In 2010, the memoir Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert seemed to bring solo travel to the forefront of popular culture. The travels previously reserved for only the most adventurous were now seemingly within reach for many people, male and female alike. The book follows Elizabeth, aged 30 and newly divorced, who decides to take off on a year-long journey of self-discovery around Italy, India and Indonesia. Whether you’re a lover or a hater of Gilbert’s story, it’s easy to see why many people saw this as the final push to go on a similar trip of their own, no matter what their age or life situation. If she can do it, why can’t I?
Travelling is usually associated with the image of a twenty-something-year-old guy, fresh out of university or college, making their way through Europe or Asia, backpack strapped to their body and five dollars to their name. In reality, 85.7% of solo travellers are female, and over half of solo travellers are 55+ years of age, according to a survey taken by Solo Traveler World.
Elizabeth Gilbert did not invent or discover solo travel but perhaps she pushed into the public consciousness. That would at least explain in part why, over the past three years alone, there has been a 143 per cent increase in “solo travel” searches.
A quick search on Google shows you the most popular words following “is solo travel…”
These are all valid questions which you don’t need us to weight up the pros and cons for; they can be answered on one of the plethora of solo travel blogs. We recommend starting with Nomadic Matt and Adventurous Kate to get a good idea of what it’s like to be a long term solo traveller.
The search which interests us most is ‘is solo travel worth it?’
Is Solo Travel Worth it?
Every person who has ever gone on a trip by themselves will tell you that it is definitely worth it and you have to go away on your own to really experience life. It improves your confidence, puts you out of your comfort zone, opens your eyes, etcetera, etcetera… You’ve heard it all before. In fact, this spiel is probably less inspiring and more eye-roll-inducing. There is a certain air of superiority that some (not all) travellers exude, particularly when they tell you that you will realise just how sheltered “ordinary” people are. We beg of you, if you do decide to embark on your trip alone, don’t be that person.
Solo travel isn’t just about trekking through India or Thailand, seeking out your spiritual self or the meaning of life, contrary to the Eat, Pray, Love doctrine. It can mean a night away in a nice hotel, or a weekend exploring a different city. You might not “find yourself”, but you could find a bakery which sells the best bread you’ve ever tasted or a vinyl record shop which introduces you to a new band. To us, that can be worth more than any faux discovery of who you truly are.
When Should I Travel Solo?
We say that the best time to solo travel is whenever you want and whenever it’s feasible. Itchy feet syndrome might be the only push you need. 59% of participants in the Solo Traveler World survey said they want to see more of the world and they're not willing to wait for others. Life’s short so why wait for the “perfect” time to travel when you can book a last minute flight and go? If you’ve got a passport, enough money and no huge responsibilities (for instance, your toddler will probably need you to stay at home rather than backpack through New Zealand), then nothing should stop you.
A major catalyst for many people is a big life event. For Elizabeth Gilbert, it was a combination of divorce and depression. For others, it might be a redundancy, or your children have moved out, or some good health news which means you can travel when you thought you couldn’t. If you’ve had something life-altering happen which shifts your perspective, that might be the time when you should pack your bag and go.
Difficult experiences like breakups could leave you with travel plans you can’t use anymore. This is the ideal opportunity to travel by yourself! Instead of losing out on your money and wasting a perfectly good trip, use it as the chance to spend some time in your own company.
Or you might decide that you want to go a journey of your own and to swap the couples’ break for the solo trip you’ve always dreamed of. That doesn’t mean you have to lose out on all the money you spent and have to buy a brand new holiday - instead, you can sell the tickets from the trip for two and use that money to pay for your adventure.
TransferTravel.com is the world’s number one marketplace for unwanted travel plans so if you have a couple’s holiday you don’t want to use anymore, you can sell it online and buy your solo trip with the money you get back.
Where To Buy Discounted Solo Travel
Every day on TransferTravel.com, there are new listings for just one person, and sometimes the flights are only one way. With just a quick scroll, you could find your dream vacation last-minute for early bird prices, without having to worry about what someone else wants to do. If that’s not a sign, we don’t know what is.
Not only are you finding amazing deals for yourself, but you’re also helping out someone who’s also ended up in an unfortunate circumstance, such as a breakup. If you buy their travel plans, it means they aren’t out of pocket and you get to use a booking that otherwise would have gone to waste. Turn your negative experience into something positive and spread a bit of good karma.