After a long stretch of hampered travel freedom, many of us are itching to get back out into the world. Not only do we want to see places beyond our own backyard, but we’re eager to see some fresh faces. That brings us to one of the greatest benefits of travel in general: meeting new people. Whether it’s friendship or relationships, we crave connection with others but going about it can be especially daunting for solo travellers. To help, we’ve gathered five ways that small group travel fosters greater connections with your fellow travellers, your local guide, the people you meet along the way and yourself.
Single and ready to mingle
When we say ‘solo traveller’ we're talking about those adventurous spirits who want to see the world independent of people in their lives joining them. Can they also be single and looking for companionship? Sure, why not! Travel opens hearts and minds and lets you see how others react to all kinds of situations.
Are they kind? Supportive? Respectful? The inherent challenges and unexpected moments of travel let you see who a person really is and how that meshes with who you are. So many of our small group travellers go on to become great friends and, yes, even life partners. It always warms our heart when we welcome back honeymooners or adventure buddies who met on a previous tour.
Travel solo, not alone
For some, it’s easy to conflate being solo with being alone. That is most definitely not the case on our tours. In fact, our ratio of solo travellers to paired up friends and couples is a roughly 40 / 60 split. Most of our tours tend to have a 60 / 40 split of women to men which makes for a nice overall balance and a female-friendly environment.
You even get a travel buddy right off the hop as we pair solo travellers with a same-sex roomie. It’s our way of eliminating the dreaded “single supplement” that typically burdens solo travellers with higher costs than couples. If more alone time and added privacy is a must, we’ve got a room to yourself for a great price too.
Small group travel as a gateway
Part of what drives some solo travellers is the ultimate goal of going it fully alone. But let’s be real — that is 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 lean on instead? Ours handle all kinds of logistics as part of the tour, but they also help pave the way for solo excursions and moments that’d be hard to come by on your own.
And hey, it’s quite likely that a fellow traveller is also looking to beef up their solo travel skills. Partner up for added safety as you navigate things like language barriers, introducing yourselves to new people and going deeper into your destination. Think of the confidence you’ll both build that you can carry forward to future explorations!
Sharing is caring for solo travellers too
By our very nature humans are social creatures so it makes sense that we gravitate toward shared experiences. That is especially true when you’re swinging through the jungle canopy on a zipline, reaching the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro or polishing off a really good bottle of local wine. Our tours are filled with so many “I-can’t-believe-we-just-did-that” moments that you’re going to want someone (anyone!) to see your beaming face.
More importantly, we believe that travel is a two-way street. Often our desire to go abroad, especially when solo, starts with what we want to get out of it. All of our tours are designed to be as uplifting for you as they are the communities we visit. You’ll see and experience this most profoundly at community tourism projects run by our non-profit partner, Planeterra. Time spent at places like Ccaccaccollo Women's Weaving Cooperative in Peru or the Panauti Community Homestay in Nepal, offers a fulfilling experience for you 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 people beyond the ones we already know. We can learn so much by casually chatting about our lived experiences and common ground. Our suggestion for solo travellers who want to immerse themselves in a destination without feeling like a tourist, is to opt for a homestay.
On the Amalfi Coast, for example, you can nestle in and surround yourself with lemon groves at an agriturismo. There you’ll enjoy home-cooked Italian meals made by your hosts, take part in cooking demos and sleep in a converted 17th-century monastery each night. It’s an incredibly satisfying way to make local connections, expand your world view and not feel even a tiny bit alone.
Ready to travel solo but not alone? All of our tours are made with solo travellers in mind, but here are our top 10 faves right now:
The Inca Trail
Hiking in Madeira
Costa Rica Quest
Hiking Utah’s Big 5
Highlights of Portugal
Best of Iceland - Plus
Sailing Greece - Santorini to Santorini
Local Living Italy - Sorrento
Local Living Italy - Amalfi Coast
Local Living Croatia - Southern Dalmatia