I had an informal gathering at All Saints Event Space on Wednesday – more informal than planned given an unexpected day spent at CHEO with my 13 year old (all turned out well).
We had a circle chat about experiences and why people travel solo. It was nice to meet some new people, and learn about the style of travel that interested them. There were folks with a range of experiences – from backpackers to those looking for escorted small groups to those who are trying to dip their toe in the water and do some cruising.
Folks come to travel solo for all kinds of reasons – sometimes it’s a life choice to be single, other times it’s a life circumstance because of divorce or death of a partner, and still other times it may be that you have a travel partner (whether a spouse or a friend) who just doesn’t have the same interests you do – or – maybe they don’t have the same money, time, freedom from responsibility. Another emerging bucket of solo travelers is stressed out moms (or dads too, I guess) looking for a mom-cation – stepping away from their responsibilities so they can come back refreshed and ready to be a better parent. Sometimes, there’s been a loss of a family member or a loss of a job – something that causes someone to be introspective, and try to remind themselves who they are, and who they want to be.
Travel is the best therapy – whatever the ‘problem’ is that you are trying to solve.
But sometimes folks want to travel as a solo, but not alone. They know they want to go, but they are not sure where to go, or how to go when they are alone. Maybe they are looking for travel ideas, and/or maybe travel partners. That’s what I do when I bring folks together – is help them figure it out, and ease the path for them to travel the world.
And despite the myriad of reasons why folks travel solo – but the main message is that travel suppliers are starting to respond to this rising demographic. I work with clients to help them travel solo, and to manage the costs, in 4 ways:
1.) I help them manage the solo supplement – I track companies that are reducing the solo supplement from the full 100% to lower amounts (some waive completely, some reduce to 10-25%, and some reduce to 50%).
2.) Travel with a small escorted group – why not travel with a company that does all the work for you? I work with companies like Intrepid and Exodus, G Adventures and On the Go. They are moderately priced companies that offer solo travelers the benefit of traveling with others – and – you can either participate in a roommate program (where they’ll match you up with another person of the same sex) or they offer a “your own room” for a low supplement.
3.) Find a roommate to travel with – I have solo travelers in my client group and meetup groups who want company to travel with. I’ve introduced folks to see whether they can travel together for a week or two weeks. I also have a 50 question survey that they can go over together to determine whether they might be a good match as roommates.
4.) Be a pied piper – if you are a member of a bridge club or a quilting club, or perhaps a cycling club or a hiking club, if you can encourage folks to travel with you, you can often travel for discounted (sometimes free) rates.
I have a powerpoint presentation from my solo travel evening. Let me know if you’d like me to send you a copy – and – let me know if you’d like to learn more.