10 tips for solo travellers

Despite its growing popularity, travelling alone can be daunting. Jane Archer’s tried-and-tested advice helps agents to put would-be travellers’ fears to rest

1. The last resort
Unless you are writing a book, checking into a hotel alone can be soul‑destroying. Other guests come and go, making it hard to form a connection. Opt instead for a cruise or coach tour as everyone will
be in the same boat – or vehicle – for the duration of the holiday.

2. Prop up the bar
I’m not suggesting that solo travellers become alcoholics, but it’s a good place to strike up conversations as guests come up to order their drinks. As often as not, someone will invite you to join them. If they don’t, you can get all the local gossip from the barman.

3. Inclusive is best
Holidays that include drinks in the price might be more expensive but if you are travelling alone, it’s much easier to mix and mingle with strangers if you don’t have to worry about who is buying the next round.

4. Put yourself out there
In the nicest way possible of course. Joining activities such as book clubs, aerobics or yoga classes is a good way to meet people and you’ll all have something in common – even
if it is only discovering how unfit you are!

5. Size does matter…
The small ocean and river cruise ships are ideal for solo travellers as you see the same people every day. Fred Olsen Cruise Lines and over-50s specialist Saga Cruises hold
get-togethers for singles at the start of the holiday to help break the ice.

6. …except when it doesn’t Norwegian Cruise Line’s ships are big but solo-friendly as drinks are included in the fare and the studio cabins on Norwegian Epic, Breakaway, Getaway, Escape and Bliss are exclusively for those sailing alone and come with access to a lounge where singles can meet up.

7. Bunk up with a stranger This may sound a bit off the wall, but it is a good way for both parties to avoid paying a single supplement. If you can’t find a willing friend before you set off, G Adventures pairs same-sex single travellers in twin accommodation. The tour operator Explore does the same on singles‑only holidays.

8. Musical chairs
A set seating plan at mealtimes takes the worry out of who to sit with but it can be dull being stuck with the same people every day. It’s more fun to be a social butterfly and flit between tables so you meet new folk.

9. Pack a book
A tad old‑fashioned it’s true, but at a buffet a book can be indispensable. Leave it at the table to save your place and let the waiters know you haven’t left. A mobile phone or handbag left lying around will not go down so well with your travel insurance company!

10. Follow your passion
A special-interest holiday is a great way to meet folk with similar likes. Think of what appeals and there’ll be a holiday to suit. To get you started, how about cycling in Cuba with Explore, wine-tasting on
the Rhine with AmaWaterways, tuning into Mozart and Strauss on the Danube with Tauck and roaming through ancient history with Voyages to Antiquity.

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