You’ve found yourself on this page, which can only mean one thing. You’re thinking about booking a solo travel adventure. And we’re excited for you! Whether you’re a complete adventure novice or already a seasoned explorer, we highly recommend using this guide as your travel bible while planning your trip-of-a-lifetime. (You can thank us later.)
An introduction to solo travel
Before we get properly stuck into the nitty gritty that comes with planning a solo holiday, let’s cover some commonly asked questions. Experienced explorers, you guys can skip straight to the next section.
What is a solo travel adventure?
Trust us when we say that a solo travel adventure is the best thing you’ll ever try. It’s the perfect antidote for anyone who’s tired of going on the same-old-predictable holiday as everybody else.
Instead, imagine true adventures out in nature; the kind that take you down totally unexpected paths. In places no one on Instagram has discovered yet. With exhilarating adventure activities that can take you out of your comfort zone. A chance to enjoy a rare digital detox. And find new cultures to completely immerse yourself in with the chance to give back to the community.
Whether you’re single or not, we think a ‘just you’ holiday without the comforts and convenience of everyday life should really be on everyone’s bucket list! Because in an era where we’re connected to our phones and friends 24/7, isn’t it amazing to switch off and experience a touch of the unknown every now and then?
What makes solo travel adventures different to ordinary singles holidays?
Gap yahs, step aside. This kind of singles holiday is about so much more than getting drunk on cheap beer in crowded beach bars. That’s not our idea of fun.
Think of this kinda trip like the gap year’s cooler older sibling. You’ll connect with people from all walks of life through a love of adventure, our natural world and shared achievement. Can you think of a better way to maximise every minute of your precious holiday days? Because we can’t.
Why are solo outdoor adventures better than solo city breaks?
Don’t get us wrong, there’s a time and a place for the humble city break. Who doesn’t love cafe hopping and culture-vulturing? But if you want to get out in the open – hiking, biking, kayaking, exploring the corners of the world – a solo travel adventure is for you!
Want to really learn some new things about yourself and the world around you? We’re big believers that by putting yourself into unfamiliar situations that stretch your way of thinking and push your physical ability you can do exactly that. And embarking on an out-of-city adventure will be more rewarding than you could ever imagine. Just you see.
Worried about being lonely?
Don’t let that hold you back! You won’t be the only solo traveller. Fact. And although it sounds cliche, it’s really easy to make friends along the way. It’s surprisingly easy to bond with people on adventure holidays because you’ll spend day-after-day together, supporting each other through physical challenges, learning from each other and experiencing things together for the first time. There’s nothing like a sense of team achievement to create long-lasting friendships!
But what if you’re travelling solo completely (rather than part of a solo-travellers group)? The same applies! Just keep your plans as loose as possible because some of the best adventures are the ones you hadn’t planned in your itinerary but a new friend suggests.
And remember, one of the greatest things about solo travel is that if you don’t want to do something, you don’t have to! You can have as much (or as little) alone time as you want.
There’s no one else you need to please, but you. How often in life can you really be that selfish, eh? Embrace it.
Where to go on your solo adventure travels?
It can be hard to put a pin in the map when you’re happy to go wherever the wind takes you. But finding your dream adventure holiday doesn’t have to be hard. Just think about where you want to be with no one to hold you back. Whether this is your first rodeo or not, follow our tips below and choosing your travel destination will become a surprisingly easy task!
How to choose a destination?
The world is a big place. So whatever you do – don’t book anything until you’ve seen these 10 life-changing destinations to visit solo in 2020! Then…
1. Start by thinking about what sort of adventure you want
Do you want an expedition that’s going to push your boundaries day-in-day-out? Or would a few hours a day (with plenty of ‘you time’) be enough to quench your thirst for adventure? While it’s fun to push your physical ability, just be mindful of what would be a good challenge and what would actually be too hard for you to handle.
2. Think about the landscape you’d like to explore
Are you a lover of the ocean? Or are rivers and fjords more your vibe? Do you feel most peaceful at the summit of a mountain? In the depths of a jungle? Getting lost in a forest? Or maybe you’ve never been to the middle of a desert and fancy exploring a new playground? Figure this out first. Then use that insight to narrow down your list of countries.
