Solo travel...what's stopping you?
The idea of setting off to an unfamiliar destination in unfamiliar company can be a daunting prospect, but it needn’t be. Cox & Kings’ Eleanor Lawrence answers some common concerns for those travelling for the first time on our Solo Travellers small group tours.
Can I really do it?
Yes, it does take a leap of faith to travel without friends or family for the first time but the sense of adventure in choosing a holiday for you and you alone, no compromises, can be surprisingly liberating. It’s also a given that any confidence you may lack as you set out on your travels will have increased beyond measure on your return.
And besides, travelling on one of our Solo Travellers tours doesn’t actually mean travelling alone. To start with, you’ll be guided through the booking process by one of our specialist travel consultants to make sure the holiday is right for you. If you’re on a group tour of six people or more, there will be an airport representative to help you through check in for your flight. On arrival, you’ll be met by a local tour manager, offering full support throughout the tour, not to mention your group of fellow travellers. Groups are small, with no more than 18 people, making it easy to get to know one another over the course of the tour.
Mr Thomas Fargher: “This was the best organised, best led, most exciting holidays I have ever been on…Our guide, Ahmad Al Khalidi, was truly exceptional … and driver Sam contributed to making this a treasure of a holiday in every way ,and incredibly good value . Can I also mention Leah (Cox & Kings travel consultant) for her amazing patience and guidance when I was somewhat indecisive and then concerned about how few were going on the holiday. My fears as it turned out were groundless but had it not been for Leah’s gentle persuasion, I could have missed out on one of the best things that has ever happened to me.”
Can I afford it?
One of the most common inhibiting factors for solo travellers is the cost. It can seem like you’re being penalised financially when you see a substantial single supplement tagged onto your bill.
For our Solo Travellers tours we have sought out good quality hotels that are chosen based on their reasonable prices for one person occupying a double / twin room, without compromising on location and character. We also offer tours of varying standards so you can choose according to the level of comfort you prefer and can afford: Superior (4- or 5-star accommodation), Standard (3- and 4-star accommodation) and lastly, Discovery, which are suited to the hardier traveller as the accommodation can be more basic in places, excursions can be more active and journeys may be longer, sometimes on rougher roads.
Will I enjoy it?
Authentic experiences can be hard to come by when travelling, especially on a group tour. Our group tours for solo travellers include a number of signature experiences that we have specially crafted to provide you with enduring memories, alongside visits to the key cultural and scenic sights. Examples include a traditional lunch in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco with a Berber family, experiencing the frenzy of Nizwa’s Friday cattle market in Oman and meeting local villagers in Madagascar to learn about their hunter-gatherer lifestyle.
Mrs Linda Samson: “There were many inspirational moments but if I had to pick one it would be the visit to Anuradhapura - receiving a blessing from a Buddhist monk and witnessing the people presenting their gifts to Buddha. This was a very moving experience.”
Will I get bored?
A good guide can make your holiday. We work with the best local guides who show an enthusiasm for their country that’s infectious. They provide an in-depth knowledge of everything that you see, from the local flora and fauna to the country’s history and culture, leaving no questions unanswered. Combine this with the new sights and experiences that each day on the itinerary brings and you’re unlikely to find yourself twiddling your thumbs. Indeed, you may find yourself glad of the downtime moments when you can pick up that holiday read.
Mr James Fuller: “In truth, the whole holiday was inspirational for me thanks to the excellence of the tour guide, Yogi. He educated and entertained in equal measure and there was never a dull moment on even the longer journeys.”
What will the other people be like?
Cox & Kings travellers are a very varied bunch from all sorts of backgrounds, but there are a few essentials that connect them and make them excellent travelling companions….. just like you: they have a sense of adventure; they want to get under the skin of local cultures; they are interesting because they are interested; quality of guiding and accommodation is important to them; and, of course, they are experiencing the same mixed feelings of liberty and trepidation that come from travelling solo in far flung destinations.
Will I be lonely?
On the contrary, you’re likely to find that you’re more sociable and adventurous when travelling solo than with friends and family. You’ll find yourself chatting with your guides, approaching locals to learn more about their country and making friends with your fellow, like-minded travellers, sharing once-in-a-lifetime experiences with them.
Mrs Carol Graham: “I was … delighted to become friends with the others travelling on the tour; we all got on like a house on fire! The local guide, Ashish, was excellent – he had such a depth of knowledge and passion about his country and its history and he made the holiday.”
Will I get any time to myself?
Equally, you may want a little ‘me time’. After all, some of the main reasons for travelling solo include time to reflect and re-charge the batteries. We make sure that our tours strike a balance between time with the group and time at leisure when you can choose to do as you please, whether that be to explore the local town, find a local café to people watch or simply relax by the hotel pool. You can even add a private extension to your group tour if you want to guarantee some quality time to yourself before or after the tour.
Will I have to eat alone?
All our Solo Travellers tours include breakfast daily as well as a welcome dinner, providing an opportunity to meet with the rest of the group, and a farewell dinner, when you can reminisce together over your adventures. Other meals may also be included, providing a good balance between organised meals and the freedom to choose where you would like to dine and who with
Ms Virginie Ourceyre: “…a special highlight for me was the venue for the welcome dinner in New Delhi…it was the best meal we had on the whole trip.”
Will I get a small, unappealing room?
Our Solo Travellers tours provide single occupancy of a double or twin room as standard. The hotels are all chosen based on their reasonable prices for one person, their prime location and character. So no poky room with a view of the car park.
Mrs Julie Pope: “The standard of all the hotels far exceeded my expectations and the driver guide and driver’s assistant went over and above to ensure that we had a wonderful holiday.”
Will I be safe?
Throughout the tour you will have the full support of the tour manager, selected for their expert knowledge of the country and their organisational abilities. They will be there with you every step of the way to help with any concerns that you may have. Accommodation, transport, excursions, entrance tickets, included meals…everything as far as is reasonably possible is pre-arranged. If necessary, we have an emergency phone manned 24-hours a day by one of our experienced team in the UK.
Cox & Kings recognises the need to protect your holiday. We provide full ATOL protection for flight-inclusive holidays and ABTA protection for land-only trips, and we follow the British Foreign Office’s travel advice when it comes to assessing the safety of a particular country or area.
Mr Pain: “I was taken ill during the holiday …the guide, Pietro, helped me through two medical centres and a hospital and then back to the tour when discharged from hospital, staying with me and looking after all my possessions when I couldn't. In fact throughout the tour one of Pietro’s main concerns was the safety of the group.”
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