Solo Travel: After a long period of disrupted travel freedom, many of us are itching to get back into the world. Not only do we want to see places outside our backyards, but we look forward to seeing some new faces. This brings us to one of the biggest benefits of travel in general: meeting new people. Be it friendships or relationships, we crave connection with others but going about it can be especially difficult for solo travellers. To help, we’ve gathered five ways that small group travel builds more connections with your fellow travelers, your local guide, the people you meet along the way, and yourself.
Single and ready to mingle
When we say ‘solo traveller’ we are talking about adventurous souls who want to connect with themselves in a world independent of the people in their lives. Could they also be single and looking for companionship? sure why not! Travel opens the heart and mind and lets you see how others react to all kinds of situations.
Are they kind? Assistant? Respectful? The inherent challenges and unexpected moments of the journey let you see who a person really is and how they reconcile with who you are. Many of the travelers in our small group go on to become good friends and yes, even life partners. It always warms our hearts when we welcome honeymooners or adventure friends we met on previous tours.
Travel solo, not alone
For some, being alone is easier said than done. Certainly not on our tours. In fact, our ratio of solo travelers and added friends and couples is about a 40/60 split. Most of our tours have a 60/40 split of women compared to men which creates a good overall balance and a women-friendly environment.
Just as we pair solo travelers with same-sex roomies, you also get a travel buddy from Hop. It’s our way of eliminating the dreaded “single supplement” that burdens solo travelers that typically cost more than couples. If more alone time and extra privacy are necessary, we have room for you for an even greater price.
Small group travel as a gateway
Part of what drives some solo travelers is the ultimate goal of going it completely alone. But let’s be real – it’s pretty stressful in some destinations, especially for first-timers. They say figuring things out for yourself builds character, but it also chews up energy and can get in the way of a good time. What if you had a friendly local guide to swoop in instead? We handle all kinds of logistics as part of our tours, but they also help pave the way for solo excursions and moments that will be difficult for you.
And hey, it’s quite likely that a fellow traveler is also looking to hone his solo travel skills. Partner for added security as you navigate things like language barriers, introduce yourself to new people and go deeper into your destination. Think of the trust the two of you will build that you can carry forward for future explorations!
Sharing is caring for solo travellers too
Human beings are social animals by our very nature so it makes sense that we gravitate towards shared experiences. This is especially true when you’re swinging through a canopy of woods on a zipline, reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, or polishing off a really nice bottle of local wine. Our tours are filled with so many “I-can’t-believe-we-just-did-that” moments that you’ll want someone (anyone!) to see your smiling face.
More importantly, we believe that travel is a two-way street. It is often our desire to go abroad, especially when alone, so we want to get out of it. All of our tours are designed to be as uplifting for you as the communities we visit. You’ll see and experience this in the most in-depth of community tourism projects run by our non-profit partner, Planetera. Time spent at places like Ccaccaccollo Women Weaving Cooperative in Peru or Panauti Community Homestay in Nepal brings to you a holistic experience that empowers the local community in myriad ways.
Really get to know the local people
One of the biggest reasons we travel is to see and enjoy the people we already know. We can learn a lot by talking about our life experiences and common ground. Our suggestion for solo travelers who want to immerse themselves in a destination without feeling like a tourist is to opt for a homestay.
For example, on the Amalfi Coast, you can nest and surround yourself with lemon trees in an agriturismo. There you’ll enjoy homemade Italian food cooked by its hosts, take part in cooking demos, and sleep each night in a converted 17th-century monastery. It’s an incredibly satisfying way to make local connections, expand your worldview, and not feel lonely even in the slightest.