3. Write down what you’d like to learn
If you’re still finding it hard to choose just one travel destination, writing down what you’d like to learn on your solo travel can be really helpful. This could be absolutely anything. Some people are desperate to learn about a new culture. Others want to really test their physical ability and find out what their body is capable of. Maybe you want to tick an activity off your bucket list, like coasteering, hiking the highest mountain in the British Isles, whale watching or volunteering at a beach clean up. It doesn’t matter how big or small your goal is – just write it down. Then get researching to find the places you can achieve this dream.
4. Don’t forget to think about the time of year!
Wanting to cycle through Sri Lanka? You obviously won’t want to go in the rainy season, for example. So if you’ve got time booked off work already, do your research ASAP to find out which travel destinations have the right kind of weather for your dates.
5. Be realistic with how long you have off
If you’ve only got a long weekend to play with, keep your adventure holiday close to home. There are tonnes of exceptional experiences in nature across the UK and Europe that’ll leave you with a real sense of achievement when you head home. How many people do you know who come back to work on Monday morning after wild camping, kayaking and coasteering in West Wales for example?
But if you’ve got one or two weeks to play with, you can look at travel destinations further afield. Perhaps the thought of a walking safari in Kenya or camel trekking in Oman are getting you excited? The world’s your oyster. Literally.
6. Know your budget
It’s so easy to make solo travel work for any budget.
Need to keep things cheap and cheerful? Some of the best destinations for solo travel are just a train ride away. And camping is a great way to make your trip feel more adventurous and authentic while keeping costs down.
Fancy splurging on something more luxe? We get you. After a day of extreme adventure, it’s hard to beat coming home to a big, comfortable bed. You could even get IGO Adventures to plan your daily activities and book your accommodation – all you have to do is turn up and enjoy.
How to get the most out of your weekend trip?
We know how precious your weekends are. So we’ll let you into a little secret… You’ll need to choose a clever destination that has lots to offer and do some very clever time planning.
Location wise, stick to the UK and Europe so you only spend a few hours travelling solo. Then you’ll have almost two full days to fill. And people to meet! Check out some of the best places for a solo weekend getaway here.
Coastlines are perfect destinations for solo weekends away as they have lots on their doorstep. With everything from invigorating morning swims and surfs to coasteering, kayaking, clifftop viewpoints and beach clean ups on offer – you won’t believe how much you can cram into your time. And another perk of coastal destinations is that they almost always have decent camping sites nearby!
Once you know your location, plan your time wisely. Friday night, you’ll probably just want to get your bearings, eat dinner and crash. So set your alarm early for Saturday and squeeze an activity in before breakfast to really make a change from your usual routine. We recommend fitting three or four little adventure activities in before lunch (or one big one), then having a few hours to rest and exploring some more before dinner. Leave your evening plans loose so you can hang out with any new friends (or hit the hay if you’re knackered). On Sunday, start the morning early again so you can fit in as much as possible before check-out.
Worried about travelling solo as a woman? Find out why you shouldn’t be with our guide for solo female travellers. Or put your mind at ease with an organised weekend adventure, like this.
What makes a destination right for a week-long stay?
With a week-long stay, you’ve got a lot of time on your hands. So think about destinations that have lots of different landscapes you can cover. This will mean you get to experience a real mix of things on your travels for a really fulfilling adventure. For example Chile has everything from rivers to white-water raft, national parks to mountain bike, volcanoes to hike, hot springs to dip into, seascape to kayak and glaciers to traverse. Just imagine what you could learn there in a week.
Find your dream solo travel destination with our helpful guides below.
What to do on a solo adventure?
You’ve got the time booked off and your destination decided. So now what?
What adventure activities should you try?
