket List without the extra cost and hassle of dragging the entire family along!

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Planning a solo trip

If you’re planning your first trip abroad alone, you might be feeling a little daunted about getting things right and making sure you make the most of your money. 

Start by simply deciding where you want to go. Perhaps you’ve always had somewhere in mind, maybe you just know you want to get away alone – either way, it never hurts to look for some inspiration on our destinations page. If you’re after adventure, you’ll find it in spades there, and all over the world too. 

How much time have you got to play with? How far can you go? How much do you want to achieve? Work out the level of challenge you’re after (and use our handy trip challenge ratings to find the ideal adventure!). 

If you’re travelling entirely alone, it’s best to map out a rough itinerary before you go so you have something driving your journey and you don’t end up going away, doing nothing and then regretting it.

Using a group travel company like The Bucket List Company provides the structure (and reduces the cost) of ticking all those wonders off your Bucket List, while still giving you the independence that you crave. Don’t fancy the group meal tonight? Get your own. Fancy another couple of hours in the town before you head back to the hotel? No problem!

How to reduce the costs of solo travel: do I have to pay a single travel supplement? 

You might have come across hotels that charge a single supplement or noticed that one-to-one leaders cost more than group guides. The idea behind these higher fees is to compensate for the loss of income that could happen where a room’s occupied by one person rather than two (and obviously a tour guide can charge less per head if they’re selling more spaces!). 

You can avoid those higher fees completely by doing your independent travel abroad with a reputable group travel company. Our standard practice is for solo travellers of the same sex to pair up in a twin room to lower their cost (though you’ll usually have the option to pay a little extra if you’d rather have the room to yourself). 

Incredible friendships have been built this way! 

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How to travel alone safely

Safety is undoubtedly one of the biggest factors stopping people from travelling alone. But if you’re sensible and take your own safety seriously, you can stay perfectly safe while travelling independently. Here are our best tips for safe solo travel:

  • Don’t drink too much

Lots of people like a drink or two while they’re away, and there’s nothing wrong with that – as long as you don’t let your guard down. Don’t leave your drink unattended and don’t stay anywhere you feel uncomfortable and you can enjoy your evening out. 

  • Look after your stuff

Find a bag that can be securely fastened to your body and forget using anything you simply sling over one shoulder. Don’t give anyone a reason to target you either – that means keeping your valuables out of sight, keeping jewellery to a minimum and carrying your stuff in front of your body, not behind it. Always avoid carrying your travel documents wherever possible too, for peace of mind that you can keep moving even if anything does go wrong. 

  • Respect the culture

The last thing you want to do when you’re abroad is draw attention to yourself or cause any offence. So make sure you know how to dress and which words and gestures NOT to use before you arrive at your destination. 

  • Go with a group

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You’ll get all the thrill of solo adventure travel abroad plus you’ll do it more safely if you travel with a company that’s set up for groups. You’ll also benefit from experienced local guides, cheaper prices and you never have to walk anywhere alone if you don’t want to.

How to travel solo without feeling alone

Solo travellers love touring with the Bucket List Company because of our smaller average group sizes and the crazy things we get up to. 

Fancy diving deep into the Med with 11 other people just as madventurous as you are? 

Want to discover what it feels like to zipline across a terrifying gorge, summit Kilimanjaro or trek to Everest Base Camp? 

Our typical group sizes are around 12 people – enough to give you peace of mind and some comfort and security, but small enough too that you can do your trip your way and retain your independence. 

Click here to find out more about our destinations and do solo travel right with the Bucket List Company. Don’t let life pass you by.

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