So you've plucked up the courage to travel solo, but don't know where to go. From hiking trails in the Himalayas to snorkelling in the Komodo Islands, these are the perfect places for lone travellers...
Mobile participation safaris are becoming more common in Botswana. They are a neat way for solo travellers to keep down the cost; also, the sense of everyone pitching in, doing the washing up, putting up tents and packing up the gear together is liberating and bonding. It helps create a real sense of camaraderie in the group, as you wind through the wildlife-packed waters of the Okavango Delta or spot the Big Five in the national parks of Moremi and Chobe.
Flat Danish roads and ample cycle paths (390km, no less) make peddling out of Copenhagen, island-hopping past coastal forts and whizzing past shifting sands a delight. Cycling tours are common here, or just hook up with a hospitality exchange network such as Warmshowers.org (which caters solely for cyclists) to stay with friendly locals while picking up some tips and advice along the way.
Hiking trails are great places to find friendly faces at the end of each day. Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit, for example, can take around three weeks or be done in easy sections, but it’s the inclusive vibe along the way that makes it ideal for solo travellers. Whether you go with a group or hire a porter, you’ll find teahouses bustling with trekkers all swapping stories, while homestays guarantee a cheery welcome.
Active escapes often mean you have a ready-made community to dip in and out of. On the outskirts of Komodo National Park, scuba-diving classes or snorkelling trips are a good way to gain either a new skill or explore the coral triangle in the company of those in the know. Together with visits to see the park’s eponymous lizards – a true hissing, breathing dinosaur – it’s Bali without the crowds.
Make it easy on yourself. Central America’s Belize is not only one of the few English-speaking countries in this neck of the woods, its comparatively petite size makes it pretty easy to squeeze in a lot of the sites in one go, from the great jungle-swamped Maya temples of Lamanai and Caracol to the largest barrier reef outside Australasia. A trip here can help build your confidence before exploring neighbouring Guatemala, too.
Few destinations cater to the last-minute whims of solo travellers quite like New Zealand. Feel like walking an epic trail? Go do it – it’s much easier to get a last-minute hut or camping space on its famous walks if you’re on your own. Want to hurl yourself off a cliff? Practically every rock has a bungee cord attached. Or maybe you want to paddle to an active volcano or cycle an old railroad? Sorted. It’s the perfect solo escape.
Tucan Travel have been helping solo travellers on their adventures for over 31 years. Here, Operations Executive, Emma Nelson gives her top tips on how to ensure your journey on your own becomes the experience of a lifetime...
Don’t be afraid. Travelling is all about new experiences, so be brave and do things you may not normally do. For instance, stay in a family-run casa particular in Cuba and practise your Spanish; or in Oaxaca, Mexico, you could sample the local grasshoppers at the Benito Juarez Market.
It’s always a good idea to read up on your destination before you go, whether that means poring over Wanderlust or learning a few words of the local language. Customs and traditions vary all over the world, so it’s good to be prepared. Solo travellers should seek out safety advice – such as which are the more risky areas, etc – and should also research any extra costs such as single supplements.
Whether relaxing in a Moroccan hammam or taking a hike through Torres del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia, make sure you use some time to reflect and relax. Leave your stresses at the airport and use your travelling time to just ‘be you’.
Going solo doesn’t have to mean that you’re all on your own. A group tour is a great way to make new friends as well as giving you the chance to explore new – and off-the-beaten track – destinations with an expert guide leading the way. Tucan Travel’s tours in Colombia visit the ruins of Tierradentro, which are very hard to get to without a car – going with a group means you can explore remote destinations with ease.
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