Any you bloody want! You’ve got no one else to worry about but yourself. So make sure you use your ‘just-you’ holiday to tick some things off your bucket list. Maybe you’ve always wanted to do a walking holiday but no one you know wants to join you. Now’s your chance. Discover the best single’s walking holidays and finally give hiking, fell walking, desert trekking (and more) a go. Or if you’re more of a water baby, why not dip your toes into a little kayaking, paddle boarding or scuba diving?
How to get the most out of your trip?
For a truly immersive experience in nature, combine the adventure activities you’ve planned with camping. After a day of exploring the great outdoors with nothing but a backpack, setting up your tent, wild cooking and stargazing feels like the most blissful way to disconnect from the ‘real world’.
Another way you can get the most out of your trip is by immersing yourself into a new community. Homestays are a great way to learn from and live like the locals. You’ll feel a million miles from home. And if you like giving back on your travels, think about helping out with manual work, like farming.
How to take care of nature when travelling solo?
Whether you’re travelling solo or not – this is a biggie for all of us. And the good news is that giving back can be one of your adventure activities. Some of our favourite ways to look after the beautiful places we visit include beach clean ups, replanting trees in forests, volunteering at animal sanctuaries, helping to monitor whale migration and – when camping – leaving the site as we found it (if not better). If we all dedicated just a few hours of every trip to giving back, just think what a massive impact this would have on the world.
What’s the value of trying something new?
Going out of your comfort zone (in a safe environment) is one of the best and most-rewarding feelings you’ll ever experience.
Travelling solo for the first time can teach you how to disconnect from everyday stresses. If it’s something you’ve been plucking up the courage to do for ages then think how great you’ll feel when you go ahead and do it anyway.
Completing a physical challenge you never dreamt of doing can really give you a new sense of perspective and self. The adventure itself may last a few days, but the feelings of pride and accomplishment will stay with you forever. In fact, when you get home you’ll feel like you can take on anything!
How can a group help you to get more out of your trip?
You want to travel solo, right? So why should you book onto a group trip? Going into the wild with complete strangers from all parts of the world can be a really refreshing way to broaden your horizons. You’ll develop a camaraderie that will help push you through challenging adventure activities, you’ll try new things you might not otherwise consider and you’ll learn about their different cultures.
Should you find a travel companion or book onto a group?
Still not sure about travelling alone completely? This section is for you.
What is a travel companion?
Put simply, it’s one other person for you to travel with.
Why would you have one?
People choose travel buddies for all sorts of reasons. Having a travel companion is a great way to ease into adventure holidays if you’re a little nervous travelling solo or if you just want to share the experience. But also, if you’re planning an extreme adventure holiday, having a travel companion for safety reasons is a really good idea.
How can you find a travel partner?
Some people choose close friends, others choose people they barely know or just met!
What are the benefits of travelling as part of a group?
If you and your travel buddy are booking your trip independently, there’s a lot of planning for you to do. If this is you, you might want to read these tips on how to make singles travel truly unique.
But if you travel as part of a group, you don’t have to worry about any planning. Travel groups will plan your daily activities, your rest breaks, your accommodation, your meals. You’ll have experts at hand to guide the group safely and teach you about things you might miss if you were exploring alone. In a nutshell, you can spend more time doing. Keep reading to discover 5 surprising reasons solo travellers love taking group tours and helpful insights from travellers who’ve tried-and-tested group trips and travel companions.
How can you find travel-group tours to join?
If you’re travelling by yourself or with a travel partner, it’s easy to book onto a group tour. If you don’t want to commit your full trip to a group, you could book onto a long weekend and get the best of both worlds.
What to pack for your travels?
Your adventure holiday will be like nothing you’ve done before. So your packing list will be a little different to usual, too.
How to stay safe when travelling solo?
Whether you’re a male or female solo traveller, a little common sense goes a long way.
Who you should tell before you go?
Tell someone exactly where you’re going, what you’re planning and when you’re coming back. While you might not want to have your phone on all the time, check in with them every now and again so they know you are ok.
The same goes before you start an adventure activity by yourself. If you’re going for a hike alone, always let someone know and give them a rough idea of how long you think you’ll be so that if you get into any trouble someone knows how to find you quickly.