Is there such a thing as a typical traveler? Not anymore. Travelers run the gamut in age, interests, preferences, likes and dislikes. For couples, families and solo travelers alike, travel preferences have never been so diverse. Nor has the world of travel been so accessible and appealing. And, if you’re thinking about traversing the world as a solo traveler, there’s never been a better time to go.
“In addition to seeing and experiencing different cultures, foods and traditions, when you explore the world, you also discover new things about yourself,” says Scott Nisbet, president and CEO of the Globus family of brands. “And that fact couldn't be more true when traveling on your own.”
Traveling alone can be nerve-racking at first, but it can be equally exhilarating. Solo travel is about setting your own terms and pleasing no one but yourself. It doesn’t just push you beyond your comfort zone, it gives you carte blanche to indulge your interests and passions and get to know yourself in new and exciting ways.
Perhaps that’s why more solo travelers than ever before are venturing off on their own. In fact, according to Cosmos - an international tour company - 11 percent of Americans travel solo each year, including 9 million women.
“Discovering the world can become a much deeper experience when traveling alone. Especially if your trip is well-planned,” Nisbet says. “One of the best ways for solo travelers to see the world is going on an escorted tour with a company like Cosmos.”
An escorted tour ensures all the logistics and details are taken care of for travelers so they can experience the “best” parts of a destination while letting someone else be in charge.
And when you’re traveling solo, an escorted tour ensures you’re never really alone. Expert guides are there with you, securing the right accommodations for the best price and transportation from place to place. They’re also there to help you prioritize your schedule, seeing the must-see sites first while also leaving you plenty of time to wander and discover each destination on your own. Even better? An escorted tour allows solo travelers the chance to keep the door open to meet a few like-minded travelers and friends on a journey of discovery.
Whether you’re traveling on a tour or on your own, here are solo traveler-friendly tips from Cosmos:
1. Start smart. Before you decide where to go, consider perusing guidebooks and conducting online research to get a feel for the people, culture, sites and excursions you’re bound to experience. There are even guidebooks geared toward single travelers.
2. Choose a solo-friendly destination. In general, Europe is the top destination for solo travelers. English-speaking countries such as Ireland, Britain, New Zealand and Australia are great choices.
3. Think about safety first. You might be worried about standing out as a solo traveler, but the reality is that you can blend in more easily than a group when you’re on your own. You can also avoid being identified as a tourist. You should, however, always remain alert while carrying an ID and keeping valuables away from prying eyes.
4. Look for single-supplement deals. What is a single supplement? While most hotels charge a room rate, travel package providers (tour operators, cruise lines, etc.) charge per person, and a single supplement is a common charge for travelers requesting solo accommodations (it is the amount typically charged for two travelers per room).
There are two ways to avoid this charge: 1) Ask for a single room. Sometimes a small inventory of single rooms is available, but they book fast. 2) Look for a special offer. Some travel providers offer limited-time deals, waiving the single supplement, or “room share” programs.
5. Enjoy the ride. You get to make your trip all about you. Take advantage of that fact and do as the locals do. Talk to strangers and eat well.
For more information about traveling solo, download Cosmos’ Solo Traveler Guide at www.solotravelingguide.com.