Five hacks for owning solo travel in 2018


Thanks to enough soloists venturing out into the world, a whole community has emerged forming a new travel market. It's part pf a trend that sees millennials wanting more adventure than leisure, going off the beaten track instead of hitting tourist hotspots and authentic eating experiences.

And solo travel has become a key trend and topic in the tourism industry as it continues to grow each year.

Whether you’re a seasoned solo traveller or are considering a spontaneous trip alone for the very first time, travel agency, ASATA (Association Of Southern African Travel Agents) has compiled a list of five hacks for owning your next trip this year. 

Go for a guided tour

When it comes to guided holidays some travel singletons still conjure up an image of buses bundled with tourists snapping photos with their selfie sticks, then rushing off to the next attraction, but this isn't the case anymore. 

A guided experience can be like a long awaited gift for solos, all wrapped up in a little red bow - as long as it is through the right company, says Theresa Szejwallo, MD of Trafalgar South Africa. 

Read more: 3 countries you can visit on your own

“Guided-holidays attract like-minded travel souls and form a platform for solos to meet and connect while doing the things that they enjoy.

"Think immersive activities led by local insiders and access to skip-the queue benefits at top attractions and museums. First-timers can dip their toes into solo travel without needing to worry about getting lost or lonely,” she added. 

And if this is what comes to mind when thinking of a guided tour – fear not – it's nothing like it.

Airbnb offers a variety of tours and experiences depending on where you're headed.

Join a travel group online

Get active within the solo traveller community before you even start booking. There’s no better source for relevant information on your chosen destinations than asking your peers who have actually been there.

There are plenty online groups on Facebook that you can join to get immediate access to current threads and discussions on flight and tour discounts around the world. Check out Girls LOVE travel – a Facebook group of active and aspiring female travellers whose aim it is to provide resources and empowerment to one another. 

Along with these online communities, start reading up and following travel blogs of your fellow solos who have just been to the places you are dreaming of.

Reach out and ask them questions, or if you’re looking for destination ideas, find some instant #solotraveller inspiration on platforms such as Instagram or Pinterest. 

Jared in Cape Town (below) is a solo traveller who explores different countries, cultures and food every month!

Brooke Saward from worldwanderlust and Glo from glographics are also two female solo travellers whose Instagram feeds give us the ultimate travel-envy.

Set aside money for emergencies

Always over-budget on your expenses before you depart on your trip.

This is an important morsel of information for solo travellers who won't have a partner, bestie or parent to rely on if something comes up.

Unforeseen circumstances can range from missed flights and transfers, extreme medical emergencies, to simply having to pay an unexpected R1 000 extra just to get your luggage back home.

Better yet, invest in travel insurance that offers adequate cover. Consider spending the small amount it takes to protect your full trip’s investment - you never know.

Certain travel insurance providers can also help with an emergency cash advance for stranded solos who might have lost their cards or worse, had them stolen. 

Check out Old Mutual and FNB's travel insurance options. Old Mutual offers three different packages (leisure, business, and senior) while FNB offers upto R10 million cover for medical expenses.

ALWAYS be prepared for unfortunate events.

Schedule rest stops

An advantage of going solo means that you are not bound to the plans of an entire group, friend or partner who might not want to do the same things that you want to do.

You can move at your own pace and choose an itinerary that appeals to your personal interests.

Being on your own means you are agile enough to move quickly, ticking off multiple attractions in one day, often multiple cities in one week. What is important though, is to conserve your energy.

The reality is that you will be spending quite a bit of time on your own, especially in between travel destinations and it can take its toll.

Take a night off here and there to rest and recharge your batteries. Don't feel bad about spending a little extra on a comfortable hotel with a king-size, cable TV and room service if you need to. 

Opt for all-inclusive experiences 

It’s likely that you’ll be running on your own source of funds while you head out into the world as a one-man, or one-woman band. Many solos, especially millennials often have a minimal budget that they have to milk for all its worth, even just to go one day further. 

Read more: I did 3 new things this holiday that cost almost nothing – and it filled me with absolute joy

Solo travellers are incredibly independent, they can book entire trips on their own, from accommodation to attraction tickets, transfers and flights online, says Jane Davidson, Director of Development Promotions.

“However, by going online you are not always going to get the best product or price and meet your expectations. Sourcing a holiday package locally from an operator or agent means that you can get the best price and holiday experience most suited to you.

"If you had to do a line by line comparison, all-inclusive travel packages often work out cheaper, especially overland expeditions and cruises.

"It’s all there in one fell swoop, no time wasted browsing hundreds of online platforms and no hidden costs lurking in the background,” she added. 


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