Having passed the middle mark of January, our new years resolutions should be in full swing. But what if yours was to travel more? Taking that first step towards your first single traveller experience can be one of the most daunting experiences you can face when looking for a new adventure. You may not speak the language, may not be used to the surroundings and what if you get lonely?
Our Single Traveller tours are made to put you at ease and allow you to experience the best of Europe exploring excellent itineraries with other solo travellers and all whilst taking advantage of our no single supplement offer. Natalie Smith took the step and hasn’t looked back since. Conquering more than just the fear of heading off alone, here is her account of how she became a solo travel convert.
January 1st 2013: New Years Resolution – Become a ‘Yes’ person. This might seem like a pretty easy goal to achieve, except that I was painfully shy at the time. One thing I’d always wanted to do is travel – the only problem was that I didn’t want to go on the same places that all my friends fancied. And there you have it…the perfect opportunity to put my resolution into practice and go it alone.
A couple of weeks later I had found and booked the perfect starter trip, a week-long cruise around the Mediterranean on a ship that has specific accommodation and bars for solo travellers – Norwegian Epic. The hardest part is finding the courage to jump but once you go for it you will find that you are soon flying and that there was absolutely nothing to worry about – I now wonder why it took me so long to go for it!. The itinerary for the week was great too, on all but one of the days we would be in different ports so there was plenty to keep me occupied.
The day arrived when I set off on my new venture. I felt so ill with nerves and anxiety – I had never even caught a flight on my own before let alone spent a whole holiday by myself! What if I miss the call for my flight? How will I know which coach to get on once I arrive in Rome? How will I find my way around the dock to board the ship? Well, I am pleased to report that everything went smoothly and before I knew it I had checked onto the ship and was sipping cocktails with my fellow passengers, looking forward to the coming week.
From that moment on I knew I had made a great choice. We spent the days exploring various ports and the evenings catching up with each other’s daily activity. I was hooked, travelling became my new hobby and I had a new found confidence. Even at home it was commented on that I had become a more outgoing, chatty person and I felt taller when I walked. I now consider myself a dab-hand in the art of solo travel and I miss it when I’m not away.
Even now, I still prefer tours with a busy itinerary. Last year I went on the ‘Austrian Lakes, Salzburg & Vienna’ trip which is one of Leger’s ‘No or Low Solo Occupancy’ tours. This trip is perfect for a first time soloist as it was 5 full days of exploratioin (taking out the travelling). One day we visited no less than 4 lakeside towns. Severeal of my fellow travellers had already been to some of the places that we visited and I was able to get some great tips. I was also able to discover some hidden treasures that weren’t in the guidebooks thanks to the knowledge and personal experiences of my drivers.
This year will be quite a busy one for me as I will be heading out on Leger’s ‘French Riviera’, ‘Picturebook Italy’ & ‘Prague, Vienna & Budapest’ tours – all of which have come to me as recommendations from fellow passengers and drivers.
I now mainly travel solo as it is so liberating and I have been to some awesome places and met some truly lovely people! It has also boosted my confidence no end. I can’t recommend it enough!Â And for a recommendation from me to you: Simply, go for it! You will never know how good something can be if it never gets given the chance to happen!
Here are some of Natalie’s tips when it comes to travelling abroad by yourself:
- Safety – priority number 1! The same rules apply as in general – keep your belongings hidden and safe, stick to the busy areas and make sure any services you use such as taxis, restaurants etc. are trustworthy. Also – avoid telling anybody that you are alone – you could create a fictional friend whom you are meeting later if you need to.
- Expense – Solo holidays can be more expensive due to the dreaded ‘Solo Occupancy’ charges placed on hotel rooms. However, the rise in the popularity of solo trips has forced travel companies and hotels to look at these costs and many now offer trips with low or no solo rates.
- Boredom – A whole week alone can seem daunting but if you pick a trip with a packed itinerary you will not find the time to be bored. I also prefer to travel on a trip that has evening meals included, that way you will be able to eat with others and you can swap information about the days activities and also tips for the coming days.