More people are traveling alone than ever before. Here’s how to have the time of your life.
According to Roy Morgan Research, around 12,642,000 Aussies took at least one holiday in the 12 months leading up to March 2014. Of those who specified who they traveled with, 16 per cent said they went by themselves, which is up from 12 per cent a decade ago.
The research also shows that the vast majority of travelers, 80 per cent, took their last holiday in Australia. New South Wales is the most popular state overall for solo domestic holidays, but it has lost considerable ground (31 per cent to 24 per cent), as more male solo travelers visit Queensland and their female counterparts head to Victoria.
Here are three tips to turn you into the perfect solo traveler.
Safety over sightseeing
When you’re traveling solo sometimes it doesn’t seem like such a bad idea to take a quick walk at night and/or befriend strangers. But hey, those kids from Wolf Creek thought it was a good idea to follow Mick Taylor while on their holiday adventure, and that didn’t turn out so well. Without a companion to watch your back, you are more vulnerable to criminals and scam artists, as well as simple health worries.But if you’ve got your thinking cap on and are prepared, you’ll be OK.
Know how long it takes and how much it costs to get from the airport to your hotel or to the city center. Solo travelers are more likely to be “taken for a ride,” so ask the taxi driver how much it will cost before you leave. If it’s considerably different from what you know to be true, take a different cab. Find out if hotels at your destination are open late, so you don’t end up sleeping in your car or worse. Carry good identification, in more than one place and keep to open and public places, especially at night. It’s also important to exude confidence and walk purposefully.
Don’t fall victim to the single supplement
Solo globetrotters are all too familiar with the single supplement, which tour operators, cruise lines and hotels tack onto your bill to make up for the fact that they’re not making money off a second occupant. The supplement can range anywhere from 25 to 100 percent of the trip cost, meaning that you could end up paying twice as much as someone traveling with a partner.
However, there are some ways to get around this and one way is to book with a tour operator that offers roommate matching. By finding you a roommate, they maximize their own profit off each room and save you the single supplement. The catch is, of course, that you’ll have to share a room with a stranger. If you’re concerned, contact the tour operator and see what kind of procedures they use to match roommates. Some pair people off at random, while others will make an effort to put complementary personalities together.
Don’t let the fear show
Without companions around you, you may be tempted to stay in your comfort zone, but this does not make for an adventurous experience. Always ensure you take the road less traveled (and still let people know where you are) and try new things. Book yourself in for tours, don’t just frequent the tourist traps and speak to as many people as possible.
It’s also important that you don’t put up barriers. When you’re out at a solo dinner or sitting on the bus don’t busy yourself with a phone or bury your head in a book. Be confident that you’re on a solo expedition and don’t miss out on anything!