Guided Solo Travel: One is Fun…and Easily Done
Solo travelers make up more than 30% of the guests who vacation with Classic Journeys. Just wrap your head around that statistic. In other words, you’re not alone if you’ve contemplated taking a solo vacation as the proverbial “party of one.” You’re part of a bona fide trend. Sometimes, one is the happiest number.
After all, why should you give up on a bucket-list dream just because you’re the only person you know who’s interested in Iceland in December? (It’s amazing by the way, and you won’t be sorry.) Should you stay at home just because you don’t have a travel companion with the time and inclination to keep you company while you swim with penguins in the Galápagos?
For more than two decades, we‘ve had the pleasure of exploring with thousands of single travelers. If there’s one thing they’ve taught us it is that solo travel isn’t about a search for solitude or the chance to commiserate on a singles-only excursion. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Solo travelers tell us the biggest advantage of a small-group trip like those with Classic Journeys is the opportunity to explore, compare notes and form bonds with like-minded travelers. As one guest recently told us, “My sister just wasn’t into an active vacation in Costa Rica. Don’t tell her, but I’m glad she didn’t come along. She would have freaked out if she’d been there to see me strap into the zipline harness. But the friends I made on tour knew I was dying to do it, so they urged me to go for it. I’m so glad I did. It was a blast.”
Old-school DIY solo travel – just you and your guide book in a “quaint” Airbnb apartment – can be romantic. Yet having so much liberty can also be a liability if you don’t speak the language, don’t have local connections or don’t like to eat every meal alone. Cindy, a teacher from Chicago, who’s now joined us on six trips is quick to recall the personal one-on-one experiences she’s had that wouldn’t have happened if she’d arrived unannounced, all by herself. “One of my favorites occurred in Peru when I had the coolest engagement with some Quechua children in a remote mountain village school. Our guide provided the introductions and translation. I learned later than he jokingly told them to behave because I had been a tough teacher in the States. I honestly had tears of joy after this moving experience.”
Cindy also proves the point that traveling solo doesn’t prevent you from sharing the moments you have. She’s an accomplished blogger who posts her photos and observations for friends and family. In addition to your fellow explorers, you also have the company of your local guides, who are sensitive to how you want your vacation to go. If you’d like alone time, they’ll see to it, but they also introduce you to their own friends (and sometimes even their families) so that you always feel connected.
“When I decided to go to China and my husband’s schedule was too intense for him to get away, I wasn’t comfortable doing it on my own,” Carolyn S. remembers. “This was a big step for me, but it made me a lifelong fan of Classic Journeys.” Since then, she’s also traveled solo with us in Turkey and four other destinations.
One huge practical advantage of traveling solo with Classic Journeys happens when you check into your hotels where you get a “double for single occupancy” room. When you’re totally on your own or with other travel companies, reserving a room for one can often land you in a single bed in the former servants’ quarters. The Classic Journeys policy ensconces you in quarters as spacious as everyone else’s. “My ‘room’ in Tibet was a 2-story converted farmhouse with its own courtyard,” Carolyn remembers. “It was the best place I’ve ever stayed.”
If there is a lesson in all of this, it’s that the only thing you have to fear when it comes to solo travel is not giving it a try. “I have one lifetime to see all of the places I want to see,” one guest told us. “When Classic Journeys makes it so easy and natural for me to travel on my own, I can’t imagine why I’d ever stay at home.”