As the number one trend in 2019, it's no surprise that solo travel is making waves into the new year. There is something undeniably appealing about skipping fossil hunting with your Dad, or yet another boozy boat party with friends and taking some time for yourself. With one in six of us deciding to adventure alone, solo travel is no longer reserved for the intrepid backpacker or solitary diner.
Daunted by the fear of being lonely on your travels? If this sounds like you, read on for our top tips on flying solo...
We'd recommend booking a walking tour near the beginning of your trip; this will help you get your bearings and take the pressure off the start of your journey when expectations are sky-high. Let a tour guide do the hard work while you take in the sights. Meet like-minded travellers, explore off the beaten track and banish loneliness into the wilderness. Tour guides are excellent sources of local knowledge and can provide recommendations for the rest of your journey.
Are you half-way through your travels and feeling lost? Treat yourself to a spa day, a fancy cocktail or just that giant bar of chocolate that reminds you of home. In many countries, these little treats are easy to find and relatively inexpensive. Even a small slice of luxury will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to go.
It may seem obvious, but one of the best ways to beat boredom is to get outdoors and discover new places. One of the biggest advantages of solo travelling is the freedom to make your own decisions. So what are you waiting for? Research the top landmarks, plan your route and dedicate time to those must-see destinations.
Have you always wanted to bungee jump? Now's your chance to do something unexpected. Whether you take a zipline through the rainforest or snorkel with tropical marine life, removing yourself from your comfort zone is a sure-fire way to beat boredom and get the adrenaline pumping. If you're lucky, you'll find a new passion; if it turns out swinging from canyons isn't for you, at least you'll have an exciting story to share at the next pub quiz!
Evenings can be challenging for solo travellers. With many of the main attractions closing and large groups taking over restaurants, it is easy to succumb to the travel blues. Plan accordingly - look for evening activities, book tickets to shows and community events. Often you haven't truly experienced local culture until after the sun goes down. However, if you're flagging after a long day on your feet, sit back and binge-watch the latest Netflix series, guilt-free. After all, it's your holiday!
Make yourself approachable, allow time for spontaneity, and you will make friends all over the world. From the local-shop owner to the waitress at your favourite riverside restaurant, there will be plenty of opportunities to meet new people. Strike up a conversation with other travellers on a group tour, at a hostel party or connect through social travel apps. It's hard to predict, but you'll make friends when you least expect it. We advise first-time solo travellers to stay in a hostel or Airbnb at least once.
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No matter who you are or where you go, there is always something to learn. Embrace the intricacies of local culture and join a cooking class, or salsa long into the night. The sense of reward that comes with perfecting a new skill is guaranteed to make you feel good. Plus, you'll connect with others through a shared experience.
Nomadic Matt says: "Travelling alone doesn't mean you will be alone. Take it from this introvert: you'll meet more people than you'll know what to do with."
Leyla says: "Getting back to nature can centre you. It's hard to be miserable when surrounded by astonishing beauty."
Have you got any top tips we missed? Tweet @icelollyholiday and let us know how you beat feeling lonely when travelling solo!