13th January 2022
By Kate Sheppard – Travel and Parenting Writer
Loneliness isn’t just the prerogative of the elderly. Never has this been more apparent than during the Covid-19 pandemic, when thousands of people who live alone were isolated away from other people, unable to see anyone other than via a video screen and with no physical human interaction.
Even people in a family home may have felt lonely, not having their usual escape routes of dinner with friends, shopping trips or days at a match, and spending every day with the same small number of people, having the same conversations and routine.
Some people, especially singletons, may have relished the opportunity to reset and recharge, but are now craving some time away from their own four walls and to see the wider-world now that travel is (almost) back to normal.
Solo traveling has always been popular, but it is seeing a boost as lockdown restrictions have lifted and we’re able to plan trips for 2022.
Where should solo travelers go?
There are so many fantastic opportunities for solo travelers to discover, with weekend city breaks to sightsee some amazing places, eat amazing food, and meet amazing locals, a week laying on a beach somewhere warm and sunny or striking up a conversation at the pool, or a few days in the Dolomite Mountains, giving you the chance to unwind, get some fresh air and go walking with like-minded hikers.
Why not try a digital detox? Spend three days in a rustic cabin without access to your phone and other devices. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend the whole time alone, if you don’t want to. Chatting with other people who have experienced the same busy pandemic lifestyle of trying to homeschool at the same time as working full-time from home and making three meals a day may be quite cathartic.
What is the best choice of holiday for sociable singles?
Cruise holidays are perfect for solo travelers in 2022 of all ages looking for some friendly company as there are so many different activities with which you can join in, and facilities you can use, with the benefit of the solitude of your own cabin within easy walking distance.
Cruises can be luxurious or fun, and are absolutely what you make of them. From playing games on deck such as quoits, to aqua aerobics sessions in the pool, films in onboard cinemas, trying your luck in the casino, enjoying a show, or just relaxing in the cocktail bar, there is something for everyone and each activity provides plenty of opportunities to chat to your fellow travelers.
One of the big plus points for solo cruisers is that you are often allocated a table for your evening meal with 6-8 other diners, and this is your table every night. You can get to know your table mates and often make plans to join them for other activities, or on daily excursions or just to meet up when on shore.
How should I plan my trip?
Whatever you want from your solo trip, planning it all yourself down to the most minute detail, knowing you only have yourself to please, or going with the flow and seeing who you get talking to and where that takes you, travel agents are beginning to recognize that single-person holidays are a growing market.
Claire Brighton, account director for the Association of Touring & Adventure Suppliers (Atas), said on Travel Weekly that agents had an important role to play – and that proactively targeting potential customers was likely to prove key in the coming months.
“I think the thing with solo travelers is, they might not necessarily go to a travel agent automatically. So, I think really go out and look for solo travelers. Use your database market in your local community, and use those special interest groups,” she said.
“And don’t treat solo customers with a kind of a pitying expression because they’re choosing to travel solo – they’re not sad about it!”
That last point is pertinent, especially now. Most people just want to get away from their own homes for a while, after almost two years of uncertainty around travel and spending a year locked down and confined to our homes. Solo travelers are no different, and one of the main benefits of travel is experiencing new places and meeting new people.
Whether they are locals who take it upon themselves to show you around their part of the world or fellow tourists, they each bring a new perspective – something which has been lacking from many people’s lives.
Get out there, have fun, and who knows who you will meet along the way?