Five reasons to go solo on your next trip 

From spontaneous detours to soul-searching sunsets, unleash your inner explorer with the magic of solo holidays.

So, you’ve made the decision to fly solo on your next holiday? You’re not alone. A fifth of Saga customers travel on their own, and it seems the trend is rising.

These days more and more of us are realising that our best travel buddy might actually be ourselves. Saga’s recent travel survey revealed that women are significantly more likely to travel on their own than men. Regardless of gender though, those choosing solo holidays are mostly doing so as they don’t want to wait for others to go and explore and expand their horizons.

If you’ve yet to take the plunge, here are five great reasons why travelling solo is good for the soul. 

Happy senior woman on sunny holiday showing how women are more likely to go on solo holidays than menCredit: Shutterstock/ – Yuri A

1. It’s a confidence booster

Travelling solo is life affirming

Let’s be straight here. Deciding to travel by yourself for the first time when you’re in your 50s, 60s, 70s or even 80s, might raise a few eyebrows here and there. You might even surprise yourself.

But travelling solo is cool. It gives you confidence and makes you feel more motivated and independent. It encourages you to look forward, not back, and it presents all sorts of possibilities at a time when it can feel like life is slowing down.

Clare Gallagher, a project manager, has been a convert to solo holidays for some time. She says take that first leap and you won’t regret it!

“While I was apprehensive about travelling solo for the first time, it was certainly no more daunting than starting a new job or moving to a new city!” she says. “My biggest fear was of being lonely but this worry was unfounded.”

What will your children (or grandchildren) think when you tell them you’re popping off to New York for a few days? Or you’re pressing pause on babysitting while you take a wellness retreat in Thailand? Whatever they think, they’ll certainly see you differently, and they might just be a bit envious too.  

2. It’s liberating

Just worry about yourself

Wouldn’t you love to become a more confident, courageous, spontaneous version of yourself? When you travel solo you begin to realise all the things that you can do. So if your spouse, friend or partner doesn’t want to go to the same place you do, why worry? You might even enjoy it more on your own.

This is one of the reasons Gallagher loves a solo holiday.

“While I do still enjoy travelling with friends, I find the freedom to decide what you want to do each day without having to consider others is liberating,” she says.

“A big frustration for me when travelling with others is the time spent waiting for them to be ready! I’m an up and out sort when travelling as I really want to make the most of the time and see as much as possible.”

And it’s easy. You can choose from tours and hotel stays organised exclusively for solos, regular holiday departures with low or no single supplements, or even have an entire itinerary planned, booked and tailormade for you.

When you don’t have to worry about what other people want, you begin to realise what you really want for yourself.  

3. It’s sociable

Make new friends

It’s a bit counter-intuitive but travelling solo can actually be more sociable than going away with a partner or friend. You’re far more likely to meet new people, and from all walks of life. Dentists, teachers, builders, cooks – everyone has a story to tell, and everyone has a different perspective and outlook on the world.

“In some ways travelling solo makes you more approachable to others and opportunities opened up to me that may not have been so apparent if I was travelling with others,” says Gallagher.

When you choose a solos holiday you’re all there for the same reason: to see the world and have new adventures. Themed holidays take this to another level: birdwatching, wildlife, walking, dancing – when you share the same interest you’ve got a head start.

Gallagher also says that fellow solo travellers will often have a simliar mindset to you, which makes it so much easier to make new friends.

“It may feel daunting to travel with people you don’t know, but trips do tend to attract open-minded people with a sense of adventure of all ages,” she says. “I’ve taken trips to China, Cuba, Costa Rica, Jordan and Vietnam using various companies and can honestly say I haven’t had a bad experience.”

Friendships are made that last long after these holidays are over and – unless you are completely converted to travelling independently – lots of people go on holiday together again.  

How to make friends on holiday

“A good way to meet people if you are travelling solo and do want company is to join a city walking tour or organised group day trip in the locality,” advises Gallagher.

“This way you get to learn more about the area you are visiting and have the opportunity to share the experience with others. By picking a tour or trip that is of interest to you or includes an activity you enjoy you are pretty much guaranteed to find people you will get on with.”

4. It’s indulgent

Do what you please, where you please!

Here’s the thing. When you choose solo holidays you can be totally selfish: do what you want, go where you please. From the start, you can decide what you want from your holiday: tick something off your bucket list, learn to dance, walk in the mountains, lie on the beach with a book.

  • Do you want to be busy or have lots of free time?
  • Do you want to be travelling a lot or based in one place?
  • What size of group do you prefer?

In many ways, solo travel gives back more than when you travel with family or friends. You’ll be more focused on yourself, so somehow the experiences are richer and more meaningful. You can make decisions and see things from your own perspective, rather than worrying about what someone else is thinking or wanting to do. Solo holidays are all about you, and why not? 

Going solo for the first time?

“For anyone, considering travelling solo but not quite ready to completely go it alone, I’d highly recommend joining a small group travel to a country of interest,” says Gallagher.

Saga, for example, runs escorted group tours, which include a door-to-door travel service, tour managers and included excursions. It’s like someone holding your hand, while still allowing you to enjoy all the positives solo travel brings with it.

5. It’s finally time for you

And it’s about time too

Maybe you’ve retired early, or you work part time. Or perhaps you’re settled into retirement and feel ready for something new.

In many ways, age gives you the freedom and opportunity to reconnect with your old self, before things like children, mortgages, and careers took hold.

You can do the things and see the places you couldn’t afford or didn’t have time to do when you were younger. Wild tigers in India. Cloud forests in Costa Rica. Sun-splashed Greek isles.

It’s all out there waiting, so isn’t it about time you did something just for you?  

Written by Sophie Hamilton she/her